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Extra Cash For Low-Income Mothers May Influence Baby Brains

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Early childhood poverty is not just a risk factor for lower academic achievement, and worse health conditions, this lack of sufficient income has been also associated with differences in an infant’s brain structure and function.

According to recent research, providing extra cash to low-income mothers affects their infants’ brain development. This relativity is confirmed by measuring brains of children aged one year whose low-income families received $300-plus monthly for a year. Their Brain measurements show a significant difference with swift activity in key brain regions as compared with those one year toddlers who got $20 each month. There were no restrictions for the parents on how they spent the money. 

In a trial, some random parents received $333 per month for the first 40 months of their children’s lives. However, another randomized group of parents received $20 per month. To conduct the trial, 1,000 mothers of infants are targeted from four communities including Omaha, New York City, Minneapolis, and New Orleans.

Scientists have identified significant alterations in the brain’s frontal region. It is the area that controls and develops learning and thinking skills. The infants from the families who received more cash show higher-frequency activity, (20% greater)than the infants whose families received lower amounts.

A similar activity pattern has been detected in older children to learning skills and is, however, unclear for how long these differences will affect the kid’s life.

The results reflect that sufficient income and better nutrition will lead to less parental stress. This relief would directly affect infant brain development.

Dr. Kimberly Noble, a neuroscience and education professor at Teachers College, Columbia University stated, "The brain changes speak to the remarkable malleability of the brain, especially early in childhood,''