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Poverty impairs brain function like a stroke

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I wonder how many potential Einsteins—or Beethovens or Marie Curies or Mother Teresas or Mohandas Ghandis or Martin Luther Kings—struggle for survival, unable to follow the yearning of their hearts.  I wonder how many millions of good, productive, loving people—people who would bless their world—are locked into spending all their strength battling desperate personal conditions.

Are we not all poorer when one of us is poor? Is there anything that would improve us all as much as dragging poverty to its knees?

clipped from www.usatoday.com

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A new study finds that certain brain functions of some low-income 9- and 10-year-olds pale in comparison with those of wealthy children and that the difference is almost equivalent to the damage from a stroke.

“It is a similar pattern to what’s seen in patients with strokes that have led to lesions in their prefrontal cortex,” which controls higher-order thinking and problem solving, says lead researcher Mark Kishiyama, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley. “It suggests that in these kids, prefrontal function is reduced or disrupted in some way.”

Research has shown that the neural systems of poor children develop differently from those of middle-class children, affecting language development and “executive function,” or the ability to plan, remember details and pay attention in school.
“It’s really important for neuroscientists to start to think about the effect[…] of people’s socioeconomic status […] on their brain function […]
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Web-surfing helps brain; may fight Alzheimer’s!

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“What’s that, my sweet? No, sorry! Can’t help right now. Taking care of the old brain, you know.'”

clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com

For middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet could be a boost to the brain, a new study suggests.

[Researchers studied] volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76 as they searched the Internet. Half of the participants had experience surfing the Web, while the others did not […]
All the study participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task […]
But Internet searches revealed differences between the two groups. While all the participants showed the same activity as during the book-reading, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, whereas those new to the net did not. (These areas of the brain control decision-making and complex reasoning.) […]
“Our most striking finding was that Internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading — but only in those with prior Internet experience,” […]

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Written by Monte

October 16, 2008 at 11:45 am