Article Review The Teenage Brain - Essay Example

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Kendall Powell, the author of the article “How does the teenage brain work?” was trying to convey to the reader that the adolescent brain exert a lot of effort to act like an adult brain. The…
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Article Review – The Teenage Brain The essay aims to address a two-fold objective to wit to review and summarize the article; and (2) to critique the article based on information content and structure.
Article Review – The Teenage Brain
The brain is responsible for planning, decision-making, and execution of actions. Kendall Powell, the author of the article “How does the teenage brain work?” was trying to convey to the reader that the adolescent brain exert a lot of effort to act like an adult brain. The main points highlighted are the relationship of age and brain structure, processes and changes, to the specific teen behaviors. The author delineated specific areas of research and their findings. Among of which are the findings from Ben Luna, US National Institute of Mental Health, Jay Giedd, Elizabeth Sowell, Tomáš Paus, George Bartzokis, Abigail Baird and Greg Bennett, and B.J. Casey.
Ben Luna stated that an adolescent brain acts like an adult brain by overusing the frontal lobe. The onset of adulthood is associated with the integration of frontal lobes with other areas of the brain and myelination is just part of the process. Meanwhile, the US National Institute for Mental Health argue with the studies stating that brain size, folding, and regional specialization started at age 12; instead, the institute indicate that an adolescent brain has a long way to reach the adulthood. Jay Giedd of the National Institute for Mental Health found out that grey mater thickens in childhood and thins from back to front during the early adulthood. This process completes early in girls and Giedd explained that it was probably the reason why girls mature early than boys. Giedd thought that the thinning of the grey mater is due to the synaptic pruning and that more environmental guidance will be better for the adolescent’s behavior. Elizabeth Sowell warns other researchers like Giedd against making direct connections between brain changes and specific teen behaviors as there are no supportive data to prove the assumptions. Tomáš Paus agree with Sowell in not treating brain-behavior relationship as a one-way street but also agree with Giedd that brain maturity continues beyond the first 3-5 years of life. George Bartzokis stated that as grey mater thins, the white mater gains with layers of insulating myelin with the maximum myelination responsible for the wisdom an adult has. Abigail Baird and Greg Bennett relate gained of white mater to the ability to empathize and B.J. Casey that the amount of reward distinguish the strong nucleus reaction of the brain seen among children or adolescents (Powell, 2006, 865-867).
The article describes the parts of nervous system such as the brain –thefrontal lobes, brain cells, white mater, grey mater, myelin sheath, and axon, and the brain functions and processes such as remodeling, synaptic pruning, and myelination. Based on the article, the brain has five main regions. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for planning and executing of actions. The brain cells fight for survival during teenage years and the water-to-fat tissues in the brain refers to the grey and white mater. The grey mater is the water-filled nerve cell while the white mater is the fat-filled matter. The myelin sheath is the fat that insulates the white matter following an inverted U pattern. Axon connections are between the nerve cells and are added with myelin sheath. Brain processes such as remodeling is synonymous with developmental window, allowing brain to be remodeled by previous experiences during infancy. Synaptic pruning is the process of eliminating overabundant, unnecessary nerve cell connection and myelination is the process that increases the speed of signals traveling along axons and decreases the time to the next nerve impulses(Powell, 2006, 865-867).
In the Starr and McMillan textbook entitled “Human Biology” some discrepancies were noted in the article. For instance, the brain is not just responsible for planning and executing of actions but also serves as the master controller that receives, processes, stores, and retrieves information. It was also not stated in the article that synaptic pruning happens because of the chemical synapse that facilitate nerve transmission and removal of unnecessary nerve cell connection (Starr & McMillan, 2010, 239). Also, grey mater does not only refer to water-filled nerve cells but to dendrites, cell bodies of neurons, interneurons, and neuroglial cells as well.
In evaluating the article, I had considered purpose, type, organization and content, bias, date of article, bibliography, usefulness, authority, and coverage. The purpose of the article is to inform the readers about how a teen’s brain works and it was clearly presented in the article. Information was obtained mostly from scholarly journals and online magazines. The article is an informative piece with the research materials organized and focused on brain development of teenagers. The author presented each argument made by different researchers with clarity and understandability. The article centered on how the brain works in an adolescent and based information on up-to-date references. The article’s bibliography is short and selective, using primary and older resources. Citation style is clear and consistent. The article is useful to the research subject as it supports the main argument presented, and has given examples of primary research findings, case studies, and incidents. The article covers the topic partially and the need to review other resources for comprehensive understanding is necessary. The most common target of the article was probably the health students, professionals, and researchers.
Powell, K. (24 August 2006). “Neurodevelopment: How does the teenage brain work?” Nature International Weekly Journal of Science 442: 865-867.
Starr, C. & McMillan, B. (2010). The Nervous System. Human Biology (8th ed.) (p. 239-264). California: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Read More
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