This chapter examines the effect of early nutritional deficits on brain development and the role this may play in the emergence of psychopathology. It analyzes the possible link between early nutritional insults and the development of psychopathology in the context of those studies that have specifically researched this question. The chapter focuses on investigations that look at the affects of early malnutrition on broader issues such as cognitive development in humans and developmental neurobiology. These factors are important because they characterize a developmental path in which psychopathology may exist as part of the milieu or which may increase an individual's risk for the later development of mental illness. The chapter concludes with a brief hypothetical discussion of potential causal mechanisms that may account for the relationship between early nutritional insults and the later development of psychopathology.
- Brain development
- Cognitive development
- Early nutritional deficiencies
- Mental illness