Skip Navigation LinksHome > February 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 2 > NewsCap: How poverty affects the developing brain
AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000443759.99818.2d
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NewsCap: How poverty affects the developing brain

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How poverty affects the developing brain. Children who grow up in poverty have less white and gray brain matter and smaller hippocampus and amygdala volumes, finds a neuroimaging study of 145 children, ages six to 12 years, who were followed since preschool. These brain areas regulate memory and emotions. Stressful life events, inattentive and emotionally unavailable caregivers, poor parenting skills, and hostility were linked to the brain deficits. The amount of caregiver education didn't affect the results, reported the December 1, 2013, JAMA Pediatrics. Improved early nurturing may counteract the brain defects; the findings support the need for parenting classes and early preschool programs where vulnerable children receive supplemental caregiving within a safe haven.

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