|MadSci Network: Development|
Louis: I assume you are asking about the "changes" that occur to teens as they move through puberty. Puberty is a transition phase from the period of childhood when the reproductive system is dormant to the period of young adulthood, when the reproductive system becomes functional. As part of this maturation of the reproductive system, hormones such as testosterone (male) and estrogens (female) are released in much higher quantity than during the period of childhood. In addition to helping to mature the reproductive organs inside the body, these hormones produce changes in the external organs of the reproductive system. Additionally, hair will grow in various places on the body, including the pelvic region, under the arms and in males on the face. Males also will experience deepening of the tone of their voice due to thickening of the vocal chord and see increases in muscle size and strength especially in the upper body. Females will see new contours in their bodies including breast development and broadening of the hips. These features signal to others that the individual is becoming reproductively competent. Also, "attitudes" change, sometimes dramatically, during this period. Both males and females may become more outwardly interested in the opposite sex. Many people experience the desire to become more independent and desire less "advice" from their parents. These changes are important in the individual acquiring an independence and a better understanding of "who they are" which will carry them on as adults. Louis, there are many changes that occur throughout the life of an individual. During infancy, so many changes occur that it is impossible to list them here. Just think of how much change is necessary for a baby to acquire the strength and coordination to learn to walk, or the changes in the brain that must occur for the baby to learn to talk! Similarly, changes in the adult occur as the individual ages. Many people who did not need glasses as a younger person soon must have prescription lens. Muscle mass decreases and fat deposits increase with increasing age. The same hormones that were responsible for the changes at puberty, often begin to decline and the positive influence on the body they provide begins to decrease. So Louis, part of being a human being is the wonderful changes that occur throughout the entire lifetime of the individual. Each phase of life has its joys and without change these events would not be possible. I hope this helps! Dr. David Mallory Associate Professor Department of Biological Sciences Marshall University Huntington, WV
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