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Pandemic stress prematurely aged teens’ brains, Stanford study finds

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Stanford University study published Thursday found that stress from the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely aged adolescents’ brains, making them more like those of peers about three years older.

By comparing MRI scans from children taken before the pandemic with scans from other kids taken during the pandemic, the study found that changes in brain structure that occur naturally with age sped up in adolescents as they experienced the COVID-19 lockdowns. That could have lasting implications for those youths if the changes are found to be more than temporary.

“We know developmentally that brains change over time, that’s not at all a surprise,” said Stanford Professor of Psychology Ian Gotlib, lead author of the study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science. “What was surprising here was how quickly these changes occurred in adolescents as a result of the pandemic.”

What those changes mean as far as the teens’ brain function and mental health, and whether the changes will be temporary or lasting, is unclear, Gotlib said.

—The Mercury News


Philadelphia City Council approves a permanent 10 p.m. curfew for teens

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia City Council on Thursday voted to impose a permanent 10 p.m. curfew for young people under the age of 18 in the city.

The city had enforced the 10 p.m. rule over the summer, moving the curfew from midnight and framing it as a way to keep children safe during an unrelenting gun violence crisis. That legislation, championed by Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson, expired at the end of September.

But the new bill has no end date, meaning it will remain in place indefinitely. The legislation received near unanimous support from Council, and now heads to Mayor Jim Kenney’s desk for final approval before becoming law.


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