Brain scan study finds links between adolescent brain development and mental health disorders

– “Brain hubs”, cour­tesy of Uni­ver­si­ty of Cambridge

Scans reveal how teenage brain devel­ops (BBC News):

The team from Cam­bridge’s depart­ment of psy­chi­a­try scanned the brains of 300 peo­ple between the ages of 14 and 24. While the areas asso­ci­at­ed with the basic func­tion­ing of the body such as vision, hear­ing and move­ment are ful­ly devel­oped by ado­les­cence, the areas asso­ci­at­ed with com­plex thought and deci­sion mak­ing are still chang­ing

You can think of the brain as a glob­al air­line net­work that’s made up of small infre­quent­ly used air­ports and huge hubs like Heathrow where there is very high traffic…The researchers then looked at the genes involved in the devel­op­ment of these brain “hubs” and found that they were sim­i­lar to those asso­ci­at­ed with many men­tal ill­ness­es, includ­ing schizophrenia.

The new find­ings indi­cate that mal­treat­ment, abuse and neglect may well con­tin­ue to dis­rupt the devel­op­ment of the high­er brain func­tions dur­ing the cru­cial teenage years and so con­tribute to the emer­gence of men­tal illness.”

Study: Ado­les­cence is asso­ci­at­ed with genom­i­cal­ly pat­terned con­sol­i­da­tion of the hubs of the human brain con­nec­tome (PNAS)

  • Abstract: How does human brain struc­ture mature dur­ing ado­les­cence? We used MRI to mea­sure cor­ti­cal thick­ness and intra­cor­ti­cal myeli­na­tion in 297 pop­u­la­tion vol­un­teers aged 14–24 y old. We found and repli­cat­ed that asso­ci­a­tion cor­ti­cal areas were thick­er and less myeli­nat­ed than pri­ma­ry cor­ti­cal areas at 14 y. How­ev­er, asso­ci­a­tion cor­tex had faster rates of shrink­age and myeli­na­tion over the course of adolescence…We con­clude that nor­ma­tive human brain mat­u­ra­tion involves a genet­i­cal­ly pat­terned process of con­sol­i­dat­ing anatom­i­cal net­work hubs. We argue that devel­op­men­tal vari­a­tion of this con­sol­i­da­tion process may be rel­e­vant both to nor­mal cog­ni­tive and behav­ioral changes and the high inci­dence of schiz­o­phre­nia dur­ing human brain adolescence.

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SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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