Thursday, May 19, 2016
POVERTY IS TOXIC TO CHILDREN’S BRAINS
Mounting evidence shows that children who grow up poor are more likely to be subjected to stresses like hunger and neglect that act like toxins and hijack the developing brain. In small doses, stress is normal, even helpful. But repeated exposures to adverse childhood experiences remake the architecture of a child’s developing brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of executive function and differentiating between good and bad, and the hippocampus, which handles memories and learning. Toxic stress can interact with other toxins like air pollution with consequences including cognitive deficits and emotional disorders, which in turn, help perpetuate disadvantage. There is evidence that children aren’t only affected by stress they experience directly, but by traumas experienced by their parents and grandparents. Some researchers have found evidence that these traumas are passed from parent to child.
Source: Mailman School of Public Health, 5/10/16, Toxic Stress