How Poverty Affects Brain Health
Money problems can affect brain aging over time, according to a study involving about 3,400 adults in the U.S. Researchers measured brain function—thinking, memory, and thought processing speed—and found a strong association between financial difficulties and a decline in cognitive abilities.
The study began in 1985-1986 and continued until 2010. Over the course of the study, people who lived in poverty did significantly worse on cognitive tests than those who didn’t struggle financially. While the study did not establish a cause-effect relationship between money problems and brain health, it did suggest that financial problems may affect brain aging.
The results of the study were recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to researchers, four out of five Americans will live at or near poverty levels at least once in their lives. Brain health is a key component of overall health, so it’s important to study all factors that can affect brain aging.
Image Credit: Thinkstock