The Amazing Teen Brain Summary

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There is hope for parents of teenagers that feel like their child is a lost cause. In a 2015 issue of Scientific American titled The Amazing Teen Brain, author Jay N. Giedd explains why the teenage brain is not “biology gone wrong”. With the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) the brain of people of different ages can be studied to provide more accurate information. One of those findings is that the adolescent brain does not mature by getting larger, that it matures by having its structures more interconnected and by becoming more specialized. MRI scans show that greater volumes of white matter indicate the increase in connectivity among brain regions. White matter contains axons, which are extensions of neurons. A covering called myelin surrounds many axons, and myelin gives white matter its white color. The formation of myelin occurs from childhood through adulthood and it greatly speeds up nerve impulses among neurons. Myelination makes a difference so great that unmyelinated axons send signals 100 times slower than myelinated ones. Another crucial function of myelin is that it quickens the way brain processes information. It does this by helping axons recover quickly after they fire a signal so they are ready to…show more content…
Puberty starting at an earlier age widens this gap, which is why teen years are not synonymous with each other anymore. The environment can influence the pace of biological maturation of white and gray matter, but the timing of the maturation is under biological control. Sometimes extensive changes in white matter, gray matter, and networking, increase the chance for mental illness such as schizophrenia to arise. 50 percent of the mental illness people experience develops by age 14, and 75 percent start by age
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