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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2009 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

The Deprived Human Brain

Developmental deficits among institutionalized Romanian children—and later improvements—strengthen the case for individualized care

Charles A. Nelson III, Elizabeth A. Furtado, Nathan A. Fox, Charles H. Zeanah Jr.

Figure 1. In a Romanian home for abandoned childrenClick to Enlarge ImageWith a lengthy research study in Romania, Charles A. Nelson III and colleagues have confirmed what scientists have long suspected: Abandoned children confined to institutions display impaired cognitive, emotional and social development. The promising news is that the neuroscientists and child development experts also detected significant improvements among children removed from institutions—at a young enough age—and placed in high-quality foster care. These results carry important public policy implications for governments looking after the millions of children believed to be living in orphanages and other institutions worldwide today, the authors argue.


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