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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: The effects of poverty are sometimes obvious, as with children of low weight or poor dentition, but the effects on underlying physiological systems, such as the brain, can easily be overlooked. This book discusses the effects of poverty on brain development.
Purpose: The purpose is to heighten awareness of the effect of poverty on the central and critical issue of brain development and its relationship to broader outcomes.
Audience: Clinicians, researchers, educators, and public policy makers from varying backgrounds will appreciate the information in this book. Although some of the neuroscience may be a bit advanced, the underlying issues are well within the grasp of most readers. The authors are experienced and qualified to address this issue.
Features: As is always important when embarking on explorations such as this, the first chapter defines and addresses terminology and key theoretical issues so that readers start with a common understanding. Discussions of the impact on development in terms of health and education follow, along with more detail on the neurological consequences of poverty. Intervention programs are described, as well as research on their effectiveness. Finally, public policy is explored with recommendations for a variety of areas, such as measurement, intervention, education, and ethics. Each chapter has clear headings and a summary section. The main weakness lies in the subpar grayscale figures that can be difficult to decipher. A few color plates would have really helped. Otherwise, the references are very current, some from just last year, and the index is helpful.
Assessment: The authors have succeeded in their goal of raising awareness of the impact of poverty on brain development, and have done so in a book that will have wide appeal across disciplines.