Navigation Links
Adolescents' brains respond differently than adults' when anticipating rewards
Date:1/17/2012

PITTSBURGHTeenagers are more susceptible to developing disorders like addiction and depression, according to a paper published by Pitt researchers Jan. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study was led by Bita Moghaddam, coauthor of the paper and a professor of neuroscience in Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. She and coauthor David Sturman, a MD/PhD student in Pitt's Medical Scientist Training Program, compared the brain activity of adolescents and adults in rats involved in a task in which they anticipated a reward. The researchers found increased brain cell activity in the adolescent rats' brains in an unusual area: the dorsal striatum (DS)a site commonly associated with habit formation, decision-making, and motivated learning. The adult rats' DS areas, on the other hand, did not become activated by an anticipated reward.

"The brain region traditionally associated with reward and motivation, called the nucleus accumbens, was activated similarly in adults and adolescents," said Moghaddam. "But the unique sensitivity of adolescent DS to reward anticipation indicates that, in this age group, reward can tap directly into a brain region that is critical for learning and habit formation."

Typically, researchers study the correlation between different behaviors of adolescents and adults. The Pitt team, however, used a method they call "behavioral clamping" to study if the brains of adolescents process the same behavior differently. To that end, the researchers implanted electrodes into different regions of rat adolescent and adult brains, allowing the researchers to study the reactions of both individual neurons and the sum of the neurons', or "population," activity.

The researchers' predictions proved accurate. Even though the behavior was the same for both adult and adolescent rats, the researchers observed age-related neural response differences that were especially dramatic in the DS during reward anticipation. This shows that not only is reward expectancy processed differently in an adolescent brain, but also it can affect brain regions directly responsible for decision-making and action selection.

"Adolescence is a time when the symptoms of most mental illnessessuch as schizophrenia and bipolar and eating disordersare first manifested, so we believe that this is a critical period for preventing these illnesses," Moghaddam said. "A better understanding of how adolescent brain processes reward and decision-making is critical for understanding the basis of these vulnerabilities and designing prevention strategies."

The Pitt team will continue to compare adolescent and adult behavior, especially as it relates to stimulantssuch as amphetaminesand their influence on brain activity.


'/>"/>

Contact: B. Rose Huber
rhuber@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Schizophrenia diagnosis associated with progressive brain changes among adolescents
2. Group sex among adolescents a public health concern, new study says
3. Chronic pain in children and adolescents becoming more common
4. Football could contribute to strokes in adolescents
5. Study finds headaches after traumatic brain injury highest in adolescents and girls
6. Psychological intervention reduces disability and depression in adolescents with fibromyalgia
7. Adolescents particularly susceptible to drinking habits of romantic partners friends
8. New study shows children and adolescents who eat candy are less overweight or obese
9. Tucson tragedy; college athletes and drinking; depression in adolescents; and yoga and drug use
10. No increase in severe cardiovascular events for children, adolescents taking ADHD medications
11. Increased computer use by adolescents cause for concern
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... As health ... medicine known as “patient engagement.” The patient is doing more than filling out a ... , “There is an increasing emphasis in health care and research on the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating ... excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early registration ... Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The annual ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Lori R. Somekh, founder of the Law Office of Somekh & ... and special needs planning attorneys. “Membership in ElderCounsel helps our office remain up to ... with elder law attorneys nationwide,” said Somekh. , ElderCounsel was founded ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset ... of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will ... services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, ... and least understood books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints ... for centuries. Many have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., ... vaccine design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch ... the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax ... provided exclusive access to enabling technologies to the ... MBA will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... 2017   ZirMed Inc ., a recognized leader in ... it has been ranked #1 by its users for the ... 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was recognized as the top-ranked end-to-end ... medical centers over 200 beds and holds one of the ... survey history. ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... LAKES, N.J. , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on ... Embrace Hearing as the number one company for hearing aids, ... ReSound™ and fifteen other brands. ... Embrace Hearing Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that provides ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: