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      Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (submit here)

      This international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal by Dove Medical Press focuses on all aspects of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. Sign up for email alerts here.

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      Maturation of the adolescent brain


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          Adolescence is the developmental epoch during which children become adults – intellectually, physically, hormonally, and socially. Adolescence is a tumultuous time, full of changes and transformations. The pubertal transition to adulthood involves both gonadal and behavioral maturation. Magnetic resonance imaging studies have discovered that myelinogenesis, required for proper insulation and efficient neurocybernetics, continues from childhood and the brain’s region-specific neurocircuitry remains structurally and functionally vulnerable to impulsive sex, food, and sleep habits. The maturation of the adolescent brain is also influenced by heredity, environment, and sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), which play a crucial role in myelination. Furthermore, glutamatergic neurotransmission predominates, whereas gamma-aminobutyric acid neurotransmission remains under construction, and this might be responsible for immature and impulsive behavior and neurobehavioral excitement during adolescent life. The adolescent population is highly vulnerable to driving under the influence of alcohol and social maladjustments due to an immature limbic system and prefrontal cortex. Synaptic plasticity and the release of neurotransmitters may also be influenced by environmental neurotoxins and drugs of abuse including cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol during adolescence. Adolescents may become involved with offensive crimes, irresponsible behavior, unprotected sex, juvenile courts, or even prison. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the major cause of death among the teenage population is due to injury and violence related to sex and substance abuse. Prenatal neglect, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption may also significantly impact maturation of the adolescent brain. Pharmacological interventions to regulate adolescent behavior have been attempted with limited success. Since several factors, including age, sex, disease, nutritional status, and substance abuse have a significant impact on the maturation of the adolescent brain, we have highlighted the influence of these clinically significant and socially important aspects in this report.

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          Development of eating behavior: biology and context.

          Eating is necessary for survival, gives great pleasure, and can be perturbed leading to undernutrition, overnutrition, and eating disorders. The development of feeding in humans relies on complex interplay between homeostatic mechanisms; neural reward systems; and child motor, sensory, and socioemotional capability. Furthermore, parenting, social influences, and the food environment influence the development of eating behavior. The rapid expansion of new knowledge in this field, from basic science to clinical and community-based research, is expected to lead to urgently needed research in support of effective, evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for undernutrition, overnutrition, and eating disorders in early childhood. Using a biopsychosocial approach, this review covers current knowledge of the development of eating behavior from the brain to the individual child, taking into account important contextual influences.
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            Adolescent brain development: current themes and future directions. Introduction to the special issue.

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              Adolescent neurological development and its implications for adolescent substance use prevention.

              Recent technological advancements have facilitated the study of adolescent neurological development and its implications for adolescent decision-making and behavior. This article reviews findings from the adolescent neurodevelopment and substance use prevention literatures. It also discusses how findings from these two distinct areas of adolescent development can complement each other and be used to build more developmentally appropriate interventions for preventing adolescent substance use. Specifically, a combination of child-centered and family-based strategies is advocated based on extant neurological and prevention literature. EDITORS' STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS: Researchers are encouraged to take up the authors' challenge and study the links between adolescent neurological development/decision making ability and the long term efficacy of comprehensive interventions for preventing adolescent substance use.

                Author and article information

                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
                Dove Medical Press
                03 April 2013
                : 9
                : 449-461
                Saint James School of Medicine, Kralendijk, Bonaire, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Sushil Sharma Saint James School of Medicine, Plaza Juliana 4, Kralendijk, Bonaire, The Netherlands Tel +31 599 717 7550 Fax +31 599 717 7570 Email sharma@ 123456mail.sjsm.org
                © 2013 Arain et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


                myelinogenesis,neurocircuitry,molecular imaging,drug addiction,behavior,social adjustment
                myelinogenesis, neurocircuitry, molecular imaging, drug addiction, behavior, social adjustment


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