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Adolescent Psychopathology and the Developing BrainIntegrating Brain and Prevention Science$
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Daniel Romer and Elaine F. Walker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306255

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306255.001.0001

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The Developing Brain and Adolescent-Typical Behavior Patterns

The Developing Brain and Adolescent-Typical Behavior Patterns

An Evolutionary Approach

Chapter:
(p.9) Chapter 1 The Developing Brain and Adolescent-Typical Behavior Patterns
Source:
Adolescent Psychopathology and the Developing Brain
Author(s):

Linda Spear

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306255.003.0001

This chapter reviews current knowledge about the adolescent period from the perspective of evolutionary biology and the study of mammals, including humans. It highlights the universal characteristics of adolescence that make it both an exciting as well as potentially trying period in development, and presents hypotheses about the role of specific areas of the brain that might influence adolescent development. It shows that during adolescence, the brain is sculpted to transform the brain of the child into a more energy efficient brain of the adult. Some of these alterations are regressive, with a loss of a notable proportion of excitatory (glutaminergic) synapses and binding sites for both glutamate (NMDA-R) and dopamine (DA) in certain sites within the mesocorticolimbic system. Other alterations may involve possible ontogenetic shifts in the balance of activity among various cortical vs. subcortical forebrain regions.

Keywords:   adolescent development, brain development, adolescent behavior, mammals, excitatory synapses, glutamate, dopamine

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