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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans allow us to map the maturation of the brain.

MRI scans of healthy children and teens over time

This image illustrates brain development through early adulthood, with blue indicating the mature state. The prefrontal cortex (white circle), which governs judgment and decision-making functions, is the last part of the brain to develop. This may help explain why teens, who are more prone to participating in risk-taking behavior, are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse.

This page was last updated July 2008