Thursday, April 2, 2015
Childhood poverty and brain development
I was checking one of my news feeds when I noticed an article describing some recently published research on childhood poverty and brain development. Needless to say, subsisting at a poverty level does the developing brain no favors, and leaves those from more affluent circumstances at a neurological advantage. The impacts were found not only on brain structure, but on cognitive function. Taken together with some research I highlighted previously, the message is clear: the structural features of our environment play a tremendous role in our ability to function. There is a sort of violence at an institutional level that has taken place for an extremely long time, and its consequences are dire for those who are the innocent victims. If there is some good news, it is that we know there is evidence that efforts to reduce poverty, along with efforts to provide adequate nutrition and intellectual stimulation to those most affected by poverty do at least minimize the damage. Those efforts have often been the first on the chopping block in recent years, which is not only unfortunate, but is arguably a form of negligence on the part of our policymakers.