Kids of less-educated moms may have noisier brains

A mother’s level of education has strong implications for a child’s development. Northwestern University researchers show in a new study that low maternal education is linked to a noisier nervous system in children, which could affect their learning.

“You really can think of it as static on your radio that then will get in the way of hearing the announcer’s voice,” says Nina Kraus, senior author of the study and researcher at the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is part of a larger initiative working with children in public high schools in inner-city Chicago. The adolescents are tracked from ninth to 12th grade. An additional group of children in the gang-reduction zones of Los Angeles are also being tracked.

Kraus and colleagues are more broadly looking at how music experience, through classroom group-based musical experience, could offset certain negative effects of poverty.  But first, they wanted to see what biological effects poverty may have on the adolescents’ brain. In this particular study, 66 children – a small sample – in Chicago participated.

Full story of noisier brains at CNN Health

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