A lack of math education after age 16 might lead to brain and cognitive complications

At the University of Oxford, a group of researchers unveiled that people who do not get any math education after age 16 may experience negative effects on their brain and cognitive development later in life.

The findings appeared online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Oxford research group included 133 students in adolescence who were near or at the age of 16, where math education can be entirely ceased at the age during grade school.

“The study found that students who didn’t study maths had a lower amount of a crucial chemical for brain plasticity (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) in a key brain region involved in many important cognitive functions, including reasoning, problem solving, maths, memory and learning,” according to a press release.

“Maths skills are associated with a range of benefits, including employment, socioeconomic status, and mental and physical health. Adolescence is an important period in life that is associated with important brain and cognitive changes. Sadly, the opportunity to stop studying maths at this age seems to lead to a gap between adolescents who stop their maths education compared to those who continue it,” the press release also states.

“Our study provides a new level of biological understanding of the impact of education on the developing brain and the mutual effect between biology and education.”

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