Adolescent Brain Development
Morgan & Claypool | English | 2016 | ISBN-10: 1615046429 | 114 pages | PDF | 6.32 mb
by Lisa Wright (Author)
Humans have a very prolonged period of postnatal development. Many believe that development is essentially complete by adulthood; however, this is not the case. Extensive developmental events occur within the brain during adolescence, and some of these do not reach completion until the fourth decade of life, especially within regions of the brain that play an important role in cognitive functioning and cognitive-emotional integration, such as the prefrontal cortex. The realization that our brains continue to change their functional capacity up into the thirties has many important implications related to health, education, and legal policies. Furthermore, this notion should be incorporated into research in the rapidly expanding field of epigenetics, which aims to examine the gene-environment interaction in developing individuals and the mechanisms by which environmental factors can steer developmental processes toward specific outcomes. Here, we will review what is known about adolescent/young adult brain development and examine how it relates to ongoing behavioral changes. Additionally, we will attempt to identify factors that make an individual more vulnerable or resistant to developing psychological disorders. Finally, we will discuss innovative mental health treatment strategies that are being developed to increase adolescent resilience, and we will suggest ways to promote adolescent/young adult resilience in the community.
About the Author
Dr. Lisa Wright, Ph.D., is a neuroscience researcher, author, instructor, business owner, and a mother of two. She obtained her Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience in 2011 at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Both her master's and doctoral research work was funded by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. Her doctoral thesis work, supervised by Dr. Tara Perrot, involved investigating the effects of adolescent stressor exposure on development of the brain, the endocrine system, and behavior, using a rat model. She then went on to study endocrine and behavioral profiles of humans in various circumstances, such as following sleep deprivation or in adolescent girls who have been diagnosed with conduct disorder. She has also taught a number of courses at Dalhousie University and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. Dr. Wright's business, Fit Brain Training (www.fitbrain.ca), is co-owned and operated with her longtime mentor, Dr. Perrot. Dr. Wright and Dr. Perrot have a previous contribution to this series, entitled Stress and the Developing Brain. Dr. Wright's daughters are 4 years old (Charlotte) and 1 year old (Paladina). Dr. Stan Kutcher, ONS, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and Director of World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Mental Health Policy and Training. Dr. Kutcher is an internationally renowned expert in adolescent mental health and a national and international leader in mental health research, advocacy, training, policy, and services innovation working at the IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University. He has previously served as Department Head of Psychiatry and Associate Dean for International Health at Dalhousie University. Dr. Kutcher has received numerous awards and honors locally, nationally, and internationally for his work including: the Order of Nova Scotia; Excellence in Education Award (CACAP); a Best Doctor in Canada; Doctors Nova Scotia Health Promotion Award; Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for outstanding humanitarian contributions to global health; Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology Gold Medal; Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, and the Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Education, Association of Faculties of Medicine Canada. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He has been honored by the Canadian Psychiatric Association with the JM Cleghorn Award for his contribution to mental health research and the Paul Patterson Award for his innovations in psychiatric education. He is and has been a member of numerous boards and national organizations including the Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addictions of the CIHR; Interhealth Canada; Mental Health Commission of Canada (CYAC committee); the Canadian Society for International Health; the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research; and The Sandbox Project. He is the recipient of over 100 research grants and awards, author of more than 300 scientific papers, and the author/co-author of numerous medical textbooks. Locally, he contributes to the work of Laing House, Immigrant Services and Integration Services, and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Internationally he has been involved in mental health work in over 20 countries. One of his recent projects was leading the development of a national child and youth mental health framework for Canada: Evergreen. Currently, his focus is on knowledge translation pertaining to improving mental health literacy and mental health care in schools and primary care as well as the development, application, and evaluation of electronic youth mental health engagement, self-care and personal health record. He continues his innovative youth mental health development and research across Canada, and globally including China, South America, Latin America, and Africa.
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