Teens Who Drink, Take Drugs Have More 'Mature' Brains

    Teen drinking and drug use is usually viewed as impulsive and immature behavior, but a new study finds that the brains of teens who engage in risky activities actually have brains that are more 'adult-like' than those of their more risk-aversive peers.

    Science Daily reported Aug. 26 that researchers using brain imaging technology found that risk-taking teens had more frontal white matter in their brains, a trait typical of adults in their mid-20s. White matter, which connects brain neurons to each other, becomes denser and more organized as the brain matures.

    “We were surprised to discover that risk-taking was associated with more highly-developed white matter — a more mature brain,” said researcher Gregory Berns, M.D., Ph.D., of Emory University. “We were also surprised to learn that except for slightly higher scores in risk-taking, there was no significant difference in the maturity of the white matter between males and females.”

    The study appear in the Aug. 26, 2009 edition of PLoS One.

    By Partnership Staff
    September 2009


    September 2009

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