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 VIDEO
CNN's Shelley Walcott finds a critical stage of brain growth takes place in the teen years

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 VIDEO
CNN's Shelley Walcott discovers how drugs and alcohol affect the teen brain

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CNN's Shelley Walcott looks at a process to take pictures of the brain - MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Rebels with a cause

Research suggests teen brains still under development

December 5, 2000
Web posted at: 5:20 PM EST (2220 GMT)

(CNN NEWSROOM) -- Scientists have discovered a reason why teen-agers sometimes act like emotional volcanoes -- because parts of their brains are still under construction.

The new research calls into question the long-held theory that brain development stops during the early years of life.

"Teen-agers are a little bit scattered or disorganized or take risks or are rebellious, because the part of their brain that would keep them from doing that isn't yet finished," said Dr. Elizabeth Sowell, who led a team of researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Scientists specializing in adolescent brain research note that some teens' erratic behavior had wrongfully been blamed on hormones -- rather than the inevitable course of the brain's development. The experts also pointed to the harmful effect that drugs and alcohol can have on the teen brain.

CNN NEWSROOM's Shelley Walcott has the full story.







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