Growing Up Poor Physically Changes The Structure Of A Child's Brain

Research shows that SES (Socioeconomic status) is associated with a wide array of health, cognitive, and socioemotional outcomes in children, with effects beginning prior to birth and continuing into adulthood. SES play a role in the growth of key brain areas accountable for learning, language, and emotional development.


In order to understand the effects between a parent’s revenue and education levels and their child’s cognitive growth, researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health has taken more than 600 individuals and scanned their brains throughout of their lives between the ages of five and 25. Afterward, researchers have compared neuroimages against data on their parents’ academic level and profession, Apart from that researchers have examined the IQ level of each Individual.

There is only a slight change from childhood to early adulthood when comparing the relationship between SES and Brain Anatomy. According to the researchers, they believe that preschool time of a child is the most essential time because socioeconomic status and brain organization start to develop at that time.

Main effects of SES on global and local anatomy, after controlling for age and sex. (A) Standardized effect size of SES on each global cortical and subcortical brain measure estimated using scaled variables: total brain volume (TBV); grey matter volume (GMV); white matter volume (WMV); cortical volume (CV); total cortical surface area (SA); mean cortical thickness (CT); hippocampus volume; amygdala volume; thalamus volume; striatum volume; and pallidum volume. (B) Cortical surface regions that show a significant positive association with childhood SES. (C) Subcortical surface regions that show a significant positive association with childhood SES. McDermott et al., JNeurosci (2018)

According to if science, SES was shown to be positively associated with total grey matter volume and less reliably with white matter volume. It was also related to volume levels in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with personality growth, and the emotion-regulating hippocampus.

“We found positive associations between SES and total volumes of the brain, cortical sheet, and four separate subcortical structures,” written by the authors of Journal of Neuroscience,
The brain is answerable for emotional development, learning, and language skills were more complex in people whose parents had a good educational level and parents with good occupations.

“Early brain development occurs within the context of each child’s experiences and environment, which vary significantly as a function of socioeconomic status (SES),” wrote the authors. Early brain development of a child can be vary depending on their parents’ SES because it will associate with the child early life experiences, such as the income of the parents, education and occupational level.

Therefore, such factors have indicated the impact of a child’s mental health. As an example cognitive development, and their academic achievements.

The study notes two important limitations: First, the team used an outdated measure of SES that doesn’t necessarily encompass all parental SES factors.

As per the study, researches have identified two main limitations. Firstly, the team used an outdated measure of SES that doesn’t necessarily encompass all parental SES factors. Secondly, the subjects in this sample are not representative of the full socio-economic range in the United States.

“Our findings inform ongoing efforts to clarify the spatiotemporal patterning of SES-related neuroanatomical variation and its relation to cognitive outcomes such as IQ,” conclude the authors, noting that this link between SES and cognitive development “represents only one possible set of interactions between childhood environment, anatomy, and cognition.” Stated in iflscience.com

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