You might think stress is something only adults feel, but the truth is that children feel it too. In fact, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the amount of stress kids experience may have a hand in the development or delay in their brain growth.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison interviewed kids between 9 and 14 years old and created a stress biography for each child, citing events in their lives that went from slight to severe. They also studied one magnetic resonance imaging scan of the brain per subject to help them spot any significant changes in the participants' brain growth.
According to their analysis, kids who were exposed to stress were affected negatively. Those who experienced lasting stress scored lower on spatial working memory tests. The anterior cingulate, a portion of the prefrontal cortex believed to play a key role in spatial working memory, also seemed to be smaller among those who had been exposed to greater stress. In addition, the white matter and gray matter brain tissues appeared to shrink in kids who were under a lot of stress.
As the brain is supposedly very flexible, kids may still catch up in the areas where development is slightly delayed. To help your children's brain growth, you may want to keep their lives as stress-free as possible.
[Click here to read our article on how to help your child unwind.]
(Photo by surfkid74 via sxc.hu)