Feb 20, 2019 | Updated: 10:02 AM EST

Density of Gray Matter in the Brain Increases During Adolescence, Penn Medicine's Study Finds

May 29, 2017 05:50 PM EDT


A study from the University of Pennsylvania Health System shows that gray matter density in the brain actually increases.The significant increase of gray matter in the brain occurred during a childhood to young adulthood.

The increase of gray matter in the brain occurred despite the volume of the brain remain the same, according to the study from Penn Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. In the official news release, Penn Medicine revealed the new study has been able to determine the method of characterizing differences of the brain between the youth and adult, also the male and female as well.

A researcher from the Penn Medicine, Ruben Gur, Ph. D., who is also a Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania led the study, which has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience. He worked with his colleague, Raquel Gur, MD, Ph.D. and a doctoral student of neuroscience working in the Brain Behavior Laboratory at Penn, Efstathios Gennatas.

“We now have a richer, fuller concept of what happens during brain development," Gur said to explain the increase of gray matter in the brain during adolescence. “If we are puzzled by the behavior of adolescents, it may help to know that they need to adjust to a brain that is changing in its size and composition."

The development of the brain in adolescence is resulting in the difficulties of the kids in the age group to scale up their performance and acceptable behavior. The development of their brain is marked with the increase of gray matter in the brain.

Gray matter is the major component in our nervous system that controls the muscle, sensory perception, memory, emotions, speech and decision-making. The increase of gray matter in the brain during the adolescent enable them to gain new skills in perceiving their environment and communicating with other people. However, the increase of gray matter in the brain will give them difficulties to adjust to the physiological change as the gray matter is maturing.

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