From Lab Bench to Court BenchUsing Science to Inform Decisions in Juvenile Court
Juvenile court judges are asked to determine what is in the best interest of the child in every case they hear. Until about a decade ago, court decisions were routinely made without taking into consideration the needs of toddlers and infants. The Miami Child Well-Being Court™ (MCWBC) program, a partnership of clinicians and judges, has brought science into the courtroom, making it integral to the decision-making process and working to ensure that the needs of the child are met. Complementary article to "Effects of Stress on the Developing Brain"
Forecasting AggressionToward a New Interdisciplinary Understanding of What Makes Some Troubled Youth Turn Violent
It takes a series of unfortunate circumstances for an adolescent to turn violent. While early exposure to familial violence can play a role, so too can biological influences such as hormone levels and genetic predispositions. The combination of these factors can be deadly. Although genes and other biological causes are difficult to identify and may be impossible to overcome through known therapeutic methods, medical professionals’ intervention techniques can help minimize aggressive behavior related to environmental factors.
The Teen Brain: Primed to Learn, Primed to Take Risks
The changes the brain undergoes during adolescence pave the way to adulthood, priming the young person for life away from home and for finding unrelated mates. But this plasticity also can open the door to poor decision making and risky behavior, writes Jay N. Giedd, a child psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Beyond Raging HormonesThe Tinderbox in the Teenage Brain
Puberty brings hormonal changes, intense feelings, and craving for arousal, but, writes Dahl, these alone cannot explain the lapses in judgment that shock parents and make adolescents highly vulnerable to addiction, suicide, violence, and other destructive behaviors. We must understand the very different timetables at work in adolescents, whose brain development may not be complete until their twenties but for whom, in most societies, puberty has been arriving earlier.