May 15, 2008

Brain development continues through teen years

Brain Development Continues Throughout Teen Years 
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out the danger of the escalating use of psychiatric medication in the treatment of two-to-four year olds. Editorials in the journal, as well as in the Washington Post and USA Today, raised concerns about exposing the growing young brain to psychoactive medications that inevitably will distort its normal development.
Now the New York Times (March 9, 2000), citing research in Nature, reveals that brain scan research demonstrates continued growth and change in the brains of teenagers. This raises the question, "Is it any safer to prescribe psychoactive substances to teenagers?" Dr. Peter Breggin has been warning the public and the medical profession that children and youth should not be exposed to these toxic agents.
There is also good news in new scientific discoveries: Major psychological, emotional, and cognitive development doesn’t stop in early childhood but continues throughout the teen years, and can influence the development of the brain for the better. The mental and neurological development of high school youth can be positively influenced by environmental improvements in the home, school, and community. We can "reclaim our children," even in their late adolescent years.