Our Newsletter

Adolescent Risk Taking Behavior, Brain Development, and Hormones

How does the size and shape of the brain predict Adolescent Risk Taking Behavior?

This study will help us learn how the brain works in adolescents, specifically addressing the effects of brain development influencing risk taking behavior.

Dynamic and rapid brain growth occurs during adolescence, a period also marked by substantial biological, environmental and hormonal changes.  This study aims to address important questions regarding the relationships between the behavioral patterns often observed during adolescence and ongoing brain, cognitive and hormonal trajectories.  Participants in this study are asked to provide a saliva sample, complete a selected battery of cognitive tests, and participate in two MRI scans.

Below is a quote from the New York Times, featuring results of our most recent work on the challenges of the Adolescent Brain.

Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?
By Elizabeth Weil, New York Times Magazine, March 30, 2012
…Researchers know there’s a relationship between pubertal timing and depression, but they don’t know exactly how that relationship works. One theory is that going through puberty early, relative to other kinds of cognitive development, causes changes in the brain that make it more susceptible to depression. As Elizabeth Sowell, director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, points out, girls in general tend to go through puberty earlier than boys, and starting around puberty, girls, as a group, also experience more anxiety and depression than boys do. Graber offers a broader hypothesis, perhaps the best …READ MORE

Elizabeth R. Sowell PhD

 Jackson's StoryWe are currently calling previous participants back for follow up for this study. If you have participated with us in the past and have not had a follow up appointment, please contact us at 323-361-7756.

Dr. Elizabeth Sowell at the University of Southern California, with Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, is conducting a research study to help figure out how a child’s brain changes when they are a teenager and what the differences are between boys and girls. In this study, you will take tests on both paper and computers, and we will take pictures of your brain through non-invasive MRI scans. Participants are asked to come in for 2 different days now (about 10 hours total) and then for another follow-up session in 2 years. You will be paid $20/hour for your time.

Who to contact about the study:

Trinh Luu, MA | Project Coordinator | Ph: 323.361.7756 | brainstudy@chla.usc.edu