How Socioeconomics is Linked To Brain?

In a major development, a group of researchers have linked how environment, genetics and socioeconomic status influence brain function.

In the study, researchers talks of correlations among socioeconomics, genetics, environmental factors and brain structure. They said that socioeconomic status is typically defined by characteristics such as an individual’s income, education and occupation, and is related to quality of life and physical and mental health.

METHOD

In the study, the team of researchers from Penn State, analysed data from the UK Biobank that contained the brain scans, genomic sequences and socioeconomic information of nearly 24,000 participants.

FINDINGS

They found that that both nature and nurture play key roles in brain structure and development. They also noted that only about half the measured anatomical features in the brain could be attributed to genetic factors. Socioeconomic factors also play a significant role. Study co-author Gideon Nave said that some of the relationship between the brain and socioeconomic status could be explained by genetics. “However, there is a lot more to that relationship that remains even after accounting for genetics,” Nave said. “This suggests that socioeconomic conditions get under the skin in some way and can have additional negative influences on the social and economic disparities we see around us,” the author said.

The study also revealed differential impacts of socioeconomic status and environmental factors that span a variety of brain regions. Socioeconomic status can affect physical and mental health, cognitive capacity, educational achievement and brain development and structure. Understanding more about how environmental and genetic factors influence the effects of socioeconomic status on the human brain could lead to earlier and improved mitigation efforts, the study said.

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