According to researchers at Stanford University, the unprecedented stress experienced during the recent pandemic physically altered the brains of teenagers, making their brain structures appear older by several years.
The findings can be read in Biological Psychiatry.
Researchers compared the MRI scans of 163 children before and after the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Such brain changes found in the study was only evident among children who experienced chronic adversity.
“These findings could have major implications for other longitudinal studies that have spanned the pandemic,” a news release of the findings state.
“If kids who experienced the pandemic show accelerated development in their brains, scientists will have to account for that abnormal rate of growth in any future research involving this generation.”
“These findings might also have serious consequences for an entire generation of adolescents later in life.”