Harm to Developing Brains

Add to the long list of poverty’s negative consequences for health: children’s brain development.

The brains of children from families earning less than $25,000 per year had up to 6% less surface area than those from families earning more than $150,000 per year, according to a Nature Neuroscience study by neuroscientists Kimberly Noble from Columbia University and Elizabeth Sowell from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The researchers imaged the brains of nearly 1100 children, adolescents and young adults in several US cities.

Despite the findings, there is hope: Sowell cites a study in Mexico that found that supplementing poor families' income improved children’s cognitive and language skills within 18 months.

The Quote: “It’s important for the message not to be that if you're poor your brain is smaller and will be smaller forever,” Sowell says.



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