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Adolescents Brains Fully Develop Between 10-12 Years

to lower IQ scores (mean IQs were 105, 110, and 115 for low-, middle- and high-income children respectively). Lower-income children were more likely to be excluded from the study because of medical or developmental conditions. The healthy low-income children who qualified performed, on average, better than previously reported population averages.

We were pleasantly surprised by how well the lower-income children did when we focused on those who were healthy, says Waber.

Waber cautions, however, that these data are snapshots at a single point in time, averaging the performance of a whole population.

We dont know whether everyones performance improves more slowly in adolescence, or whether some children continue to improve while others do not, or whether our standard tests can measure what really changes in adolescence, she notes. As we follow these children over time, we will have a better understanding of what happens in adolescence.

In the past, studies of structural brain development and often studies of cognitive development were performed on samples of convenience that werent necessarily representative of the overall population, Waber adds. This study provides information on a much more diverse and representative sample, and a much larger one than previously available.

Other components of the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development include structural brain imaging with MRI, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study the development of different brain structures and the creation of connections between them, and even changes in brain chemistry.

The final goals of the project are to offer a plan of the development of the healthy childs brain and to link the imaging findings with neurobehavioral function.


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