New Study: Even in Absence of Illness, Pandemic Has Had ‘Negative Impact on Child Development’

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Children

The coronavirus is not the only pandemic the world has suffered in the last year and a half. Leadership, legislation and human behavior has led to financial collapse, drug relapses and addiction, a halt in educational growth and a huge increase in depression and mental health disorders for all ages, including children. That is just the beginning.

A new study shows yet another devastating consequence hurting the youngest population. “Children born during the coronavirus pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born before the pandemic, and this discrepancy is particularly pronounced in males, as well as in children in lower socioeconomic families, according to preliminary data presented in a preprint study” reports the Jerusalem Post.

The study, titled, “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Child Cognitive Development: Initial Findings in a Longitudinal Observational Study of Child Health” was conducted by researchers from Brown University. Researchers examined data from an ongoing longitudinal study of child neurodevelopment, comparing scores in 2020 and 2021 to scores from 2011 and 2019.

“Researchers found that verbal, non-verbal, and overall cognitive scores are significantly lower since the beginning of the pandemic, with young infants showing significantly lower performance than infants born before January 2019.”

Researchers state “it is clear…that young infants and children are developing differently than pre-pandemic, and that addressing this now while their brain is at its most plastic and responsive, is imperative.”

The Jerusalem Post reports, “Children are heavily influenced by their environment and a child’s brain undergoes a large amount of structural and functional growth driven both by genetic and environmental factors, said the researchers. The COVID pandemic greatly altered the environment of both young children and pregnant individuals which could greatly influence children’s development, according to the study.”