A recent study reveals that poverty has a striking effect on the development of the brain, that eventually leads to a weakened performance in their studies.
When the effects that poverty has on children are considered, the psychological trauma is the main aspect that comes to mind. However, it seems that poverty might actually affect these children’s brain development process, which greatly contributes to their learning abilities and overall success in life.
The study behind this discovery was conducted by Seth Pollack, a senior researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his team, and the findings were published in the scientific journal JAMA Pediatrics.
They conducted a detailed analysis on data that correlated the results from standardized tests and brain scans from 384 young people, aged 4 to 22, so that they could observe the gradual effects that the socioeconomic factors have had on the development of their brain. All the cases that were deemed eligible for the study were those of children who were not suffering from neurological disorders.
Their analysis revealed that approximately 20% of the difference between what poor children score in tests and what children who come from a middle class environment do could be determined by the different development patterns observed in the frontal and temporal lobes of their brains. As for the rest of the 80% of factors that contribute to this difference, they are also dictated by this immense difference in both social and economic backgrounds.
It is perfectly understandable why a child who comes from a loving family and who does not know the horrible effects that going hungry have on a person’s life, or how it feels like to not have a place to go to sleep at night, might be significantly better equipped for studying and learning. But what this study aims to point out is that there are tangible effects on the body that are determined by enduring such unfortunate situations at an early age.
“It’s not enough to bring a child into the world, feed them and make sure they don’t get injured,”, said the head of the Early Emotional Development Program conducted by Washington University School of Medicine Dr. Joan Luby, and also the author of the editorial that came alongside the study in JAMA Pediatrics. “It’s really focusing on the primary caregiver on the first five years of the child’s life”.
He pointed out that it is the state’s duty henceforth to make a change in its policies involving the aid it provides to children. He explained that it is of the utmost importance that this be made a priory, as it has drastic effects on the future of millions of children who get to experience sufferings that are far beyond their age at earlier and earlier ages.
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