Brains of adolescents struggling with mental health issues may be wired differently from those of their healthy peers
Brains of adolescents struggling with mental health issues may be wired differently from those of their healthy peers

Study focuses on understanding the adolescent brain

ANI | Updated: Dec 21, 2019 21:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Dec 21 (ANI): New research from neuroscientists shows that the brains of adolescents struggling with mental health issues may be wired differently from those of their healthy peers.
This collaborative research from the University of Alberta neuroscientists, led by Anthony Singhal, professor, and chairperson in the Department of Psychology, involved adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 who had a history of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and ADHD. The study was published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.
This group of teens received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans designed to examine the white matter of their brains and were compared to scans from the second set of adolescents in the same age range who did not have a history of mental health issues.
The results of the study show clear differences in connective neural pathways, as a function of cognitive control, between the healthy adolescents and those struggling with mental health issues.
"We saw pathways that were less structurally efficient in the patients compared to the healthy controls," explained Singhal, who is also a member of UAlberta's Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NHMI). "Moreover, those observations correlated with attentional control test scores. In other words, less neural efficiency in key pathways was associated with an overall reduced tendency to focus attention."
"We can't paint with broad strokes that we are talking about differences between people's brains," explained Singhal. "It's just not that simple. But we do have to start somewhere, and this is a great jumping-off point." (ANI)

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