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How Poverty Stunts Kids’ Brain Development

A recent study, published July 20 in the JAMA Pediatrics medical journal, reports that analyses of MRI scans from 389 children and teens over six years show that poor kids have smaller brains that are linked to lower test scores when compared to middle class and rich kids.

Seth Pollak of the University of Wisconsin–Madison led the study that found that “deficits in the brains of poor kids explained as much as 15 to 20 percent of their poor test achievement.  The MRI scans confirmed that as poor children grew, the areas of the brain that were most susceptible to environmental influence and crucial for academic development had structural differences from middle-class and rich kids. The poor kids also had less gray matter overall than the other children, with the deficits getting worse for the kids who lived below the federal poverty line.” Read more.

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