Brain networks are brought online in adolescence to prepare teenagers for adult life, According to a new study, new brain networks are being built in adolescence that allow adolescents to develop more sophisticated social skills for adults, but which may be at an increased risk of mental illness.

Puberty is a time of major changes in life, with increased social and cognitive skills and independence, but also an increased risk of mental illness.

Although it is clear that these changes in mind must reflect changes in brain development, it is unclear how exactly the adult human brain functions as people grow from children to boys. the brain networks are brought online in adolescence to prepare teenagers for adult life.

The study collected functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data for brain activity from 298 healthy young people aged 14 to 25 years, who were scanned one to three times between 6 and 12 months, respectively.

In each scan session, participants lie still on the scanner so that researchers can analyze the connection patterns between various areas of the brain when the brain is at rest.

In other words, the team found that the functional connectivity of the human brain “talks” with two different brain areas in adolescence. Areas of the brain that are important for vision, movement and other basic abilities are closely connected at age 14 and more closely at age 25.

This is called the “conservative” model of change because areas of the brain that are rich in connections in early adolescence become richer during the transition to maturity.

Areas of the brain that are important for more advanced social skills, such as the ability to imagine how other people’s thoughts or feelings (called theory of mind) have shown completely different models of change. In these areas, relationships are redistributed to all young people: initially weak relationships become stronger and initially strong relationships become weaker.

This is called a “destructive” pattern of change, because poorer regions in their relationships have become richer and richer areas have become poorer. When comparing the results of fMRI with other brain data, the researchers found that regional networks that exhibit patterns of disturbed young changes have a high level of metabolic activity, which is usually associated with an active redesign of nerve cell connections. now the brain networks are brought online in adolescence to prepare teenagers for adult life.

The results of this brain scan make it clear that acquiring new, older skills in adolescence depends on the formation of active and disruptive new relationships between brain regions, with new online brain networks providing social skills and other skills for the first time. when people get older.

We know that depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders often occur for the first time during puberty – but we don’t know why.

These results indicate that active remodeling of adolescent brain tissue continues and a deeper understanding of brain development can lead to a deeper understanding of the causes of mental illness in young people.

Checking the functional connectivity of the brain with fMRI is complicated because even the slightest head movement can damage data. This is particularly problematic when examining adolescent development because younger people are more difficult to maintain the scanning time, the researchers said.

Here we use three different approaches to remove head motion signatures from data and get consistent results that convince us that our results are not related to head movements, but to changes in adolescent brain development.