Among study subjects who enrolled as children, M.R.I. scans have been done so far only to age 25, so scientists have to make another logical supposition about what happens to the brain in the late 20s, the 30s and beyond. Is it possible that the brain just keeps changing and pruning, for years and years? “Guessing from the shape of the growth curves we have,” Giedd’s colleague Philip Shaw wrote in an e-mail message, “it does seem that much of the gray matter,” where synaptic pruning takes place, “seems to have completed its most dramatic structural change” by age 25. For white matter, where insulation that helps impulses travel faster continues to form, “it does look as if the curves are still going up, suggesting continued growth” after age 25, he wrote, though at a slower rate than before.
Who would have thought the kids would start taking over so soon? Or that they would even want to? They were supposed to be slackers, cynics, drifters. But don't be fooled by their famous pose of repose. Lately, more and more of them are prowling tirelessly for the better deal, hunting down opportunities that will free them from the career imprisonment that confined their parents. They are flocking to technology start-ups, founding small businesses and even taking up causes--all in their own way.
When it comes to fiscal responsibility, members of Generation X have a bad reputation. Credit movies like Reality Bites, TV shows like Sex and the City and statistical gems like the recent survey from Oppenheimer Funds in which most Gen X women said they'll accumulate 30 pairs of shoes before they rack up $30,000 for retirement. But some newer research has emerged to show that Gen Xers--the 46 million Americans born between 1965 and 1977--don't deserve their slacker image.
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