Pre-publication findings of a Brown University study led by Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Sean Deoni have concluded that children born in the US during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance when compared with children born in the year prior to the pandemic. “While there is no past analogue or example of non-conflict related wide-spread and prolonged lock-downs from which to draw information […], concern for child development stemmed principally from the known impact that family and home stress, parent and child anxiety, lack of stimulating environments, and other economic and environmental adversities can have on the developing infant and child brain [8, 9].” (Deoni et al., in review, 2021). Note that there is no mask-specific research or finding; the focus was on the larger impact of a family’s caregiving environment.
For the pre-publication article under review: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.10.21261846v1.full.pdf
For a GoLocalProv (Rhode Island) news interview of Dr. Deoni: https://www.golocalprov.com/news/children-born-during-pandemic-have-reduced-cognitive-skills-says-new-study
Researchers expressed concern that their findings not be used to critique necessary lockdown measures but rather to encourage more economic and social support for families and more attention to the need for providing more stimulating and responsive social experiences for infants and toddlers. Masks, distancing, sheltering at home, and vaccination are all recommended health measures designed to help us overcome the threat of illness.