The Teenage Brain

My wife often teases the girl-child that her brain is broken. As a teenager, there is still so much that is unformed; it’s maybe not broken per se, but there’s still much that is in progress. All of that was beautifully clarified listening to today’s episode of Fresh Air, as Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Frances Jensen of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

We spend a lot of time in our work talking about the neurobiology of trauma. But there’s so much more neurobiology to consider, and Dr. Jensen discusses issues that really touch on so much of what we do with our adolescent and young adult patients. I love how she explains what’s happening with the teenage brain, and why things like addiction and mental illness can really take hold during this period of development. Definitely worth a listen, particularly if you have one (or more) of these mysterious creatures living under your roof. Bonus: pay close attention at the very end about her comments regarding the changes in medical education in the past 25 years. The part about teaching students about discerning quality sources definitely spoke to me.

Listen to the full interview here.