We know that and individual that an individual’s genes and environment history- and even his or her own behavior-mold the brain overtime.
There is clear evidence that any unique features that may exist in the brains of teens are the result of social influences rather than the cause of teen turmoil.
Today teens in the U.S. and some other westernized Nations do display some signs of distress.
The peak age for arrest in the U.S. for most crimes has long been 18; for some crimes, such as arson, the peak comes much earlier.
Drug use by teens, both legal and illegal, is clearly a problem here, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among U.S. teens. Prompted by a rash of deadly school shootings over the past decade, many American high school now resemble prisons, with guards, metal detectors and video monitoring Systems, and the High School dropout rate is nearly 50 percent among minorities in large U.S. cities.
Considerable research shows that a person’s emotions and behavior continuously change brain anatomy and physiology. Stress creates hypersensitivity in dopamine- producing neurons that persists even after they are removed from the brain.
Enriched environments produce more neuronal connections for that matter, meditation, diet, exercise, studying and virtually all other activities alter the brain, and a new study shows that smoking produces brain changes similar to those produced in animals given heroin, cocaine or other addictive drugs. So if teens are in turmoil, we will necessarily find some corresponding chemical, electrical or anatomical properties in the brain.
But did the brain cause the turmoil, or did the turmoil later the brain? Or did some other factors-such as the way our culture treats its teens-cause both the turmoil and the corresponding brain properties?
Young people have extraordinary potential that is often not expressed because teens are infatilized and isolated from adults.
· Summarized from Scientific American Mind, May 2007