Research Shows Impact of Poverty on Children’s Brain Activity

Research comes from the University of East Anglia in England
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Children born into poverty show key differences in early brain function, according to new research from the University of East Anglia in England. UEA researchers studied the brain function of children between four months and 4 years of age in rural India.

They found that children from lower income backgrounds, and whose mothers also had a low level of education, had weaker brain activity and were more likely to be distracted.

“Each year, 250 million children in low- and middle-income countries fail to reach their developmental potential,” says lead researcher John Spencer, a professor in UEA’s School of Psychology. “There is therefore a growing need to understand the global impact of poverty on early brain and behavioral development. … Previous work has shown that poverty and early adversities significantly impact brain development, contributing to a vicious cycle of poverty. But few studies have looked at brain function early in development.”

Spencer says he and his fellow researchers believe their work is “the first step in intervention efforts designed to boost early brain health before adversity can take hold.”

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