Pitt Study: Growing Up Poor Can Affect Brain Development

From Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children (http://paprom.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=index):


A classic public service ad showed a man holding an egg and saying, “This is your brain,” and then dropping its contents into a sizzling frying pan and saying, “This is your brain on drugs.”


Today, it may be time to come up with an image for an even more damaging social time bomb: “This is your brain on poverty.”


Studies emerging from around the nation are showing that growing up in a low-income household can have a direct impact on the organization and function of the brain. Living in a poor home has been linked to people having trouble forming memories, difficulty focusing attention, hypersensitivity to stress, problems with delaying gratification and even being stifled in overall intelligence.


In the midst of these gloomy reports, however, is a silver lining: It appears that if parents can provide warm, consistent nurturing, they can counteract many of the effects of too little money, too little food and too little safety — the ingredients that often make up an impoverished childhood.  But doing that is a challenge.


To read the full article by Mark Roth, please visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 1, 2010, at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10213/1076801-115.stm.

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