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:9/22/2017)... ... ... “Letters From Home”: a moving compilation of letters that remind readers of ... Home” is the creation of published author, John Allred, a passionate leader of ministry ... International, who has traveled and ministered on four continents. , “It is my hope ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... With ... so fun and easy to do. Users can select from up to two layers ... with a click of a mouse all within Final Cut Pro X. ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... The American Addiction Treatment ... for professionals in the addiction treatment industry entitled: Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ... companies and state and federal governments are increasingly scrutinizing the addiction treatment industry ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... ... Bill Howe Plumbing’s mission is to create an employee friendly company, provide ... over 37 years, they have operated with their mission at the foundation and have ... They were chosen as the Best San Diego plumber in 2016, named a Top ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... developing low-cost and highly accurate cancer screening tests, has received two prestigious recognitions ... in cancer survival rates. , Preora has been named a Top ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/12/2017)... , Sept. 12, 2017   EcoVadis , the leading platform for ... the first annual edition of its Global CSR Risk and Performance Index. ... by EcoVadis, based on Scorecard Ratings that analyzed nearly 800,000 data points ... ... ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... , Sept. 9, 2017  Eli Lilly and ... primary and secondary endpoint data for lasmiditan, an investigational, ... which demonstrated statistically significant improvements compared to placebo in ... highlighted today at the 18th Congress of the International ... "The data presented today demonstrate lasmiditan,s potential ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... WARSAW, Ind. , Sept. 7, 2017  Zimmer ... leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, today announced that it will ... Annual Global Healthcare Conference at the Grand Hyatt hotel ... September 11, 2017 at 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time. ... accessed via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: