The impact of Poverty on the brain- know how! - Seeker's Thoughts

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Thursday, 4 April 2019

The impact of Poverty on the brain- know how!


Children in poverty are more likely to be hungry or malnourished, exposed to trauma, stress or violence, affected by family or neighborhood turmoil or faced with severe health problems.
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New research from the University of East Anglia reveals the impact of poverty children’s brain activity. Researchers studied the brain function of children aged between four months and four years in rural India, and compared their results with children from families in Midwest  America.  
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They found that children in India from lower-income backgrounds, where mothers also had a low level of education, had weaker brain activity and were more likely to be distracted.

According to the study each year, 250 million children in low and middle income countries fail to reach their development potential.

Children in poverty  

Over all India reduces poverty but over 30% of almost 385 million children living in extreme poverty, the highest in South Asia, according to World Bank and UNICEF.

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Children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. In 2013, 19.5% of children in developing nations were living in households that survived on an average of USD 1.90 a day or less per person, compared to just 9.2% of adults. Globally, almost 385 million children are living in extreme poverty.
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Sub-Saharan has both the highest rates of children living in extreme poverty at just under 50% and the largest share of the world’s extremely poor children at just over 50%. South Asia has the second share at nearly 36%- with over 30% of extremely poor children in India alone.

Global Impact of Poverty on Early Brain and Behavioral

Poverty and early adversities significantly impact brain development, contributing to a vicious cycle of poverty. But few studies have looked at brain function early in development.

Researchers find out more about functional brain development of children born into poorer backgrounds – to see why many do not reach full of potential.
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The team of researchers from the University of Stirling carried out their study in Uttar Pradesh, which is the most highly populated region in India.

By using a portable ‘functional near -infrared spectroscopy” device, they measured the brain activity of 42 children aged between four months and four years. 

They investigated the children’s visual working memory – or how well they are able to store visual information and detect changes in the casual environment when they occur. The goal of the test was to see children could remember the colors well enough.
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 Researchers team found that the brain activity and poorer distracter suppressions in the left frontal cortex areas of the brain that is involved in working memory in children.

Although the impact of adversity on brain development can trap children in intergenerational cycle of poverty, the massive potential for brain plasticity is also source of hope.

By parenting with families in the local community and bringing innovative technologies to the field there is a hope to break this cycle of poverty in future work.
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