Childhood deprivation affects brain size and behaviour

Nuria Mackes - The Conversation

In this article for the Conversation, Nuria Mackes discusses her team's latest research on the impacts of early childhood deprivation on adult brain size and behavior. The research demonstrates that "early childhood adversity experienced in institutions was related to a smaller brain as well as regional changes in brain structures. Some of these changes were linked to neurodevelopmental problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can arise following adversity." 

The study "examined a group of adoptees who were exposed to severe early deprivation when living in institutions in Romania under the Ceaușescu regime. The conditions in these institutions were appalling. Often children did not have enough food and they had no toys to play with. They were confined to cots and had no permanent caretakers with whom to form a bond. "