Healthy Kids: Teenage exploration

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FORT MYERS, Fla. –  Dr. Annette St. Pierre-Mackoul stopped by WINK News to discuss teenage exploration and risk taking behaviors.

Brain development during the transition between childhood and adulthood.
Dramatic changes occur in two areas:  Elaborate planning and need for immediate reward
Behavior is ‘increased sensation seeking.’
Results in increased risk taking and mortality rate.
Why are teens different?

Old Theory:  prefrontal cortex was immature
New Theory:  prefrontal cortex is mature
easily overruled by immediate gratification center
Teenage brain is mature but network and integration lag.
Mental illness surfaces in adolescence.
Schizophrenia, depression and eating disorders are all neurobiologically based.
Teenagers increasingly not getting enough sleep:

Decreasing over the last 20 years.
Less than 7 hours a night = female, racial and ethnic minorities, lower socioeconomic status
Getting enough sleep is vital for health.
Goal now = 8-10 hours per night
Over 250,000 adolescents studied over 21 years.
Effects of not getting enough sleep:

Impaired thinking and ability to reason.
Increased mood swings
Mental Health Issues
Weight gain
Academic problems
Substance abuse
Diseases that affect sleep:

Sleep apnea

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