Brain Health Over Life Stages
Poor brain health is linked with low socioeconomic status and poverty and could lead to stunted growth, depression, and health decline in children, adolescents, and adults.
- Poor brain health has been associated with poverty and low socioeconomic status. An article by Scientific American revealed that the lifestyle associated with growing up under impoverished conditions reduces the size of some parts of the cortex more than others. As such, children living under such conditions usually experience severe losses in brain development.
- It also showed that the children displayed better cognitive skills when living under a higher socioeconomic status. This study thus associates poor brain health and losses in brain development with poverty.
- In the same light, Shahria Hafiz Kakon's brain imaging study in Dhaka, Bangladesh, revealed that children with smaller sizes in some regions of their brains experienced stunted growth. Kakon and her team surveyed two and three-month-old kids.
- Poor brain health has been associated with adolescent emotional depression. An increasing number of studies revealed that exposure to increased early life stress, or susceptibility to stress as a result of a lack of care, support, and social bonding (mostly associated with poverty and trauma) harms the central nervous system (CNS).
- This detrimental development increases the risk of depression onset in adolescents.
- "Adolescent depression is characterized by an enhanced amygdala response to emotional stimuli, which may further impede the frontolimbic development of cognitive control mechanisms and contribute to increased emotional and social reactivity in depressed teenagers."
- A study found that for adults aged between 25-35 years, activities, and emotional stress leading to poor brain health affected their ability to perform tasks negatively.
- The research considered the impact of reduced income levels on the brain health of young adults. While it does not suggest that reduced income levels are the primary cause of brain health decline, the tests conducted showed that people in that category executed tasks slower than others.
- The study's results also established the risk of thinking problems and middle-age health decline due to drops in the income levels of young adults up to 25%.
MID-LIFE AND OLD AGE
- Low socioeconomic status, typically associated with reduced brain health in children, also has similar effects of middle-aged people (between 35 and 64 years).
- A study showed a more disorganized brain network and thinner cortical gray matter for this age category.
- The research suggests that people of this age and within this category would likely experience cognitive decline faster, as well as more vulnerability to age-related diseases. However, the correlation faded out for the elderly.
- According to The Atlantic, "a child who grows up in a low-income household could have a worse memory after the age of 50 years."
Our findings from several reports and studies linked poor brain health with poverty and low socioeconomic status. There were no reports that expressly stated the effect of poor brain health on the life of humans at different stages. As such, we leveraged articles that established a relationship between poverty and low socioeconomic status with poor brain health and correlated our findings to provide the impacts.
Subsequently, we utilized some sources and studies from reports that are beyond Wonder's standard two-year timeframe. However, we used them as the information for this topic relied mostly on studies conducted years ago. Also, we correlated most findings from the older sources with more recent articles.