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Population Neuroscience: A Pilot Project to Examine Poverty and Brain Imaging in Adolescence

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigators:   Colter Mitchell, Christopher Monk

Large studies of racially diverse, representative samples have established the negative effects of neighborhood and family poverty and social inequality on later outcomes. Recent work provides important clues about how these impoverished environments become biologically embedded during childhood and increase the risk of poor mental health. Findings indicate that children in poverty are more likely to experience stressors, including dangerous homes and neighborhoods, family instability, conflict, and neglect, that have a negative impact on the brain. Our pilot project will provide preliminary data to support an R01 grant application to NIH to study how adverse environments sculpt brain, physiological and cognitive-affective development and give rise to mental health disorders in a representative study of adolescents. This pilot project has three interrelated aims: 1) Confirm the feasibility of the measures and protocols intended for the larger R01 sample. 2) Examine the relationship between poverty and brain structure. 3) Examine the relationship between poverty and brain function.

Funding Period: 01/01/2014 to 12/31/2014

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