Intelligence changes 20 points in the teenage brain

Motor speech area. Anterior cerebellum.

Verbal and non-verbal intelligence changes in the teenage brain
Nature  479, 113–116 (03 November 2011)
Sue Ramsden,… Cathy J. Price

Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a standardized measure of human intellectual capacity that takes into account a wide range of cognitive skills. IQ is generally considered to be stable across the lifespan, with scores at one time point used to predict educational achievement and employment prospects in later years.
Neuroimaging allows us to test whether unexpected longitudinal fluctuations in measured IQ are related to brain development.

Here we show that verbal and non-verbal IQ can rise or fall in the teenage years, with these changes in performance validated by their close correlation with changes in local brain structure.
A combination of structural and functional imaging showed that verbal IQ changed with grey matter in a region that was activated by speech, whereas non-verbal IQ changed with grey matter in a region that was activated by finger movements.
By using longitudinal assessments of the same individuals, we obviated the many sources of variation in brain structure that confound cross-sectional studies.
This allowed us to dissociate neural markers for the two types of IQ and to show that general verbal and non-verbal abilities are closely linked to the sensorimotor skills involved in learning.
More generally, our results emphasize the possibility that an individual’s intellectual capacity relative to their peers can decrease or increase in the teenage years.
This would be encouraging to those whose intellectual potential may improve, and would be a warning that early achievers may not maintain their potential.

cited by:
Understanding Psychology © 2014

journalistic versions:
As Brain Changes, So Can IQ
October 20, 2011
The varying IQ scores could also indicate the test itself is flawed.
“It could be a real index of how intelligence varies or it could suggest our measures of intelligence are so variable,” said neuroimaging pioneer B.J. Casey at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, who wasn’t involved in the study.

IQ is not fixed in the teenage brain
19 October 2011
The test results revealed dramatic changes: between their first testing and their second, the teens’ verbal and nonverbal IQ scores rose or fell by as many as 20 points (on a scale for which the average is 100).

Shaping the Developing Brain: Prenatal through EC

Shaping the Developing Brain: Prenatal through Early Childhood
Fifth Annual Aspen Brain Forum
November 11 – 13, 2014
The New York Academy of Sciences

0. Keynote Address
Thomas R. Insel, MD, National Institute of Mental Health

I. Neural Development

I.1 Sensitive Periods in Brain Development
Takao Hensch, PhD, Harvard University

I.2 Structural and Molecular Changes in the Developing Brain
Ed Lein, PhD, Allen Institute for Brain Science

I.3 New Tools to Investigate Brain Development
Speaker Forthcoming

II. Cognitive Development

II.1 Language Development
Patricia Kuhl, PhD, University of Washington

II.2 Early Attachment, Emotional Development and Differential Susceptibility to Environmental Influences
Jay Belsky, PhD, University of California, Davis

II.3 Social Learning and Development
Andrew Meltzoff, PhD, University of Washington

III. Social and Environmental Influences on Brain Development
Moderator: Catherine Monk, PhD, Columbia University

III.1 Effects of a Stressful Environment on the Developing Brain and Behavior: Prenatal through Early Life
Tracy L. Bale, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

III.2 Role of Early Experience in Neuro-Affective Development
Nim Tottenham, PhD, UCLA

III.3 Impact of Poverty on the Developing Brain
Martha Farah, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

III.4 Can We Apply the Basic Principles of How Stress Affects Development to More Complex Childhood Psychopathologies?
Charles Nelson, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University

IV. Spotlight on Nutrition and Brain Development
This session is co-presented with The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences
Moderator: Mandana Arabi, MD, PhD, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

IV.1 An Overview on Nutritional Status and Brain Development: The Importance of Timing in Determining the Right Intervention and Brain Assessment
Michael Georgieff, MD, University of Minnesota

IV.2 Standardizing Growth and Nutritional Status Biomarkers And The Tools To Assess Their Effects On Early Childhood Development
Edward Frongillo, PhD, University of South Carolina

IV.3 The Role of Micronutrients in Brain Development: The Most Useful Biomarkers that Relate to Optimal Childhood Development
Maureen M. Black, PhD, University of Maryland

IV.4 Iron Deficiency and the Developing Brain: a Paradigm for Interdisciplinary Approaches to Nutritional Neuroscience
Betsy Lozoff, MD, University of Michigan

V. Translating Research into Intervention, Education, and Policy
Moderator: Susan Magsamen, MS Johns Hopkins University

V.1 Leveraging Science to Improve Early Childhood Developmental Intervention
Joseph Piven, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities

V.2 Minding the Baby, an Intervention to Improve Early Childhood Development Outcomes in At-Risk Mothers and Infants
Linda C. Mayes, MD, Yale School of Medicine

V.3 Intervention to Help Close the Word Gap
Dana Suskind, MD, University of Chicago, 30 Million Words Initiative

Named for a landmark study that found that children born into poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age three than more affluent children, Thirty Million Words Initiative (TMW) develops evidence-based interventions designed to impact this ‘word gap’ by targeting parental/caregiver knowledge, beliefs and language behavior at a population level.
The goal is to map our research-based interventions onto existing infrastructure nationally.
Grounded in behavior change theory, TMW’s flagship multimedia curriculum, TMW-Home Visiting, gives caregivers strategies that can strengthen children’s cognitive development using the TMW 3Ts: Tune In and respond to what children communicate; Talk More and build child vocabulary through descriptive language; and Take Turns to engage children in conversation and foster curiosity and knowledge.
TMW does not require changes to cultural practices or idiomatic speech, but rather focuses on enhancing adult-child interactions to positively impact development.
TMW has a dual-generation approach and works through three tiers of intervention.
Individual interventions focus on reaching parents and caregivers in economically disadvantaged communities. Community-based interventions targeted neighborhoods and populations through community-based, civic, cultural, religious, health and education organizations, and professional networks that provide care to children from 0-3 years of age. Population-level intervention shapes public awareness via education, public health, and information infrastructures as engines for outreach.
This presentation describes our iterative developmental approach to evidence-based interventions and presents early findings demonstrating the promise of a parent/caregiver approach to impacting the ‘word gap.’

V.4 Building Early Childhood Learning Systems: Early Head Start to the Classroom
Sharon Lynn Kagan, EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University

VI. How to Shape Policy to Address Different Critical Periods and Multiple Adversities
Moderator: Pia Britto, PhD, UNICEF

A study done in 1995 indicated that children from higher-income families heard 30 million more words at home by the age of 4 than children from low-income homes. This has become known as the 30 million-word gap.

Oct 28, 2012


Poverty and the Developing Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging
Sheeva Azma
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University
Synesis 2013; 4: G40-46

Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents
Nature Neuroscience (March 30, 2015)

Improving early child development with words
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
TEDxAtlanta, 2014

5 connections that will change children’s lives
Laura Jana, MD
TEDxOmaha, 2014

How does income affect childhood brain development?
Kimberly Noble
Apr 18, 2019
Neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble is leading the Baby’s First Years study: the first-ever randomized study of how family income changes children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development.

Pre-symptomatic diagnosis in FFI

Pre-symptomatic diagnosis in fatal familial insomnia: serial neurophysiological and 18FDG-PET studies
Brain (2006), 129, 668–675

A puzzling feature that FFI shares with other familial neurodegenerative diseases is that the clinical onset generally occurs at a mature or advanced age although the mutation is congenital, leaving an ample interval free of clinical signs during which the pathogenic effect of the mutation is unknown.

The presence of insomnia was confirmed in all subjects by a 24 h polygraphic recording, which typically showed a disappearance of slow wave sleep, brief episodes of REM sleep without atonia and the lack of circadian rhythms of blood pressure, heart rate and body core temperature.
Patients lost weight and died from sudden cardiorespiratory arrest.

Two major unanswered questions concerning familial neurodegenerative diseases are when and where the degenerative process starts. This issue is raised by the common observation that familial neurodegenerative diseases usually become symptomatic at mature or advanced age although the mutated protein thought to trigger the disease is present from the early stages of brain development. However, prion diseases may differ from other neurodegenerative diseases in that the mutated protein probably maintains a normal conformation until some time in adulthood, when it changes conformation converting adjacent PrPs and ultimately leading to neuronal injury and loss.

function of neuronal populations during the pre-symptomatic and symptomatic stages of the disease in subjects carrying the FFI genetic mutation.

FFI has a rapid course and high penetrance, therefore, it is easier to follow the disease progression, and virtually all mutation carriers become symptomatic. The disease presents with impairment of sleep and autonomic functions that can be tested fairly accurately.

Keywords: fatal familial insomnia; 18FDG-PET; pre-symptomatic diagnosis; thalamus

Seizures can impair memory and thinking

With Epilepsy Treatment, The Goal Is To Keep Kids Seizure-Free
June 10, 2013

frequent or prolonged seizures can eventually cause problems with memory and thinking.

seizures “can actually change the way language centers in the brain develop.”

low-carbohydrate diets, including the high-fat ketogenic diet

Then there are new implanted devices that send electrical signals to the vagus nerve

to provide parents and other caregivers with an emergency kit that lets them administer a fast-acting drug to stop a seizure.

“Epilepsy surgery is underutilized in this country,”

For about 30 percent of children with epilepsy, none of the existing treatments is adequate.

transplanting a type of cell that reduces excessive electrical activity in the brain. “Stem Cell therapy may be one way that we can very specifically target the region of the brain that is overexcited and quiet that area of the brain.”

Another experimental approach involves devices that monitor the brain for abnormal activity.
Some are able to predict when the brain activity is headed toward a seizure, Fureman says, “and actually deliver stimulation that shuts down that seizure activity.”