Webcast Highlights Research on Juvenile Brain Development

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New research on brain development showing abuse, neglect and poverty may have lifelong negative consequences for children will be featured in a program sponsored by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series.

Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, will present a program Feb. 28 titled “Breakthrough Research on Building Better Brains.” Shonkoff’s research identifies “toxic stress,” persistent, highly adverse experiences that damage a child’s brain circuits. Toxic stress may include living with physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, severe maternal depression and prolonged economic hardship.

Consequences of living with toxic stress may persist into adulthood and include poor learning and higher rates of heart disease or substance abuse.

“Dr. Shonkoff’s findings cement the importance of improving the health and well-being of our youngest children,” said Penelope McPhee, president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “As we come together with business and government leaders to improve outcomes for young children, this kind of research is critical to maximizing the return on our investment.”

The program will be webcast live beginning at 6 p.m. EST. The Blank Family Foundation will partner with national nonprofit research center Child Trends to produce the webcast. Child Trends president Carol Emig will be on Twitter during the webcast highlighting key points.

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