May 10, 2011
Science Daily/Brown University
The brain changes during the teen years, for instance by pruning away connections that no longer seem needed. By measuring the brainwave signals of sleeping teens ages 15-16 and again a few years later, researchers found that the process does not appear to slow as teens approach adulthood.
Boys and girls have put many of the trappings of teenagerhood behind them by the age of 18 or 19, but at least some of the brain resculpting that characterizes the decade of adolescence may still be going as strong as ever, according to findings in a new study that measured brainwaves of subjects in their midteens and again in their late teens.
"The unique feature of this study is that it puts together these EEG measures of power and looks at these sleep stages longitudinally (in the same people over time) and across several regions around the brain," she said.
Carskadon said that sleep is a convenient time to take long-term, well controlled measurements of neural activity, but that the study does not show the role sleep may play in neural renovation among older teenagers.