WASHINGTON: A recent study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis by author Dr. Joan Luby claimed that brain development of a child could be affected by the growing poverty level.
The study was published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on 28th of this month which discovered smaller-sized brains in the children living under poverty since their early years.
The research team conducted MRI brain scans on 145 children, aged 6 to 12, who had been followed since preschool.
Smaller-sized brains were found in those who lived in poverty in their early years, they discovered.
This included a smaller hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays an important role in memory. The effects of poverty on hippocampus size were influenced by the quality of care received by children adding that the effects of stressful life events, the researchers said,
“What’s new is that our research shows the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the [brain’s] hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses that the children experience,” study author Dr. Joan Luby, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release.
Those stressors might include moving regularly, having parents who fight or the death of a loved one, the researchers said.
According to Luby’s group, the findings highlight the importance of helping parents provide children with high-quality care. Preschool programs that provide good supplementary care and a safe haven for vulnerable young children may be part of that assistance.
“Parents can be less emotionally responsive for a whole host of reasons,” Luby said. “They may work two jobs or regularly find themselves trying to scrounge together money for food. Perhaps they live in an unsafe environment. They may be facing many stresses, and some don’t have the capacity to invest in supportive parenting as much as parents who don’t have to live in the midst of those adverse circumstances.”
“Exposure to early life adversity should be considered no less toxic than exposure to lead, alcohol or cocaine, and, as such, it merits similar attention from public health authorities,” Nelson concluded.
Charles Nelson from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School expressed their thoughts after the revelations came after the new study, said that the new study unveils the basic reasons of destruction of a child’s brain when it is in development period.