Poor children's brain develops slower than their wealthier peers'

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'Through the Wormhole': Physical Differences Between Brains of Rich and Poor Kids

A research published by Jama Pediatrics presented some revealing results on how children's brain development is affected by their family's income.

In an interview for Vice News, author of the study Nicole Hair explained:

"We've known for a long time that poor children tend to have worse outcomes in school, but the question remains as to why, so what we wanted to understand was what might explain the achievement gap. There are a number of factors that might influence achievement, but we were interested in whether there might be a biological pathway, and whether the brain development might explain the behavior differences."

The study ultimately found that there is a strict relation between poverty and the structural differences in various areas of the brain associated with school readiness skills. More specifically, the stress of poverty and parental nurturance affect the growth of the brain. While these are not new concepts, the researched revealed exactly how they are related:

"What we have measured is that growing up in poverty seems to have diminished areas like the prefrontal lobe and hippocampus, which are important both for academic performance and decision making. There is this effect on children who are growing up in poverty."

This research could be a major breakthrough and it can back up pressure to change policies around the integration of marginalized students and lower income families.

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