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Child Development
Course Code
Tama Leventhal

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Puberty: An Introduction 04/15/2014 Puberty From Latin words Pubertas – rip age, adult Pubescere – to grow hairy Very physical and visible  Reproductive capability Process begins at conception (not so sudden) and starts to take hold in middle childhood during sleep  No new hormones produced and no new bodily systems produced (just changes in amounts of  hormones and developments) What are Hormones? Produced by endocrine glands Chemical messengers Travel through bloodstream to cells and attach to cell receptors Once hormones attach to cells, signals sent to produce cell type­specific responses  Perform 2 roles: Organization If certain hormones are released, fetus will be male and if not, then fetus will be female Activation Hormones tell body to respond and act in different ways Responsible for development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics  Endocrine System Procures, circulates, and regulates hormone level sin body Communicates through release of hormones Instrumental in regulating Mood Growth and development Tissue function Metabolism Sexual function Reproductive functions  HPG Axis Hypothalamus (back of brain) Brain structure monitors eating, drinking, sex  Pituitary glands (master gland) Controls growth and regulates other glands Gonads Sex glands  Testes & ovaries  Endocrine System Functioning: HPG Feedback Loop Hypothalamus  ▯ pituitary Gland  ▯ gonads (androgens, estrogens) Hypothalamus monitors levels of sex hormones circulating in body by regulating pituitary activity Pituitary gland produces gonadotropins to stimulate gonads  Gonads release sex hormones into bloodstream Feedback loop has set point that acts like thermostat  Leptin: Pubertal Alarm that Signals HPG Axis to Go off Thought to be the most important signal Leptin is a protein produced by fat cells Rising levels signal hypothalamus to stop inhibiting puberty in girls Need certain level of body fat (11­17%) Other Factors That Influence the Timing of Puberty Heredity/genetics  Sex Females Begin age 7­13 (average is 10) Take 1.5­6 years Start of puberty does not correlate to end time (someone who starts earlier could end after someone else  who star
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