Researchers from the departments of psychiatry, radiology, psychology and neuroscience at Washington University tracked the emotional and brain development of 145 preschoolers for 10 years, finding a link between early childhood poverty and smaller brain size. “These study findings demonstrated that exposure to poverty during early childhood is associated with smaller white matter, cortical grey matter, and hippocampal and amygdala volumes,” concluded the authors in yesterday’s JAMA Pediatrics.
I can just see it now: tens of thousands of psychiatrist across the country are going “hmm, looks like just about everything causes brain shrinkage/damage. Mental illness, stress, poverty. So I guess it’s no big deal that we’re having to accept neuroleptic drugs to be brain damaging, it turns out it’s not really a big deal at all. Here’s to putting another thousand kids on Risperdal!”
For the two modes of research and types of intervention, I think that it’s the same river, but different undercurrents. Or else, it should be put that it’s different undercurrents, but the very same limited access river of suits, labs, and laws.
Duh, poverty hurts a kid in America.
However, the researchers identify the relevant variables. But there is some residue from “broken-brain theory” in having to omit statements that directly implicate the affect on the children who have the brains, and not just some way they will be ready for their check-ups.
I see a different spin being put on this. The kids are poor BECAUSE THEY HAVE SMALLER BRAINS!!! They are born to poor parents, who undoubtedly also have smaller brains, which proves that poverty is a genetic condition and we don’t have to worry about fighting poverty, because it’s really their brains’ fault after all. What an awesome discovery!
(Just in case anyone misinterprets, the above is to be read with dripping sarcasm and irony. But it wouldn’t shock me if some biopsych proponent came up with that interpretation for real.)