MAR 17, 2016 10:30 AM PDT

Special Lecturer - The Teen Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging

Presented At Neuroscience
  • Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of San Diego, School of Medicine
      Dr. Giedd completed his undergraduate medical education at the University of North Dakota Medical School in 1986, and entered the Residency Program at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in 1986. He transferred to the Barrow Neurological Institute in 1988, and completed his residency in Psychiatry in 1989. He was a postgraduate fellow in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at Duke University School of Medicine from 1989 to 1991, and then accepted a position as Clinical Staff Fellow at the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He was promoted to Senior Staff Clinician at the NIMH in 1997, and he was named the Chief of the Brain Imaging Section in 2001; in 2010 he was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Giedd is board certified in General Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (1992), with added qualifications in Geriatric Psychiatry (1994), and by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


    The adolescent brain has been forged by evolution to have different features than those of a child or an adult, but it is not broken or defective.  Phenomenal ability to adapt to environmental demands (i.e. plasticity), dynamic changes in the brain’s reward circuitry, and dramatic alterations in how the different components of the brain interact with each other make adolescence a time of great opportunity but also a time of vulnerability.  Prominent amongst the vulnerabilities are the factors that make adolescence the most common time for emergence of many psychiatric conditions including anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, and substance abuse. Neurobiological maturation in the highly adaptive teen brain drives behavioral changes of increased risk taking, heightened sensation seeking, and a move away from parent to peer affiliation.  These behavioral changes are not inherently bad but may contribute to an increased likelihood for difficulties during adolescence.  Neuroimaging investigations are beginning to map trajectories of brain development in health and illness, discern the influences, for good or ill, on these trajectories, and explore how the biological changes interact with the behavioral changes and social context to affect the risk for addiction.  In this presentation Dr. Giedd will summarize results from his 23 year ongoing longitudinal brain imaging/genetics/behavioral study encompassing over 8000 scans from 3000 people aged 3 to 30 years (¼ healthy singletons, ¼ healthy twins, ½ clinical populations such as Autism, ADHD, Childhood onset Schizophrenia) with the goal of generating discussion regarding future directions of research.

    Learning objectives:
    1) Understanding challenges to learning
    2) Decision-making related to teen brain development


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