The hypothesis that a major reorganization of the human brain takes place during adolescence, now widely accepted, was first proposed by Professor Feinberg in 1982. The sleep EEG is the most easily accessible indicator of this brain reorganization. Feinberg and Campbell have now carried out the first longitudinal measurement of the sleep EEG across adolescence. They have found that slow wave EEG is unchanged between ages 9 and 11 years and then declines by 66% between ages 11 and 17. The two sexes differ in their slow wave EEG decline with girls' EEG beginning the decline earlier but the boys' EEG declining more steeply. Surprisingly, the longitudinal data also demonstrate that the EEG decline is independent of sexual maturation and is instead an age programmed event. The study has also found that this adolescent brain reorganization is a major contributor to adolescent daytime sleepiness. These data shed light on an important process of brain development. They are particularly relevant to psychiatry because errors in the execution of the genetically programmed brain reorganization during adolescence may give rise to schizophrenia, which often has its onset in this period. Therefore, documenting the trajectory of the EEG changes across adolescence in normal subjects provide the normative data base required for an eventual study of patients at high risk for schizophrenia.
Recently Published Data
Delta (1-4 Hz) Power Density Across Ages 6-17
Theta (4-8 Hz) Power Density Across Ages 6-17
© UCD Sleep Lab 2009