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Early learning helps brain development
Learning that takes place during childhood can have a positive impact on brain development later in life, new research has found. The 20-year project showed mental stimulation around the age of four - provided through books and other educational toys - can lead to parts of the brain associated with cognition and language being particularly advanced, the Guardian reports.
Martha Farah, Director of the Centre for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered learning at this age could leave fingerprints on the brain that remain until a person's teenage years.
The findings have been presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans and showed cognitive stimulation from parents at an early age can assist the development of the brain 15 years later.
Andrea Danese, a Clinical Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, noted: "Parents can lay the foundations for their teenage children to take good decisions, for example by promoting their ability to retain and elaborate information."
Emeritus Professor Philip Adey from King's College London, a member of the British Psychological Society, comments:
"It is good to see neurological support for a position that most early years specialists have maintained from long before the advent of brain scanning. The right kind of stimulation around the ages of three to five has enormously beneficial effects on learning throughout the schooling years and beyond."
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