Neural Development Resulting from Institutionalization in Early Childhood

We examined the effect of institutionalization on neural structure and function, capitalizing on our RCT design in which some children were randomized to foster care intervention, to evaluate whether removal from institutional care ameliorated the neural effects of early-life deprivation. Using structural MRI, we demonstrated that children who were assigned to care as usual had smaller total white matter volume and smaller posterior CC volume than children who were never institutionalized. For children who were randomized into foster care, neither total white matter volume nor posterior CC volume was significantly different from those of children who had never between the CAUG and the FCG. In contrast, total cortical gray matter was significantly smaller among children who were ever institutionalized, regardless of placement into foster care, compared with children who had never been institutionalized. These findings replicate previous studies. Link to Journal Article

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