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Books, toys may affect children's brain structure: study

(Xinhuanet.com)

10:02, October 17, 2012

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Books and educational toys introduced to children at very early stage of life may predict the structure of their brains later in life, a new study finds.

The finding was presented Monday in the Society for Neuroscience's annual conference in New Orleans, the United States.

By following 64 people for more than 20 years from their age of four, researchers from University of Pennsylvania find the children who had access to books and educational toys had better development of their brains.

The effect was particularly noticeable in a region called lateral left temporal cortex, which plays a key role in language and thought.

"The time we spend with our parents before we are in school is going to affect us probably for the rest of our lives," said Brian Avants, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of radiology at University of Pennsylvania.

The study also proved the stimulations at age of eight was no longer effective on brain development as it was at age of four.

"These findings underscore the human brain's sensitivity to its early environment. They provide powerful evidence that even relatively minor variations within the normal range of home experience can affect brain development over a lifetime," he noted.

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