US Teenagers’ Brains Aged Quicker Than Normal During Covid-19

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : December 6, 2022

As per the study conducted on teenagers after the covid-19 pandemic, brain and mental health were negatively affected by the epidemic and became the cause of too fast aging of the brain of teenagers in the United States.

This situation is called premature aging of the brain. 

Growth of the brain in children according to age is natural. Researchers find out the brain ages of children were older than their real chronological age. They studied the children who lived through the first year of covid-19. 

Research came out from the study in which scientists tried to find out the gender differences in depression among teenagers.

The research team accelerated the study to find out the proper reason for depression and anxiety.  

Anxiety Issues And Nervousness Experienced

A study published in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science on Thursday about the mental issues resulting from the deadly coronavirus. Anxiety issues and nervousness experienced by teenagers during the lockdown lead to the aging of brains three years sooner. This is a similar condition to children who suffer from trauma and stress. 

US Teenagers' Brains Aged Quicker Than Normal During Covid-19

The research was done in the manner of comparing MRI scans of a group of  128 children. Half of them were taken before the covid-19 attack and the other half were taken after one year of covid-19.

Rapid changes in the functioning of the brain were noticed. Growth in some areas controls fear, stress, memory, and other emotions. 

Youths also face the same condition. The findings of the researchers mentioned the more advanced growth of the brain in youths.

Physical and mental health disintegrated according to the pandemic. Youth also faced other mental health issues followed by covid-19 such as larger hippocampal and amygdala volumes, and reduced cortical thickness. 

The covid-19 pandemic brings drastic changes in every aspect of human life in the world. Lifestyle, habits, daily routines, health, and mental health all are changed.

Conditions of the people at the time of the pandemic are becoming worst day by day. Unexpected changes in lifestyle like isolation and shutting down of leisure moments impacted negatively on people of all age groups. 

Teenagers and adults also experienced depression. Traumatic experiences even cause cancer. Children who have experienced trauma in their childhood have a chance to face many other serious health issues like diabetes, cancer, and other long-term diseases in their afterlife. 

Premature aging of children will negatively impact the future. It denotes the negative development achieved by our generation.

56 % of parents report the negative impact of the pandemic on their children. It affects the social and academic development of a child. Millions of children lost their parents and grandparents. They have not allowed going to school.

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In the stunning time of covid-19 children need more care than adults. They were isolated, they were not allowed to see their friends and play with them. Many of their parents lost their job. All these situations instilled fear in the children. 

Former studies found faster brain aging problems recorded before in special cases like children who suffered in their childhood from poverty, family problems, lack of parental guidance, neglect,  and violence. It reflects in their future life negatively. 

Stanford University psychology professor Ian Gotlib commended that, the pandemic has not been kind to adolescent mental health. But the researchers are not completely sure about the findings that they found from the MRI scanning.

According to him, this kind of research is interesting because they are not sure what is going to happen. Mental health conditions are changed in a short period of a pandemic. 

The research team is going to scan the same kids later to find out the brain development occurred.


🔵 Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science (n.d) Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Brain Maturation in Adolescents: Implications for Analyzing Longitudinal Data Available [Online] at: 

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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