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Are teenage brains really different?
Date:3/28/2008

being documented through exquisite imaging by Giedd and others hold the promise for the development of hypotheses about the potential origins of behaviors that we have observed clinically for years.

Novelty seeking/sensation seeking and risk taking, Dr. McAnarney continues, is the basis for considerable growth during adolescence, as well as for the seemingly reckless behavior of some adolescents. Novelty seeking/sensation seeking and risk taking are topics of growing interest as adolescent brain development is defined better and as morbidity from adolescent risk taking mounts.The implication of our growing knowledge of brainbehavior mechanisms of adolescent conditions should provide insights into the risk of particular adolescents for morbidity and mortality. Preliminary data are promising so that as we begin to understand the complexity of and specificity of each of these conditions, we shall be able to diagnose and treat conditions earlier.

The NIMH Longitudinal Brain Imaging Project began in 1989. Participants visit the NIMH at approximately two-year intervals for brain imaging, neuropsychological and behavioral assessment and collection of DNA. As of September 2007, approximately 5000 scans from 2000 subjects have been acquired. Of these, 387 subjects, aged 3 to 27 years, have remained free of any psychopathology and serve as the models for typical brain development.

Three themes have emerged from this and other studies in this new era of adolescent neuroscience. The first is functional and structural increases in connectivity and integrative processing as distributed brain modules become more and more integrated. Using a literary metaphor, maturation would not be the addition of new letters but rather of combining earlier formed letters into words, and then words into sentences and then sentences into paragraphs.

The second is a general pattern of childhood peaks of gray matter (frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe an
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Contact: William S. Deutsch
w.deutsch@elsevier.com
215-239-3651
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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