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Why Teenagers Act Like Teenagers

Kids -- especially teenagers -- say and do some of the craziest things in the world, sometimes prompting parents to throw up their hands in disgust or, even worse, seeking out "help" in the form of a useless, toxic drug. Some of those actions could be the result of their brains continuing to develop as puberty kicks in.

Science had assumed puberty signaled the end of the brain's development., until new research found teens use a different part of their brains -- the superior temporal sulcus -- than adults (the prefrontal cortex) to make decisions and consider the feelings of others.

A teen's superior temporal sulcus processes very basic behaviors compared to the adult prefrontal cortex that works on more complex functions, like how the decisions parents make can affect others. Researchers believe this difference may be chalked up to an evolutionary mechanism in which relatively short-term brain development trumps long-term performance.

A natural means to improve your teen's mental skills: A zinc supplement, although too much zinc for too long can lead to severe health problems.

Science Daily September 9, 2006

New Scientist September 8, 2006

MSNBC September 7, 2006

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