We know from Prof. Wolfe’s research that poverty can result in physical deficits in brain gray matter at birth. A PHS 795 student came across an interesting article linking cumulative exposure to poverty to loss of brain function over time among young adults. Talk about a “double hit”! They write:
I thought that this article (and corresponding study) related well to an article we read a couple of weeks ago about how poverty affects cognitive function. This article went beyond the obvious effects (lower processing speed, verbal memory, etc.) to discuss problems of premature aging and other brain problems. They also discuss how the different exposures related to poverty contribute to these issues, e.g. low income and SES related to unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and smoking, which have negative consequences on brain function. They discussed the effects of low income on educational attainment as well, and related the implications of that with lower cognitive function. They also provided an interesting prospective due to the fact that the cohort they studied was relatively young (approximately 35-55 years old) and they were already seeing the effects of premature cognitive aging and the effects of poverty on cognitive function.