Past Contest Entries

The Lasting Impact of Neglect

This article reports on research that explores how early childhood neglect harms children, and how best to help those who have suffered from such neglect. The article focuses on the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a research study that has followed neglected, institutionalized Romanian children for more than 14 years, and also discusses related studies that have examined the impact of neglect on American children, as well as children adopted to America from institutions overseas. The researchers have learned that early childhood neglect significantly affects brain growth, resulting in a host of psychological and cognitive problems that can persist indefinitely. Some of those problems appear to be partly reversible, however, particularly when a child is removed from the neglectful situation before age two. As scientists learn more about the physiological systems affected by early neglect, they are beginning to target interventions to help the children affected by their rough start in life.