Native Village Youth and Education News
February 1, 2009 Issue 194 Volume 2

 

Poor Children's Brain Activity Resembles That Of Stroke Victims, EEG Shows


Condensed by Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications

 

 
California: University of California, Berkeley, researchers have shown for the first time that the brains of low-income children function differently from the brains of high-income kids.

 

The study reports that responsed in the prefrontal cortex differ among 9- and 10-year-olds from different socioeconomic status The Prefrontal cortex is critical for problem solving and creativity.  "Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult," said Robert Knight,  a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. "We found that kids are more likely to have a low response if they have low socioeconomic status, though not everyone who is poor has low frontal lobe response."

 

 W. Thomas Boyce from the University of British Columbia, heads a joint UC Berkeley/UBC research program called WINKS Wellness in Kids.  He is not surprised by the results. "We know kids growing up in resource-poor environments have more trouble with the kinds of behavioral control that the prefrontal cortex is involved in regulating ... This is a wake-up call.  It's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socioeconomic status: fewer books, less reading, fewer games, fewer visits to museums."

 

Scientists suspect these brain differences can be eliminated by proper training. They  are working with UC Berkeley neuroscientists who use games to improve the prefrontal cortex function, and thus the reasoning ability, of school-age children. They believe that proper intervention and training can children improve these brain functions. d.

 

"We are certainly not blaming lower socioeconomic families for not talking to their kids there are probably a zillion reasons why that happens," Boyce said. "But changing developmental outcomes might involve something as accessible as helping parents to understand that it is important that kids sit down to dinner with their parents, and that over the course of that dinner it would be good for there to be a conversation and people saying things to each other."
 

 Science Daily News http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081203092429.htm
Artwork: scientific american

 

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