Learning deficits in adolescence linked to brain receptor

March, 2010

It is well known that the onset of puberty marks the end of the optimal period for learning language and certain spatial skills, such as computer/video game operation. A mouse study reveals that this is connected to an increase in a specific brain receptor, and that mild stress may counteract it.

It is well known that the onset of puberty marks the end of the optimal period for learning language and certain spatial skills, such as computer/video game operation. A mouse study has now revealed that this is connected to an increase in a specific brain receptor (named Alpha4-Beta-Delta GABA-A). However, the learning deficit could be reversed by application of a stress steroid (THP). Although this natural hormone acts on adults like a tranquilizer, in adolescents it has a stimulation effect. The findings suggest that mild stress may be useful to improve learning in adolescents.

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