PNAS:成人大脑受“金钱”影响,社会经济地位低或更易患痴呆
2018/05/16
先前已有研究证实,当儿童在缺乏足够教育、营养和卫生保健的环境中长大时,其发育中的大脑结构和功能可能会受到不利的影响。5月14日,最新发表在PNAS上的一项研究揭示了社会经济状态与成人大脑之间的关联。


图片来源:PNAS(https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1714021115)

在题为“Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across the adult lifespan”的这篇论文中,来自美国德克萨斯大学达拉斯分校的科学家们发现,成年人的大脑实际上可能对社会和经济因素很敏感。

论文的通讯作者Gagan Wig博士说:“先前的一些成果让我们知道,社会经济地位(socioeconomic status,SES)会影响儿童和老年人大脑的结构。那么,在更大范围的成年期,SES与大脑之间是否也存在关联呢?这是我们想弄清楚的问题。”

具体来说,该研究包含了304名年龄在20到89岁之间的参与者,通过利用标准方法结合教育和职业声望对每个人的SES进行评估。其中,SES的测量指标还与个人收入以及主观的SES身份的报告(reports of subjective SES standing)有关。


为了测量大脑的功能,研究人员使用功能性磁共振成像来收集一种大脑扫描图,该图能够展示一个人功能性的大脑网络是如何组织的。此外,他们还利用解剖的大脑扫描(anatomical brain scans)来测量每个人大脑皮质灰质的厚度。

分析结果显示,在35到64岁的中年人中,更高的SES与大脑网络更有效的组织(more efficiently organized brain networks)以及更厚的皮质灰质有关;而那些SES较低的人趋向于拥有组织较差的功能性大脑网络(less well-organized functional brain networks)以及更薄的灰质(更薄的皮质会导致晚年认知障碍,如记忆丧失、痴呆)。

该研究还证实,一个人成年时的SES与他们的大脑-网络组织(brain-network organization)之间的关联独立于其童年时的SES。此外,在老年人中,SES与大脑的关联减弱了。

“我们在中年人中发现了SES与大脑功能和解剖学之间的关联。”Wig博士总结道。不过,值得一提的是,科学家们警告称,还需要更多的研究来更好地理解SES与大脑健康之间的潜在关系。

责编:风铃

参考资料:

Study suggests relationship between socioeconomic status and adult brain

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  • Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across the adult lifespan

    An individual’s environmental surroundings interact with the development and maturation of their brain. An important aspect of an individual’s environment is his or her socioeconomic status (SES), which estimates access to material resources and social prestige. Previous characterizations of the relation between SES and the brain have primarily focused on earlier or later epochs of the lifespan (i.e., childhood, older age). We broaden this work to examine the relationship between SES and the brain across a wide range of human adulthood (20–89 years), including individuals from the less studied middle-age range. SES, defined by education attainment and occupational socioeconomic characteristics, moderates previously reported age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and whole-brain cortical structure. Across middle age (35–64 years), lower SES is associated with reduced resting-state system segregation (a measure of effective functional network organization). A similar but less robust relationship exists between SES and age with respect to brain anatomy: Lower SES is associated with reduced cortical gray matter thickness in middle age. Conversely, younger and older adulthood do not exhibit consistent SES-related difference in the brain measures. The SES–brain relationships persist after controlling for measures of physical and mental health, cognitive ability, and participant demographics. Critically, an individual’s childhood SES cannot account for the relationship between their current SES and functional network organization. These findings provide evidence that SES relates to the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across adult middle age, and that higher SES may be a protective factor against age-related brain decline.

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