London: Parents, please note. Don't get angry on your stroppy teenage child, just go easy, for a study says that their brains don't work properly during adolescence.
Researchers have found that during adolescence, the process which creates new brain cells is interrupted, with dramatic consequences. Apart from behaviour problem, it could even cause mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, when the person matures into adulthood.
Experiments on mice revealed that they became "profoundly anti-social" if the smooth development of brain cells was halted. No such effect was observed if the same block occurred during adulthood, the findings revealed.
The researchers at Yale University, in fact, focused on "neurogenesis", a process in which cells are created in specific areas of the brain after birth. It occurs at a much faster rate during childhood and adolescence but most other research has focused on adulthood.
Lead author Prof Arie Kaffman wrote in the 'Neuroscience' journal that the study has important implications in understanding social development at the molecular level.
"Adult mice tend to spend a lot of time exploring and interacting with unfamiliar mice. However, adult mice that had neurogenesis blocked during adolescence showed no interest in exploring and even evaded attempts made by other mice to engage in social behaviour.
"These mice acted like they did not recognise other mice. Blocking adult neurogenesis had no effect on social behaviour, suggesting that brain cells generated during adolescence make a very different contribution to brain function and behaviour.
"Intriguingly, schizophrenics have a deficit in generating neurons in the hippocampus, one of the brain areas where new neurons are created. Given that symptoms emerge in adolescence, it is possible that deficits in generating new neurons during adolescence," he said.