Navigation Links
Study: Pace of brain development still strong in late teens

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Boys and girls have put many of the trappings of teenagerhood behind them by the age of 18 or 19, but at least some of the brain resculpting that characterizes the decade of adolescence may still be going as strong as ever, according to findings in a new study that measured brainwaves of subjects in their midteens and again in their late teens.

One of the kinds of neurological changes underway in a teen brain is a pruning of unneeded connections forged earlier in life the brain invests in developing some connections but sheds a higher volume of others. One way these changes can be measured, many researchers believe, is a drop in the power, or amplitude, of brainwaves over time.

What researchers found in their study of sleeping teens, said Mary Carskadon, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and director of the Sleep Research Center at Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital, is that this amplitude reduction continues at about the same pace in the late teen years as in earlier years.

"There was a sense that the bulk of the change is happening in the younger adolescents," said Carskadon, the paper's senior author. "To see a continuation of this rapid and large change in the older adolescents was a surprise."

Their results appear in advance online in the journal Sleep.

Numbers from slumber

To conduct the study, the researchers asked five boys and nine girls aged 15 and 16 to sleep to certain preparatory specifications for a week at home and then to spend two nights in the lab while the team took all-night measurements. Then they brought the teens back two or three years later, between the ages of 17 and 19, for another week of preparatory sleep and then two more nights of monitored sleep. Previously, researchers in Carskadon's lab had done a similar study with younger teens.

Over the course of the study, the researchers also noted some other changes in the children over time. For example, they found that late teens continue an earlier teen trend of spending less and less time in so-called "slow-wave" sleep in favor of "stage 2" sleep. Meanwhile, they found that the reduction in electroencephalography (EEG) power seems to shift from the left side early in the teen years to the right side later in adolescence. That shift means that by the end of the teen years, the developmental process has occurred equally on both sides.

Lead author Leila Tarokh, a researcher at the University of Zurich and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown, said that although many previous studies using EEG, magnetic resonance imaging, or postmortem examination have yielded similar measurements of adolescent brain changes, this study added insight because of how it was structured.

"The unique feature of this study is that it puts together these EEG measures of power and looks at these sleep stages longitudinally (in the same people over time) and across several regions around the brain," she said.

Carskadon said that sleep is a convenient time to take long-term, well controlled measurements of neural activity, but that the study does not show the role sleep may play in neural renovation among older teenagers.

"For us, sleep is a window onto the brain," Carskadon said.


Contact: David Orenstein
Brown University

Related biology news :

1. Study: Rare deep-sea starfish stuck in juvenile body plan
2. U of I study: Before you start bone-building meds, try dietary calcium and supplements
3. Study: Reasonable quantities of red pepper may help curb appetite
4. VIMS study: Propeller turbulence may affect marine food webs
5. Study: Algae could replace 17 percent of US oil imports
6. Study: Emissions trading doesnt cause pollution hot spots
7. Nature study: Jefferson researchers unravel proteins elusive role in embryo and disease development
8. Study: Tiger numbers could triple if large-scale landscapes are protected
9. IU study: Humans critical ability to throw long distances aided by an illusion
10. UC Davis study: Wild salmon decline was not caused by sea lice from farm salmon
11. Study: Personal contacts at work help people better understand organ donation
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015  In this report, the ... of product, type, application, disease indication, and ... report are consumables, services, software. The type ... biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The ... diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, personalized ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International ... million to provide preclinical development services to the National ... contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and ... variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... November 27, 2015 ... popularity of companion diagnostics is one of ... market with pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic manufacturers ... tests. . --> ... report on global cancer biomarkers market spread ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an ... loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be ... as defined in Section 382 of the Code. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. ... Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will ... Conference in New York . ... visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the ... replay of the presentation will be available on the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
Breaking Biology Technology: