Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Teens Prune Their Synapses

While everyone knows that those damn pesky teenagers are getting dumber and dumber over the years, did you also know that their brains actually cut down on synaptic connections when they sleep? In early childhood, the brain is an overactive mass that absorbs all sorts of information and makes various mental connections. As it develops, some of those connections are used less and less, and the brain becomes more of a specialized machine able to process complex thoughts and focus more attention on one thing at a time. In our teen years, our brains cut off the more useless connections in a process called synaptic pruning. Neuroscientists have just proved that this happens by recording a 66% drop in brainwave activity in the 1-4 Hz frequency range between ages 11 and 16.5. I don't know what any of that means, but I just wish teens would prune the synaptic connections that inspire them to lounge around on my damn lawn. More details here.

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