[caption id="attachment_948" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image courtesy of dream designs"][/caption] As educators, looking for the signs of drug and alcohol use among our adolescent students is an unwritten part of the job. So many students fall victim to these substances each year, effectively sabotaging their present and their future. And, while exposure to drug and alcohol use through peer groups and television ads certainly impacts teens’ decisions, a new study, one of the largest of its kind, has posited that another, invisible factor may be at work: the teenage brain. Looking at the Inside of Addiction At the University of Vermont, a large international contingent led by researchers Robert Whelan and Hugh Garavan recently published the findings of a study that looked at the brains of 1,896 14-year-olds. The findings of this study were published online last month in journal Nature Neuroscience. The results of this study, which is the largest brain imaging study ever conducted, seem to answer the question about addictive behaviors and brain activity. Apparently, certain teens show evidence of brains that are wired for impulsivity, leading to high-risk behaviors including smoking, drugs and alcohol. For the full results of the study, including quotes from Whalen and Garavan, visit the University of Vermont’s press release page on Newswise.
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