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      Poverty, Stress, and Brain Development: New Directions for Prevention and Intervention

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      Academic Pediatrics

      Elsevier BV

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          Most cited references 62

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          A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety.

          Policy-makers are considering large-scale programs aimed at self-control to improve citizens' health and wealth and reduce crime. Experimental and economic studies suggest such programs could reap benefits. Yet, is self-control important for the health, wealth, and public safety of the population? Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.
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            Stress signalling pathways that impair prefrontal cortex structure and function.

             A F Arnsten (2009)
            The prefrontal cortex (PFC) - the most evolved brain region - subserves our highest-order cognitive abilities. However, it is also the brain region that is most sensitive to the detrimental effects of stress exposure. Even quite mild acute uncontrollable stress can cause a rapid and dramatic loss of prefrontal cognitive abilities, and more prolonged stress exposure causes architectural changes in prefrontal dendrites. Recent research has begun to reveal the intracellular signalling pathways that mediate the effects of stress on the PFC. This research has provided clues as to why genetic or environmental insults that disinhibit stress signalling pathways can lead to symptoms of profound prefrontal cortical dysfunction in mental illness.
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              Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations.

               M. Meaney (2000)
              Naturally occurring variations in maternal care alter the expression of genes that regulate behavioral and endocrine responses to stress, as well as hippocampal synaptic development. These effects form the basis for the development of stable, individual differences in stress reactivity and certain forms of cognition. Maternal care also influences the maternal behavior of female offspring, an effect that appears to be related to oxytocin receptor gene expression, and which forms the basis for the intergenerational transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity. Patterns of maternal care that increase stress reactivity in offspring are enhanced by stressors imposed on the mother. These findings provide evidence for the importance of parental care as a mediator of the effects of environmental adversity on neural development.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Academic Pediatrics
                Academic Pediatrics
                Elsevier BV
                18762859
                April 2016
                April 2016
                : 16
                : 3
                : S30-S36
                Article
                10.1016/j.acap.2016.01.010
                © 2016

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