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The Amazing Adolescent Brain: What Every Educator, Youth Serving Professional, and Healthcare Provider Needs to Know

Witten by Linda Burgess Chamberlain, PhD, MPH

Adolescence is a window of opportunity for developing a better, smarter, faster brain.  It is the time when the brain becomes more efficient and develops more advanced skills. But it can also be a time of missed opportunities and vulnerabilities if a teen does not challenge her/his brain or exposes the brain to neurotoxins, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  Similar to what happens in early childhood, adolescent brain development is a period of ‘use it or lose it’.  Brain connections that are stimulated and used repeatedly grow stronger while unused connections wither away.  How teens spend their time – their activities and experiences – influences both the organization and also the capacity of the brain