– According to a study led by Kimberly Noble, a professor of pediatrics at both Teachers College, Columbia University and at the university’s medical school, with Elizabeth Sowell, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as senior author: the development of children’s and teenagers’ brains seems to be linked to family income. This research suggests that children raised in poor households have smaller brains than their peers living in more affluent environments.

– Previous studies had already shown that experience and stimulation have an effect on the cortex development. “We see that children’s brain structures varies with parents’ educational attainment and income,” said Noble, though adding that it is still not possible to say whether poverty is the cause of smaller brain growth. There are two theories on this subject: one hypothesis is that disadvantaged families have limited access to good nutrition and high quality health care, what could hinder a young brain optimal development; the second explanation is that poor families suffer from higher stress levels due to their difficult situations, which can have negative effects.

– There is notwithstanding some good news: brain size – and cognitive ability – can grow, said the professor. “The brain is incredibly plastic, incredibly able to be molded by experience, especially in childhood. The changes are not immutable.”



Image: Cebu City, Philippines – ChildUp.com