Friday, September 19, 2014

socioeconomic status and structural brain development..,


frontiersin |  Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have made accessible new ways of disentangling the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors that influence structural brain development. In recent years, research investigating associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and brain development have found significant links between SES and changes in brain structure, especially in areas related to memory, executive control, and emotion. This review focuses on studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We highlight how highly correlated measures of SES are differentially related to structural changes within the brain.

Introduction
Human development does not occur within a vacuum. The environmental contexts and social connections a person experiences throughout his or her lifetime significantly impact the development of both cognitive and social skills. The incorporation of neuroscience into topics more commonly associated with the social sciences, such as culture or socioeconomic status (SES), has led to an increased understanding of the mechanisms that underlie development across the lifespan. However, more research is necessary to disentangle the complexities surrounding early environmental variation and neural development. This review highlights studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We do not include studies examining children who have experienced extreme forms of early adversity, such as institutionalization or severe abuse. We also limit this review to findings concerning socioeconomic disparities in brain structure, as opposed to brain function.