I have parented four teenagers, and this experience helps to give me a better understanding of neuroscientists’ discoveries about the brains of teenagers. The neuroscientists’ research has shown that teenagers’ brains are not fully developed.
In an adult, the fully developed frontal lobe has no trouble controlling judgment, impulses, coordination, and many other vital activities. In a teenager, the frontal lobes are not fully connected, and therefore the teen’s judgment, impulse control, and coordination are hindered. One of the latest NPR Reports states, “It’s not that they don’t have a frontal lobe. And they can’t use it. [They can] But they’re going to access it more slowly." This is due to the fact that the frontal lobes use nerve cells to connect with the rest of the brain. These connectors in teens are very slow compared to those in adults. This is because adults have much more myelin in this area than teenagers do. Myelin is a fatty coating that protects and insulates neurons. This "electrical insulation," aids in the quick and accurate transmission of electrical impulses according to Herndon Reston area injury lawyer Doug Landau who worked at Columbia Presbyterian Neurological Insitute in New York City.
When conversing with his car crash and traumatic brain injury clients about nerve and brain injury, Landau explains that myelin is similar to “insulation on an electrical wire.” Insufficient amounts of myelin causes inefficient communication between different parts of the brain. Some of the ABRAMS LANDAU workers compensation and Social Security Disability clients suffering from demyelinating diseases have an inability to control their nerve impulses, which can cause spasticity or the loss of motor function. Visit NPR to find the full podcast or transcript of this excellent news report.