Racism, poverty may alter brain development of Black children: study


By Xia Lin

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Black children living in poverty face increased instances of stress and trauma that can alter their brain development, CNN reported on Saturday, citing a new study.

In the study published last week by the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found that increased stressors like economic hardship and systemic racism play a significant role for Black children and can lead to the development of mental health issues as they age.

The stressors contribute to Black children having less gray matter in their brains, a byproduct of absorbing "toxic stress."

The study defines the stressors as "prolonged exposure to adverse experiences" that lead to excessive stress hormones and "disrupt the immune and metabolic regulatory systems."

Researchers at Harvard University examined MRI scans of 7,350 White and 1,786 Black children ages 9 and 10. The data in the study was collected by the National Institutes of Health in 2019, according to the CNN report.

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