Articles on Family Issues

Childhood Family Problems Can Stunt Brain Development

New research from the UK has found that exposure to common family problems during childhood and early adolescence can stunt healthy brain development, which could lead to mental health issues later in life.

The study led by Dr. Nicholas Walsh, lecturer in developmental psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA), used brain imaging technology to scan teenagers aged 17-19. The researchers found that those who experienced mild to moderate family difficulties between birth and 11 years of age developed a smaller cerebellum.

The cerebellum (Latin: little brain) is associated with skill learning, proprioception, stress regulation, sensory-motor control and many other functions. Although the cerebellum is only 10% of brain volume, it houses over 50% of the brain’s total neurons.

Dr. Walsh and colleagues believe that a smaller cerebellum may be a risk indicator of psychiatric disease later in life. According to the researchers the cerebellum is consistently found to be smaller in virtually all psychiatric illnesses. Although a smaller cerebellum is linked to psychiatric illnesses the exact reason for this is not completely understood.

The study, titled “General and Specific Effects of Early-Life Psychosocial Adversities on Adolescent Grey Matter Volume” was conducted with the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. The findings were published on February 19, 2014 in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical.

Whatever the Cerebellum Is Doing, It’s Doing a Lot of It

The exact role of the cerebellum in emotional and cognitive function remains enigmatic to neuroscientists. My father—who was a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon—was fascinated by the mysterious and powerful cerebellum. These new findings add to growing research that shows the importance of the cerebellum in optimizing overall brain function.

My dad always said, “Whatever the cerebellum is doing, it’s doing a lot of it.” My father passed his obsession with the cerebellum on to me. The Athlete's Way is founded on the principle of optimizing the gray and white matter volume and connectivity of both hemispheres of the cerebellum with both hemispheres of the cerebrum through daily lifestyle choices at every stage of life.

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Interesting facts:

Breakaway is a magazine that has been put out by Focus on the Family since 1990. Its intended audience is teenage males, and it writes articles focusing on teen issues from a conservative Christian perspective.

The Road Too Often Traveled - A Collection of Articles on Learning Disabilities, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Special Needs, and Related Issues: A Collection of Articles on Learning Disabilities, Autism
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