Editorial: It's Complicated: Adrenarcheal and Pubertal Hormonal Influence on Brain Development

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

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Recent research has begun to establish the very important role of prepubertal, pubertal, and peripubertal neurodevelopment and the developmental expression of adolescent-onset psychiatric disorders. There are definite changes in the rates and expression of psychiatric disorders during this time period of marked hormonal changes, with increases in rates of both major depression and anxiety disorders, particularly in females, and a sharp increase in risk-taking behavior in both males and females. Recent reports underscore the critical roles that neurodevelopmental changes contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders. Typical pubertal developmental changes, such as generalized growth spurts, breast and genital bodily maturation, and the onset of menstruation are strongly related to developmental changes in hormonal expression. Until recently, however, many behavioral and psychiatric investigations (including neuroimaging investigations) did not measure hormonal levels. Such investigations, by a small number of investigators, have been completed over the past 5 to 10 years. These studies make it clear that we need to substantially increase our understanding of the endocrine-related neurodevelopmental processes in periadolescence and adolescence as they relate to the expression of many psychiatric. Barendse et al.,1 published in this issue, reports some interesting findings that advance our understanding of adrenarcheal brain development, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and its relationship to anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-700
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020


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