By Mark Salamon, October 1, 2018
A study out of the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that in female mice, puberty hormones cause changes in the brain’s frontal cortex that inhibit learning, attention, and behavioral regulation. This comes as shocking news to parents and educators who traditionally look forward to puberty.
“We have found that the onset of puberty hits something like a ‘switch’ in the brain’s frontal cortex that can reduce flexibility in some forms of learning”, says Linda Wilbrecht, the study’s senior author. (1)
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests that further research is needed to see if portions of male brains are affected by puberty hormones as well. As someone who once inhabited a male brain during puberty, I can tell you that the only portion of the male brain affected by puberty hormones is the part responsible for erections, which is all of it.
When Viagra and Cialis started their barrage of prime time warnings about the dangers of erections lasting more than four hours, I was very concerned that emergency rooms would be overrun by mobs of distressed teenage boys who couldn’t remember ever having an erection that lasted less than four hours. But then I remembered that the part of the brain responsible for worrying about your health had already been recruited to help out with the erections.
I’m still not sure where this four hour cut off point came from. I once had an erection that lasted nine years, and nothing bad happened.
But you should not have to take my word for it. We as a country need to find a way to fund the critical research needed to get to the bottom of this question.