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Polygence Scholar2021
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Amy Luo

Mission San Jose High SchoolClass of 2023United States of America



  • "Inhibitory effects of adolescent electronic cigarette use on prefrontal cortex development and neuroplasticity" with mentor Rahul (Oct. 2, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Inhibitory effects of adolescent electronic cigarette use on prefrontal cortex development and neuroplasticity

Started Apr. 21, 2022

Abstract or project description

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered nicotine delivery devices that operate by aerosolizing a liquid solution containing nicotine into vapor and are used as an alternative to traditional tobacco-combustion-based cigarettes. Since the initial commercial introduction of e-cigarettes in 2006 as a smoking cessation tool, an unanticipated demographic has risen heavily within the population of e-cigarette users: adolescents. In 2021, approximately 2.55 million middle-school and high-school students in the US were e-cigarette users (2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey). Due to the recency of e-cigarettes in the market, the breadth of research regarding the biology and pharmacology of these devices is still developing, and there remains a lack of studies identifying the long-term health and neurological effects of chronic e-cigarette use amongst adolescents. However, recent in vivo studies have demonstrated that prolonged e-cigarette exposure in mice have induced features related to human chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and decreased insulin sensitivity, indicating possible adverse effects on cardiovascular, lung, and metabolic health. In addition, various studies on nicotine as a gateway drug and stimulant have revealed the biological effects of nicotine exposure on prefrontal cortex cognitive function and brain maturation in teenagers. This paper reviews the significant risks that prolonged e-cigarette use poses on the adolescent brain by examining the role of nicotine within the e-cigarette system through a biological and public health standpoint.