A team of scientists from the University of Texas (USA) has shown that a person’s socioeconomic position is related to how is his/her brain functioning. Also, they discovered that a person’s brain anatomy is also influencing that person’s position in society and that a thin crust of the cortical gray matter can contribute to cognitive decline over the years. To put it simply, apparently, the socioeconomic position is linked to brain health.
Until now, it has been known that the structure and function of a child’s brain can be adversely affected if they grow up in environments that lack adequate education, nutrition, and healthcare.
However, a new study, which has been published in the journal PNAS, has found that the adult brain may be sensitive to social and economic factors that could be actively altered.
The scientists have discovered that the socioeconomic position is linked to brain health
The research involved 304 individuals between the ages of 20 and 89 who were measured for the organization of functional brain networks using magnetic resonance imaging.
The thickness of the cortical gray matter was also measured with brain scans.
The analyses revealed that middle-aged people, between 35 and 64 years old, with a high socioeconomic status, had efficiently organized brain networks and thicker cortical gray matter covering the brain.
On the other hand, individuals with low socioeconomic status tended to have less organized functional brain networks and a thinner gray matter layer.
Besides, a thinner cortical gray matter exposes to cognitive impairment
The study authors also suggest that a thinner crust of the gray cortical matter may contribute to cognitive impairment over the years, resulting in memory loss and dementia.
However, the researchers admit that these results are only preliminary and that more studies are needed to better understand the possible link between socioeconomic position and brain health.