Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Teen Brains
13 January 2016

Teen Brains

It’s tough being a teenager. Not only do you have to cope with puberty and peer pressure, but your brain is growing up too. Big changes happen across the brain during the teen years as a person gradually morphs from a child into an adult, growing smarter all the time. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging – a type of brain scan – scientists have been spying on how parts of the brain interact in kids as they move into early adolescence (top row of images), teens (middle), and teenagers as they head into adulthood (bottom). The different coloured dots represent interconnectedness between various areas of the brain – for example, the dark blue spots are in the parts responsible for vision, while the pale blue spots are involved in generating movement. Mapping these changes reveals how teen brains change over time, although it doesn’t help to make those tricky years any easier.

Written by Kat Arney

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