Navigation Links
Pitt team finds teen brains over-process rewards, suggesting root of risky behavior, mental ills
Date:1/26/2011

PITTSBURGHUniversity of Pittsburgh researchers have recorded neuron activity in adolescent rat brains that could reveal the biological root of the teenage propensity to consider rewards over consequences and explain why adolescents are more vulnerable to drug addiction, behavioral disorders, and other psychological ills.

The team reports in the Journal of Neuroscience that electrode recordings of adult and adolescent brain-cell activity during the performance of a reward-driven task show that adolescent brains react to rewards with far greater excitement than adult brains. This frenzy of stimulation occurred with varying intensity throughout the study along with a greater degree of disorganization in adolescent brains. The brains of adult rats, on the other hand, processed their prizes with a consistent balance of excitation and inhibition.

The extreme difference in brain activity provides a possible physiological explanation as to why teenagers are more prone than adults to rash behavior, addiction, and mental diseases, said lead researcher Bita Moghaddam, a professor of neuroscience in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences. She and coauthor David Sturman, a Pitt neuroscience doctoral student, observed the disparate reactions to reward in individual neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region that weighs payoff and punishment to plan and make decisions.

"The disorganized and excess excitatory activity we saw in this part of the brain means that reward and other stimuli are processed differently by adolescents," Moghaddam said. "This could intensify the effect of reward on decision making and answer several questions regarding adolescent behavior, from their greater susceptibility to substance abuse to their more extreme reactions to pleasurable and upsetting experiences."

In addition, malfunctions in the orbitofrontal cortex have been observed in cases of schizophrenia, mood disorders, and other psychological disturbances, Moghaddam said. The type of erratic activity in the cortex that she and Sturman observed could aggravate these conditions at a time when the maturing brain is vulnerable.

"The symptoms of these illnesses generally begin to appear during adolescence," Moghaddam said. "Adolescence is a period of behavioral and psychiatric vulnerabilities, so the disorganized brain activity and excess excitation could push a brain already predisposed to mental disorders too far, triggering the onset of symptoms."

The study is the first to record and compare individual neuron activity in adult and adolescent brains during the performance of a task. Moghaddam and Sturman presented adult and adolescent ratswhich exhibit behavioral and biological similarities to adult and teenage humanswith three holes to poke their noses through; the rats each received a sugar pellet when they chose the center hole.

Brain activity in the adolescents was similar to that of the adults most of the time but striking differences arose when the younger rats retrieved rewards. As each of the adult rats collected a sugar pellet, the orbitofrontal cortex neurons showed the normal increase in both excitation and inhibition, with consistent levels of each impulse throughout the study.

Adolescents, on the other hand, exhibited surges of excitation that ranged from twice to four times the levels in adults. At the same time, the inhibitory impulses in the adolescents' brains barely changed from the low levels they experienced before receiving the sugar pellet.


'/>"/>

Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Sharing child caregiving may increase parental conflict, study finds
2. Stroke Centers Providing Better Care, Study Finds
3. New study finds reminders for immunizations challenging for pediatric practices
4. Stress of War Spurs Changes in Brain Activity, Study Finds
5. Study Finds Round Numbers Are Strong Motivators
6. Apology May Leave You Feeling Unsatisfied, Study Finds
7. Young Couples Often Disagree About Monogamy, Study Finds
8. Speaking the same language means better health care quality, Wayne State University study finds
9. Study Finds Lack of Sleep Leads to Lost Calories
10. Organs From High-Risk Donors Often Shunned, Study Finds
11. 1 in 5 Cancer Survivors Suffers Chronic Pain, Study Finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pitt team finds teen brains over-process rewards, suggesting root of risky behavior, mental ills
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... The CHP suggests that California drivers can avoid hydroplaning ... down and increasing the space between themselves and other vehicles, according to a January ... Raymond R. Hassanlou notes that, rain or shine, drivers should always incorporate safe driving ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Norwalk, CT (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... Dr. Sang H. Kim, a highly experienced and compassionate dermatologist. Dr. Kim brings ... skincare center . , “It is with considerable pleasure to welcome back Dr. Kim ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Sales Focus Inc. (SFI), a Maryland-based sales outsourcing company, ... Over the past 20 years SFI has been recognized as the world’s leader in ... clients into the US market. The new clients include: Panacea Pro, Campseekers, Contentmart, ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Seabrook, NH (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... develop its business plan and implement new sales and marketing strategies. Grover comes with ... spent the last 5 and a half years as Executive Vice President of Direct ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... the American Osteopathic College of Proctology) announced today the opening of 3 ... California ( http://www.hemorrhoidsremovalcenterscalifornia.com ): Hemorrhoids Center of Los Angeles (Beverly Hills), Hemorrhoids ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 The U.S. Food and ... Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC) in adult patients. ... gastrointestinal disorders," said Julie Beitz , M.D., director of ... for Drug Evaluation and Research. "With the availability of new ... treatment for their condition." ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017  Stealth BioTherapeutics Inc. ( Stealth ), a ... today announced new additions to its senior leadership team: ... Officer, and Daniel Geffken as interim Chief ... Carr , Pharm.D. has been promoted to Chief Clinical ... welcome Doug and Daniel to our management team, as ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 James Gilbart ... Haematology, 2016;12(Suppl 2):3-8; http://www.touchoncology.com/articles/optimising-clinical-outcomes-gastrointestinal-cancers-through-inhibiting-angiogenesis-and ... ... Published recently in a supplement to European Oncology ... an article by James Gilbart and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: