After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

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Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen




Monday, 27 August 2012
How Poverty Harms the Brain

childrenThe brain is highly sensitive to the environment in which it develops, especially during childhood. Since the experiments conducted in the 1960s with rats raised in environments rich in sensory and social stimulation, there is no longer any doubt that an enriched environment promotes brain development, whereas an impoverished environment slows it down.

Regarding humans, there have been countless studies showing that low socio-economic status, usually associated with a poor environment, alters functions such as attention, working memory, language, and self-control. Beyond these, there are the overall harmful effects of social inequality on health. In Montreal, Quebec, for example, life expectancies are 10 years lower in poor neighbourhoods than in rich ones.

At the 2010 Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, Helen Neville of the University of Oregon described her studies on the brains of 3- to 5-year-old children who grow up in poor environments. Of course, she has observed the cognitive delays that are typical in children who are neglected. But she has also shown that by training parents and by working with children to develop their attention and self-control, it is possible to reduce their behavioural problems and improve their cognitive and social skills.

Dr. Neville also runs a web site called Changing Brains that presents a dozen videos about simple conditions to encourage to help children’s brains develop to their full potential.

i_lien Neuroscience exposes pernicious effects of poverty
i_lien Changing Brains

How the Mind Develops, Mental Disorders | 1 comment


One comment at; “How Poverty Harms the Brain”

  1. Easily the best most comprehensive web site, easiest to use from kindergarten illiterates to PhDs and MDs, mostly objective fair and unassailable.

    However it hasnt divested itself of the noxious venom and nonsense of as the College of Physicians as well as most medical schools including Harvard promulgate the nonsense concept of “responsible use of narcotics for non cancer pain”
    It is especially this web site which makes clear the existence of and the importance of endorphins enkephalins dynorphins and their receptors and the synthesis and function and dysfuction of those receptors.
    And I congratulate you on the rather obvious once one realises it understanding of the entry drugs in our civilization which isnt cannabis but caffeine and nicotine.
    They are just as pernicious and unnecessary as the soft and the hard drugs. And of course they are late comers in our western civilization as neither the Greeks nor the Etruscans nor the Romans used these stimulants which came to us from Arabia via Turkey and from North American Aboriginal tribes.
    But a sacred ceremony of a peace pipe which might have been used once a year or a month at most had become a vicious and stupid addiction as Oscar Wilde so aptly characterised it. It is so pleasurable and so useless that you have to immediately repeat it.
    As far a caffeine goes we witness the supersized gallon amount coffees of Tim Hortons as a mad ritual of hysteric addiction. Long lines line up and get their fix repeatedly and in their ignorance and callousness Canadian Hospitals now serve Tim Hortons as a purveyor of an addicting substance.
    Fifty cups of coffee is the lethal dose, we can expect soon not just coffee psychosis of which I witnessed one example in a transport driver but actual deaths due to caffeine overdose.
    It is the TBFTTB website which explains CART the natural cocaine and amphetamine analogous to endorphins and endocannabinoids as the endogenous stimulant protein through which cocaine amphetamine ephedrine caffeine and nicotine work. Too bad it doesnt detail and explain the molecular structure of the CART molecule.
    The Greeks and the Romans of course had alcohol and they were so impressed by its effects that they invented two gods to explain its power and whole religious rituals around it. Indeed we can thank Dionysius and Bacchus for the invention of drama and opera as these were celebrations of the god of inebriation.
    Of course we also know that we not only make anandamine to make any nonsense about medical marihuana absurd and laughable but we also produce by the same fermentation as yeasts alcohol in our gut mainly from sugars.
    So we dont need narcotics cannabis caffeine nicotine amphetamine cocaine
    ephedrine as we produce these equipotent substances neurotransmitters in our guts livers neurons through endogenous synthetic chemical processes.

    A minimal understading of cellular and molecular processes so clearly and easily available on your website
    makes any use of drugs narcotics as the French so aptly say stupefiants -makes you dull and stupid and dumb- all these substances unecessary and foolish.

    If one understands receptor function and feedback loops it becomes clear that stimulants do not stimulate but sedate and narcotics do not ease pain but cause it to be even more unendurable.

    Addiction and drug abuse will be the next scourge of medicine as metabolic syndrome and cancer was and before that infectious diseases.

    I use your website to educate and try to dissuade all my patients from demanding narcotics.
    They listen politely and then ask for my Tylenol 2 and my Tylenol 3. Or my Ativan 0.5 and 1 mg. As I refuse to give them anything more potent.

    But this website is still the best weapon in minimising drug abuse.

    So I thank you.

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