Friday, May 17, 2013

Maturing Teenage Brain Explored

New study to reveal what happens to the human brain as we mature; research will also provide insight into the development of mental disorders.



“The teenage brain struggles with controlling impulsive and emotional behavior– as most parents of an adolescent can attest. Our research will hopefully shed light on what happens to their brains as they mature," says Professor Ed Bullmore, lead researcher on this project from the University of Cambridge. “It seems very likely that the major cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes of adolescence will turn out to be related to the alterations that occur in brain networks during this period.”
 
This video displays a 4 dimensional image that was acquired of the participant's brain and it is called Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The image encodes data that can be used to generate measurements of white matter organisation, one of the two components of the central nervous system, and tract orientation.

Through these images it is possible to examine local microstructural characteristics of water diffusion that relate to white matter properties in the brain and to examine how different brain regions are connected.

Despite adolescence being a high-risk time for developing major psychiatric and drug dependence disorders, very little is known about the teenage brain.
A novel research project jointly led by scientists from the University of Cambridge and UCL (University College London) aims to shed light on what happens to the brain as young people mature as part of a £5.4 million project funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Profiled last night on the BBC News, the U-Change study will use brain scans, questionnaires and genetic testing on 300 people between the ages of 14 and 24 to improve our understanding of how different parts of the brain develop.
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