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Misguided Austerity Could Literally Hurt Our Brains and Our Future

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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-11 10:24 AM
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Misguided Austerity Could Literally Hurt Our Brains and Our Future /

With Congressional Republicans almost giddy about cutting programs designed to help struggling people and even President Obama proudly showing what a super serious person he can be by cutting home heating assistance for poor people, its important to reflect on what the latest research says about the long-term damage the extreme stress of poverty and joblessness can cause. From Seed Magazine:

Goulds insight was that understanding how stress damages the brain could illuminate the general mechanismsespecially neurogenesisby which the brain is affected by its environ-mental conditions. For the last several years, she and her post-doc, Mirescu, have been depriving newborn rats of their mother for either 15 minutes or three hours a day. For an infant rat, there is nothing more stressful. Earlier studies had shown that even after these rats become adults, the effects of their developmental deprivation linger: They never learn how to deal with stress. Normal rats can turn off their glucocorticoid system relatively quickly, Mirescu says. They can recover from the stress response. But these deprived rats cant do that. Its as if they are missing the off switch.


Poverty is stress, she says, with more than a little passion in her voice. One thing that always strikes me is that when you ask Americans why the poor are poor, they always say its because they dont work hard enough, or dont want to do better. They act like poverty is a character issue.

Goulds work implies that the symptoms of poverty are not simply states of mind; they actually warp the mind. Because neurons are designed to reflect their circumstances, not to rise above them, the monotonous stress of living in a slum literally limits the brain.

More at the link --
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-11 10:36 AM
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1. k&r
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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-15-11 10:47 AM
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2. Donnachaidh, you post lots of interesting and constructive
stuff. Thanks.
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