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Neighborhood Poverty, Cognitive Function, and Prefrontal and Hippocampal Volumes in Children (JAMA)

 
Rita L. Taylor, MA; Shelly R. Cooper, PhD; Joshua J. Jackson, PhD; et al. Original Investigation: Pediatrics, November 3, 2020. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(11):e2023774. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.23774.
Question  What are the associations between neighborhood poverty, child cognitive performance, and brain structure after accounting for household-level poverty?

Findings  This cross-sectional study of 11â€Ŋ875 children aged 9 and 10 years found an association between neighborhood poverty, prefrontal and hippocampal volume, and performance on cognitive tasks. These results remained even after controlling for individual household income.

Meaning  The findings of this study provide evidence that the broader neighborhood context uniquely contributes to prefrontal and hippocampal development and cognitive performance and should be considered in studies of early life poverty and adversity.

Conclusions and Relevance In this study, NP accounted for unique variance in cognitive function and prefrontal and right hippocampal brain volume. These findings demonstrate the importance of including broader environmental influences when conceptualizing early life adversity.

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