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Teen brains' growing pains

Striking changes are possible in IQ and neuroanatomy, study finds

2:53pm, October 19, 2011

The roller-coaster teenage years can take IQs along for the ride. A person’s IQ can nosedive and climb sky-high during adolescence, while corresponding brain regions wax and wane in bulk, researchers report online October 19 in Nature.

The results suggest that the IQ number given to a child is not immutable, as many researchers believe, says neuroscientist Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine. “This is an extremely interesting paper.”

Back in 2004, Cathy Price of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London and colleagues tested the IQs of 33 healthy participants who were, on average, 14 years old. While the teens were in the lab, structural MRI brain scans measured particular brain regions.

About four years later, Price and her team invited the teenagers back for a redo. Overall, IQ scores held steady: Average IQs were 112 in 2004 and 113 four years later. But when the researchers zoome

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