The digital revolution appears to be changing the adolescent brain to enable it to cope with constant technological stimulation, says visiting U.S. adolescent brain researcher Dr Jay Giedd.
Dr Giedd, from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, will deliver the keynote address on changes in the teenage brain at the Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium on Friday, 7 September.
“The teenage brain is distinct in its extraordinary capacity to adapt to the environment around it,” Dr Giedd says.
“Human brains are especially plastic, which means they can enhance certain pathways and related abilities and eliminate, or prune others depending on what they need to achieve. After the late twenties, however, we get more set in our neurological ways.”
The immense changes to the teenage brain during this time have particular relevance to researchers focusing on the onset of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar, with the potential for new therapies and early interventions.
Dr Giedd has for 20 years been researching the teenage brain and says magnetic resonance imaging shows the decision-making and reward circuitry of the brain undergo dramatic changes in adolescence.
Also speaking at the conference are:
- UNSW Professor Skye McDonald – “Brain plasticity and rehabilitation”
- University of Melbourne’s Dr Alex Fornito – “Magnetic resonance imaging of the human connectome in health and disease”
- University of Queensland Associate Professor Stephen Rose – “MRI structural connectonomics”
What: Brain Sciences UNSW Symposium
Where: Leighton Hall, The John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
When: Friday, 7 September, 8.30am-5pm.
The symposium program is available here.
Media contact: Linda McSweeny, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107 / 0414 809 120