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"Raging Hormones" Behind Teen Mood Swings?

If you ever wondered why the teenage world seems to exist in an arena of topsy-turvy mood swings and turmoil, scientists at the State University of New York's (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center may have found the answer.

In an article published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers say they've discovered that the hormone THP, which in adults or younger children acts like a natural tranquilizer, calming you down, actually increases anxiety during puberty, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyl Alfonsi.

According to a Downstate Medical Center news release, SUNY scientists, led by Sheryl S. Smith, a professor of physiology and pharmacology, found that a brain receptor called GABA-A acts exactly the opposite in teenage brains compared to how it receives the THP hormone in adult brains.

Smith told Alfonsi that it may not be their friends making teens crazy, it may be THP. Instead of calming a person during a time of high anxiety, the GABA-A receptor appears to increase a teenager's stress, the researchers found.

What makes it act this way still needs to be studied, the researchers say, but the theory is indeed that adolescent "raging hormones" may play a role.

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