Adolescent Risk Taking, Teen Brain Development and Working with Teens : Current global perspectives from Paediatrics, Neuroscience and Ethics

Jointly organised by Centre for Global Health and CUHK Centre for Bioethics

Time: 12 : 45pm – 1 : 45pm (light lunch will be served at 12 : 30pm)

Venue: KCTCRC, 1/F, School of Public Health Building, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin

Speaker: Dr. Tomas J. Silber MD, M.A.S.S., George Washington University and Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC

About the talk:

The leading global causes of morbidity and mortality in adolescence are related to high risk behaviors. Many adolescents with serious health issues such as depression, sexually transmitted diseases and drug use would not seek out medical care if their parents knew about it. Therefore, providing confidential services and allowing adolescent autonomy may improve the likelihood of teens receiving appropriate care. However, research in adolescent brain development indicates that brain maturation is only completed by the 3rd decade of life. As a result of back to front brain myelination and dopamine response, teens have lower impulse control and higher reward seeking behavior. The aim of this lecture is to review adolescent risk taking and teen brain development and consider a balanced understanding about whether paternalism outweighs teen autonomy (or not) from a clinical, ethics and neuroscience viewpoint.