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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Large study to study impact on early brain development of financial assistance to low-income mothers

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Does grow­ing up poor harm brain devel­op­ment? (The Econ­o­mist):

Plen­ty of evi­dence sug­gests that grow­ing up poor, liv­ing through these kinds of scrapes, has a detri­men­tal impact on child devel­op­ment. Chil­dren from rich fam­i­lies tend to have bet­ter lan­guage and mem­o­ry skills than those from poor fam­i­lies. More afflu­ent chil­dren usu­al­ly per­form bet­ter in school, and are less like­ly to end up in jail. Grow­ing up poor risks the devel­op­ment of a small­er cere­bral cor­tex. But these are asso­ci­a­tions Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Structural brain differences due to childhood poverty may account for 20% of the academic achievement gap

Brain_MRI_children

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Brain scans reveal how pover­ty hurts children’s brains (Bloomberg):

Grow­ing up poor has long been linked to low­er aca­d­e­m­ic test scores. And there’s now mount­ing evi­dence that it’s part­ly because kids can suf­fer real phys­i­cal con­se­quences from low fam­i­ly incomes, includ­ing brains that are less equipped to learn. Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience, brain development and cognitive health

Round-up of recent arti­cles on neu­ro­science, brain devel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive health:

Encephalon 68: A car­ni­val of neu­ro­science:

Chris hosts a great col­lec­tion of neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy posts in his sig­na­ture Q&A style.

Bilin­gual Babies Get Head Start — Before They Can Talk:

- Unlike the mono­lin­gual group, the bilin­gual group was able to suc­cess­ful­ly learn a new sound type and use it to pre­dict where each char­ac­ter would pop up.

- The bilin­gual babies’ skill applies to more than just switch­ing between lan­guages. Mehler likened this appar­ent­ly enhanced cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to a brain select­ing “the right tool for the right oper­a­tion” also called exec­u­tive func­tion.

- In this basic process, the brain, ever flex­i­ble, nim­bly switch­es from one learned response to anoth­er as sit­u­a­tions change.

- Mono­lin­gual babies hone this abil­i­ty lat­er in their young lives, Mehler sug­gests.”

Study shows how kids’ stress hurts mem­o­ry:

Now, research is pro­vid­ing what could be cru­cial clues to explain how child­hood pover­ty trans­lates into dim­mer chances of suc­cess: Chron­ic stress from grow­ing up poor appears to have a direct impact on the brain, leav­ing chil­dren with impair­ment in at least one key area — work­ing mem­o­ry.”

Return­ing troops get­ting test­ed for brain injuries:

- “More than 150,000 ser­vice mem­bers from the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy have under­gone the test­ing that became manda­to­ry last year. Those who suf­fer a con­cus­sion or sim­i­lar head injury will get a fol­low-up test.”

Dia­betes ‘impact on brain pow­er’:

- “Fail­ure to con­trol type 2 dia­betes may have a long-term impact on the brain, research has sug­gest­ed.

- Lead researcher Dr Jack­ie Price said: “Either hypos lead to cog­ni­tive decline, or cog­ni­tive decline makes it more dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to man­age their dia­betes, which in turn caus­es more hypos.

- “A third expla­na­tion could be that a third uniden­ti­fied fac­tor is caus­ing both the hypos and the cog­ni­tive decline.”

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