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In Thomas et. al.’s “Abnormal Brain Connectivity in Children After Early Severe Socioemotional Deprivation: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study,” the researchers follow up on their previous study that found children who experienced socio-emotional deprivation had a glucose hypometabolism in the

paralimbic and limbic structures of their brains. The study was conducted with children in a Romanian orphanage as the subjects. This latest study uses diffusion tensor imaging tractography to investigate the integrity of white matter tracts connecting the various regions of the brain (Thomas et. al., 2013).

The researchers found that the neuropsychological assessment of orphans varied. Specifically, this was observed through the impulsivity and mild specific cognitive impairment. This was consistent with the previous studies done on the Romanian orphans. The fractional anisotrophy values that were recorded in the left uncinated fasciculus revealed a decrease that was significant in the early deprivation group when compared with the control subjects (Thomas et. al., 2013).

This research shows overwhelming evidence that a lack of nurturing in a child’s upbringing can cause both mental and physical deficiencies. Children need to be given the necessary nutrition and emotional support that will facilitate their strong growth. Without these factors, various mental and physical ailments result, and cause the child to be at a disadvantage to others. The research also raises a question about whether more international attention needs to be given to orphanages in developing nations. This attention would begin to further the research on the situations in which these children find themselves while being raised in orphanages, and then a financial commitment to address the gaps in care that are causing these mental and physical issues can be developed.

In order to augment the current research on the developmental components of the mental and physical well-being of children in developing countries, it is important to examine the children into adulthood. The socio-economic achievements of these 30 children in Romanian orphanages should be matched against 30 control subjects (children in North American families), in order to determine if their childhoods had bearings on the amount of success these children achieved. Both the Romanian subjects and the control subjects will begin the study at age 5, and it will go into adulthood for as long as researchers feel there is value from the study.

This study would take many years to come to fruition, but it would be adding to the scientific evidence about the effects of a lack of a proper upbringing. Furthermore, it would be long-term scientific evidence, rather than evidence that is based more on the short-term, such as is indicated by the other research relating to this study. The study would include various components due to its overarching nature. With such a long-term endeavor, it is important to investigate the variables that would improve the understanding about the reasons why each child ended up in the socio-economic situation they were in. For example, it is important to include a complete profile of the child and his or her parents. This makes interviewing the parents and the children vitally important to fully understand the situation in which the child was raised.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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