Growing In Neighbourhood With Poor Socioeconomic Conditions Impacts A Child’s Brain Development, Says Study

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Brain News: A new USC study claims that certain neighbourhoods characterized by poverty and unemployment may impact a child’s brain development, brain size, and neurocognitive performance.

This is the first large national study investigating the role of neighborhood disadvantage and its impact on youth neurocognition and brain structure after accounting for family socioeconomic status and if at all this association varies across US metropolitan areas.

Researchers analyzed baseline data from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, a cohort study conducted at 21 sites across the US from October 2016 — 2018. Children aged 9.00 to 10.99 years at enrollment in the study. They and their parent or caregiver completed a baseline visit during the study period.

The research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics showed that neighborhood disadvantage is similar across all regions of the country. Researchers found local differences in neighborhood disadvantage within each city. It mattered most than how cities differ from each other overall.

The research concludes that local variations in neighborhood disadvantage are an environmental risk factor for youth’s brains across the US. Disadvantaged neighborhoods lack quality healthcare services, access to healthy food, and well-maintained parks and rec facilities. Residents living in such areas may be exposed to more pollutants or social stressors.

The findings have important implications in improving neighborhood conditions for health and well-being and the proper development of children and adolescents. Improving social and educational resources can alleviate the environmental risk factor for brain development.

To Know More, You May Refer To

Daniel A. Hackman, Dora Cserbik, Jiu-Chiuan Chen, Kiros Berhane, Bita Minaravesh, Rob McConnell, Megan M. Herting. Association of Local Variation in Neighborhood Disadvantage in Metropolitan Areas With Youth Neurocognition and Brain Structure. JAMA Pediatrics, 2021; e210426 DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0426

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