March 10th, 2013
The Teenage Brain: A Continuous Mystery
Everyone knows and remembers their tough teenage years. For some, it was the best time of their life; for others, the memories are the opposite. What is even more challenging than being a teenager yourself, is living with one. It is as if it happens over night; a happy, fun-loving child becomes a dramatic, chaotic pre-teen. In PBS Frontline’s “Inside the Teenage Brain”, some of the mysteries involving why and how the teenage brain works are revealed. The brain in general, is very complex and complicated; although, it seems as if it doubles in complication once a child enters into their teenage years. Teenagers become more moody and their behaviors often dramatically change during these few years of life. For generations, scientist, along with parents and adults, have pondered what is the cause of the dramatic changes. With the recent use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along with other new technologies, scientist are finally able to answer some of these questions involving the teenage brain. Dr. Jay Giedd, from the National Institute of Mental Health, explains how one night per week he uses a MRI in order to view the inside of children’s brains. Thanks to the MRI scientist, along with Dr. Giedd, can now explore the growing activity of the human brain. Scientists have concluded that the brain mostly develops in two stages: while a child is still in the womb till to the first 18 months of life and when a child hits puberty. During these two stages of life, the brain creates an abundance of brain cells and grows at a dramatic rate. Dr. Giedd states, “This was a process we knew happened in the womb, maybe even the first 18 moths of life, but it was only when we started following in the same children by scanning their brains at two-year intervals that we detected a second wave of overproduction.” He continues by discussing how this second stage of dramatic brain development...