Brain Development in Children Affected by Poverty

The fact that there is a strong connection between poverty and poor academic scores is not new for most people. However, a link between poverty and brain development has not been confirmed, before.

Brain Development Depends Standards of Living

On Monday, a new study regarding poverty and academic results was published. The results show that many academic problems appear as an effect of poverty on the brain.

The main conclusion exposed by the researchers from Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison was that that children who are living in poverty might experience, not only long-lasting cognitive impairment, but also a large number of differences in brain development.

Researchers analyzed around 400 MRI scans. These were taken from the brains of children who came from poor families. The scans were compared with the ways the grey matter develops in children coming from middle-class families.

The results showed that the regional grey matter volume in poor children’s scans was not in line with the normal development for their ages, being 4% below to what is considered to be normal.

Poor Children’s Brain Can Develop Slower

In addition, researchers stated that this study showed that children who live in poor households 1.5 times lower than the federal poverty level, have a performance below standards because their brain appear to be developing much slower.

When comparing the score of poor kids in general intelligence tests, investigators found that it was 4 to 8 points lower than rich kids showed.

The frontal lobe is responsible for problem-solving, reasoning, and planning, and the temporal lobe is responsible for understanding speech. Therefore, the reason for the poor brain development and low test scores might be the underdevelopment of the frontal and temporal lobes in the brain.

Good Parenting Can Help with Kids’ Brain Development

But the study also found that good parenting could help avoiding some of the problems poverty brings to the kids’ brain development. In addition to that, since changes in the brain can bring other problems, besides low academic scores, the government could also help kids with improving their childhood environment.

In conclusion, great parenting and an amount of help to set their life standards above the poverty line might help improving the manner poor kids’ brain develops.

Take care of your brain by giving it an extra dose of VR: