Child vs Adult Brain: Are they actually different?
by: Natalie Samara
This article is part of our Fusion week, in which two or more broad topics in medicine are combined to create a fascinating article! To start off our "fusion week", writer Natalie Samara presents this article about how pediatrics and neurology combine in the aging of the brain from childhood to adulthood!
On a breezy fall day, the winds were blowing Daisy touches wood sticks outside the yard and starts hitting her dog with them. She laughs and finds it funny as she hits it. Her mom sees what Daisy is doing and starts to panic, starts to run to her and takes the stick away from Daisy. As soon as her mom takes and throws the stick over the fence, Daisy screams and throws a fit. In this scenario, these two individuals have the same size brain, but over time the brain starts to change tremendously as the person ages and gains new experiences. Let's take a look at how a child’s brain and an adult brain differ!
Which parts of the brain are changing?
As a child grows up, there are not only physical changes happening in the body but there are also changes that occur in the brain made by changes and developments in behavior, problem-solving skills, and decision-making skills. Parents may never understand how their child/teen acts so impulsively or negatively. However, there are studies that have demonstrated how the brain continues to mature and develop from childhood to adulthood.
A specific brain region called the amygdala develops earlier than other regions in the brain. However, there is another region termed the frontal cortex that develops later in life and well into adulthood. There are other changes in the brain during adolescence, including an increase in the connections between the cells of the brain and brain pathways. The nerve cells start to develop myelin which is a layer that forms around our nerves including in the brain and spinal cord. It is made up of protein and fatty substances. This layer in our brain and spinal cord allows electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells which helps the cells communicate.
When does the change of brain development happen?
The development of the brain begins at the age of 5, and a child's brain develops more than any other time in a person's life. This explains why many individuals claim it is easier to learn languages and learn to play musical instruments at a young age. The earlier that the development of the brain starts, will have a lasting impact on the child's ability in the world. Not just the impact, but the quality within the first few years of a child's life whether it's positive or negative, helps shape how the brain is developed.
What are the changes between an adult and a child?
The brain of an adult works differently than adults based on how they make decisions or solve problems. The actions are more guided based on the logical and reactive amygdala and there is less function of the frontal cortex. And researchers show that those who are teens are exposed to drugs and alcohol which can cause a change and/or delay in the development of the brain.
But for a child starting from birth, the brain develops brain connections through everyday life. And by those everyday experiences, it is built by positive interactions with their parents, caregivers, etc., and their senses to interact within the world around them. The brain connections developed by the child's experiences will last a lifetime! How interesting is that?
In conclusion, we can see that the brain changes tremendously from childhood to adulthood. It is important to maintain healthy habits, so that the brain can build positive connections with other individuals, family members, and the world.
Thank you for reading our first article in our fusion series! if you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading this article on Hay Fever, linked here. This article is uniquely written in an "interview" format, and it explains a recent Tik Tok famous trend. You have to read the article to get the joke!
Natalie: "I hope you enjoyed reading this article! I really did learn a lot about this topic, and I hope you learned something new! If you want to know more about the brain and the development of the nervous system as a whole, I would love to write about what the nervous system is and the different parts about! "
If you are interested in becoming a writer or have any questions/comments about the Writing Committee, please feel free to comment down below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and see you later!
- Natalie Samara and the Writing Committee
Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Brain Development - First Things First
Myelin: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia