The Atlantic

A Poor Childhood Could Hurt Your Memory in Old Age

People raised in low-income families have worse cognitive functioning after age 50, suggesting that mental decline is a process that starts in childhood.
Source: Andy Lyons / Getty

In 2004, a study titled “The Long Arm of Childhood” found that whether children were rich or poor could influence their health in adulthood. Now a new paper out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests that childhood has an even longer arm, reaching well into old age. Someone’s economic status as a child, this study suggests, could influence his or her memory and brain health after age 50.

The study’s authors looked at a database of 24,066 people over 50 whose cognitive functioning had been measured every two years from

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