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For details of subjects’ information, see Supplemental Methods. All methods were performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (1991).
Family socioeconomic status (SES) is an important factor that affects an individual’s neural and cognitive development.
The two novel aims of this study were to reveal (a) the effects of family SES on mean diffusivity (MD) using diffusion tensor imaging given the characteristic property of MD to reflect neural plasticity and development and (b) the sex differences in SES effects. Neurocognitive development in socioeconomic context: multiple mechanisms and implications for measuring socioeconomic status. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12547 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Yang, J., Liu, H., Wei, D., Liu, W., Meng, J., Wang, K., Hao, L., and Qiu, J. Regional gray matter volume mediates the relationship between family socioeconomic status and depression-related trait in a young healthy sample.
A neuroimaging study with 1099 typically developing individuals aged between 3 and 20 years showed that parents’ educational qualifications and the family income were positively correlated with the total brain surface area (Hurt and Betancourt, 2015).
Another study involving 389 typically developing children showed an association between a higher family SES and a greater total gray matter volume (Hair et al., 2015). doi: 10.1038/mp.2015.193 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Sekiguchi, A., Nouchi, R., Kotozaki, Y., Nakagawa, S., et al. Differences in gray matter structure correlated to nationalism and patriotism.
Several studies have shown that the associations between higher childhood SES and lower cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in later life are stronger in women than in men (Claussen et al., 2003; Hamil-Luker and Angela, 2007; Næss et al., 2007). doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0845-2 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Sekiguchi, A., Nouchi, R., Kotozaki, Y., Nakagawa, S., et al. Regional gray matter density is associated with morningness–eveningness: evidence from voxel-based morphometry. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.20 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Nouchi, R., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Sekiguchi, A., et al. Anatomical correlates of quality of life: evidence from voxel-based morphometry.
In addition, while the effects of family SES on cognitive mechanisms are largely assumed to be mediated by the associations between increased stress and low family SES (Evans and English, 2002; Evans and Schamberg, 2009; Ursache and Noble, 2016a), previous animal studies have shown that females and males show opposite neural changes in response to stressors (Shors et al., 2001). (2001) showed in response to stress event, spine density was enhanced in the male hippocampus but reduced in the female hippocampus. For example, in young individuals, higher family SES is associated with better cognitive and memory functions, including better working memory, executive function, language and literacy abilities, and memory functions (Bowey, 1995; Noble et al., 2007). doi: 10.1007/s00429-012-0485-3 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Sassa, Y., Hashizume, H., Sekiguchi, A., Fukushima, A., et al. Regional gray matter volume of dopaminergic system associate with creativity: evidence from voxel-based morphometry. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.20 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Thyreau, B., Sassa, Y., Hashizume, H., Sekiguchi, A., et al. White matter structures associated with empathizing and systemizing in young adults. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.20 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Tomita, H., Taki, Y., Kikuchi, Y., Ono, C., Yu, Z., et al. A Common CACNA1C gene risk variant has sex-dependent effects on behavioral traits and brain functional activity. Cortex doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy189 [Epub ahead of print]. Higher family SES is also associated with increased self-regulatory behaviors, academic performance, and sense of well-being and less impulsive decision making, learned helplessness, stress, and psychological distress in young individuals (Evans and English, 2002; Evans et al., 2005; Sirin, 2005; Sweitzer et al., 2008). Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Nouchi, R., Yokoyama, R., Kotozaki, Y., Nakagawa, S., et al. Allergic tendencies are associated with larger gray matter volumes. These results suggest the sex-specific associations of family SES with neural and/or cognitive mechanisms particularly in neural tissues in brain areas that play key roles in basic information processing and higher-order cognitive processes in a way females with greater family SES level show imaging outcome measures that have been associated with more neural tissues (such as greater FA and lower MD) and males showed opposite. doi: 10.1007/s11682-018-0025-8 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Taki, Y., Thyreau, B., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Takeuchi, H., Wu, K., et al. Linear and curvilinear correlations of brain white matter volume, fractional anisotropy, and mean diffusivity with age using voxel-based and region of interest analyses in 246 healthy children. Family socioeconomic status (SES, particularly, family income and parents’ educational qualifications) is an important factor that affects an individual’s neural and cognitive development (Hair et al., 2015; Noble et al., 2015). doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21985-8 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Takeuchi, H., Tomita, H., Taki, Y., Kikuchi, Y., Ono, C., Yu, Z., et al. Effects of interaction between the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and daily physical activity on mean diffusivity. Mean diffusivity (MD) is measured by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) (Beaulieu, 2002) and used to measure the microstructural properties of gray and white matter. Delay discounting and smoking: association with the fagerström test for nicotine dependence but not cigarettes smoked per day. As we summarized previously (Takeuchi et al., 2016a), lower MD is sensitive to greater tissue density of the brain parenchyma (though is not strictly a measure of it). The present study, which is a part of an ongoing project to investigate the association between brain imaging, cognitive function, and aging, included relevant SES measures and imaging data from 1216 healthy, right-handed individuals (702 men and 514 women). The mean age of the subjects was 20.7 years [standard deviation (SD), 1.8; age range: 18–27 years old]. Based on abovementioned previous studies and theoretical background of family SES, these include diverse psychological measures of (a) basic cognitive functions, (b) traits related to affects, (c) stress, (d) traits related to cognition, and education. Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: a meta-analytic review of research. Family SES was separately measured using both family annual income and the parents’ average highest educational qualifications.