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The Brain and Learning in Adolescence

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The brain consists of a vast amount of cells, or neurons, which constitute the basic operative unit in the brain. During the period of the highest prenatal brain development (10‐26 weeks after conception), it is estimated that the brain grows at a rate of 250 000 neurons per minute. At birth the brain contains the majority of the cells it will ever have, with estimates ranging from 15‐32 billions. This span does not only reflect that cell counting is imprecise, but also that the number of cells varies considerably from person to person. After birth, new neurons are only produced in limited numbers. By far most conspicuous changes in the brain following birth occur in the connections between neurons; new ones are formed and old ones are either strengthened or eliminated.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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