McGill University study: Detecting long-term concussion in athletes

15 Jul

Kids Health has some great information about concussions at their site:

What Is a Concussion and What Causes It?
The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. When a person gets a head injury, the brain can move around inside the skull and even bang against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. When this happens, a person can get a concussion — a temporary loss of normal brain function.
Most people with concussions recover just fine with appropriate treatment. But it’s important to take proper steps if you suspect a concussion because it can be serious.
Concussions and other brain injuries are fairly common. About every 21 seconds, someone in the United States has a serious brain injury. One of the most common reasons people get concussions is through a sports injury. High-contact sports such as football, boxing, and hockey pose a higher risk of head injury, even with the use of protective headgear.
People can also get concussions from falls, car accidents, bike and blading mishaps, and physical violence, such as fighting. Guys are more likely to get concussions than girls. However, in certain sports, like soccer, girls have a higher potential for concussion.
http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/first_aid/concussions.html#a_What_Is_a_Concussion_and_What_Causes_It_

Dr. Rivara published a study of how serious concussions can be.

Lindsey Tanner of AP reported about concussions in the article, Even mild concussions can cause lingering symptoms:

Children with even relatively mild concussions can have persistent attention and memory problems a year after their injuries, according to a study that helps identify which kids may be most at risk for lingering symptoms.
In most kids with these injuries, symptoms resolve within a few months but the study results suggest that problems may linger for up to about 20 percent, said study author Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University’s Center for Biobehaviorial Health.
Problems like forgetfulness were more likely to linger than fatigue, dizziness and other physical complaints, the study found.
Forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention, headaches and fatigue were more common in study children who lost consciousness or who had other mild head trauma that caused brain abnormalities on imaging tests, compared with kids who didn’t get knocked out or who had normal imaging test results.
The study looked at symptoms up to a year after injury so it doesn’t answer whether any kids had longer-lasting or permanent problems.
“What parents want to know is if my kid is going to do OK. Most do OK, but we have to get better at predicting which kids are going to have problems,” Yeates said.
Those who do may need temporary accommodations, including extra time taking school tests, or wearing sunglasses if bright light gives them headaches, he said.
Most children studied had concussions from playing sports or from falls. About 20 percent had less common mild brain trauma from traffic accidents and other causes.
Concussions involve a blow to the head that jostles the brain against the skull, although imaging scans typically show no abnormalities. Other mild brain trauma can cause tissue damage visible on these scans.
The study included 186 children aged 8 to 15 with mild concussions and other mild brain injuries treated at two hospitals, in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. The reports are based on parents’ reports of symptoms up to 12 months after the injuries.
The brain injuries studied were considered mild because they involved no more than half an hour of unconsciousness; 60 percent of kids with concussions or other brain trauma — 74 children — had no loss of consciousness.
Overall, 20 percent — 15 children — who lost consciousness had lingering forgetfulness or other non-physical problems a year after their injury; while 20 percent who had abnormal brain scans — six kids — had lingering headaches or other physical problems three months after being injured.
http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Even-mild-concussions-can-cause-lingering-symptoms-3383079.php#ixzz1oMUeQVuu

McGill University researched a methodology for detecting long-term concussion,

Science Daily reported in Detecting long-term concussion in athletes:

Lawyers representing both sides in concussion lawsuits against sports leagues may eventually have a new tool at their disposal: a diagnostic signature that uses artificial intelligence to detect brain trauma years after it has occurred.
While the short-term effects of head trauma can be devastating, the long-term effects can be equally hard for patients. The symptoms may linger years after the concussion happened. The problem is it is often hard to say whether their symptoms are being caused by a concussion or other factors like another neurological condition or the normal aging process.
The only way to prove the presence of brain damage caused by concussion years after it occurred was through post-mortem examination. A means of diagnosing concussion in living patients, however, remained elusive.
A research team from Université de Montreal, The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), and the Ludmer Center for NeuroInformatics recruited former university athletes between the ages of 51 and 75 who played contact sports such as ice hockey and American football. From that group, the researchers formed a cohort of 15 athletes who reported being concussed in their athletic careers, and a control group of 15 athletes who had not been concussed.
The researchers performed a battery of tests on both groups, including neuropsychological testing, genotyping, structural neuroimaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and diffusion weighted imaging. They then pooled the data and fed it to computers that use artificial intelligence software to “learn” the differences between the brain of a healthy athlete versus the brain of a previously concussed athlete. They found that white matter connections between several brain regions of concussed individuals showed abnormal connectivity that might reflect both degeneration and the brain’s method of compensating for damage. Using the data, the computers were able to detect concussion with up to 90-per-cent accuracy….
Dr. Sebastien Tremblay, the paper’s first author, says they need to validate the signature on a larger sample size, using various magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, before it becomes an effective means to diagnose concussion. When perfected, the signature could also aid treatment of concussion by providing doctors with an accurate picture of what is causing their patients’ symptoms…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170712145611.htm

Citation:

Detecting long-term concussion in athletes
Researchers develop method that could one day be used in brain trauma lawsuits
Date: July 12, 2017
Source: McGill University
Summary:
representing both sides in concussion lawsuits against sports leagues may eventually have a new tool at their disposal: a diagnostic signature that uses artificial intelligence to detect brain trauma years after it has occurred.

Journal Reference:
1. Sébastien Tremblay, Yasser Iturria-Medina, José María Mateos-Pérez, Alan C. Evans, Louis De Beaumont. Defining a multimodal signature of remote sports concussions. European Journal of Neuroscience, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/ejn.13583

Here is the press release from McGill University:

Detecting long-term concussion in athletes
News
Researchers develop method that could one day be used in brain trauma lawsuits
Published: 12Jul2017
Lawyers representing both sides in concussion lawsuits against sports leagues may eventually have a new tool at their disposal: a diagnostic signature that uses artificial intelligence to detect brain trauma years after it has occurred.
While the short-term effects of head trauma can be devastating, the long-term effects can be equally hard for patients. The symptoms may linger years after the concussion happened. The problem is it is often hard to say whether their symptoms are being caused by a concussion or other factors like another neurological condition or the normal aging process.
The only way to prove the presence of brain damage caused by concussion years after it occurred was through post-mortem examination. A means of diagnosing concussion in living patients, however, remained elusive.
A research team from Université de Montreal, The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), and the Ludmer Center for NeuroInformatics recruited former university athletes between the ages of 51 and 75 who played contact sports such as ice hockey and American football. From that group, the researchers formed a cohort of 15 athletes who reported being concussed in their athletic careers, and a control group of 15 athletes who had not been concussed.
The researchers performed a battery of tests on both groups, including neuropsychological testing, genotyping, structural neuroimaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and diffusion weighted imaging. They then pooled the data and fed it to computers that use artificial intelligence software to “learn” the differences between the brain of a healthy athlete versus the brain of a previously concussed athlete. They found that white matter connections between several brain regions of concussed individuals showed abnormal connectivity that might reflect both degeneration and the brain’s method of compensating for damage. Using the data, the computers were able to detect concussion with up to 90-per-cent accuracy.
The study’s results were published in the European Journal of Neuroscience on May 16, 2017. Their work, once more thoroughly tested and refined, could have implications for current and future concussion lawsuits. The National Football League, for example, faced a decade-long lawsuit by former players who claimed it did not do enough to protect them from concussion. The lawsuit was complicated by the fact there was no objective way to determine if the neurological symptoms they experienced were caused by the concussions they received as players. The National Hockey League is currently facing a similar lawsuit by former players.
Dr. Sebastien Tremblay, the paper’s first author, says they need to validate the signature on a larger sample size, using various magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, before it becomes an effective means to diagnose concussion. When perfected, the signature could also aid treatment of concussion by providing doctors with an accurate picture of what is causing their patients’ symptoms.
The need for such tools is greater than ever. According to the federal government, reported concussions have increased 40 per cent between 2004 and 2014 among young football, soccer and hockey players.
“With 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions per year in the US alone, the prevalence of this injury is alarming,” says Tremblay, a postdoctoral researcher at The Neuro. “It is unacceptable that no objective tools or techniques yet exist to diagnose them, not to mention the sheer lack of scientifically valid treatment options. With our work, we hope to provide help to the vast population of former athletes who experience neurological issues after retiring from contact sport.”
“Future studies, including systematic comparisons with patient groups presenting with other age-related neurological conditions, together with identifying new biomarkers of concussion, would help refine the developed, computer-assisted model of the remote effects of concussion on the aging brain,” says Dr. Louis de Beaumont, a researcher at Université de Montreal and the paper’s senior author.
This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Université de Montréal
Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, Université de Montréal ranks among the top 1% of the world’s best universities and is considered the top comprehensive university in the Francophonie. Founded in 1878, UdeM today has 15 faculties and schools, and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Quebec and one of the most important in North America. It has 2,800 professors and researchers and more than 66,000 students. For more information, please visit http://www.umontreal.ca/en
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro – is a world-leading destination for brain research and advanced patient care. Since its founding in 1934 by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro has grown to be the largest specialized neuroscience research and clinical centre in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The seamless integration of research, patient care, and training of the world’s top minds make The Neuro uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on the understanding and treatment of nervous system disorders. In 2016, The Neuro became the first institute in the world to fully embrace the Open Science philosophy, creating the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. The Montreal Neurological Institute is a McGill University research and teaching institute. The Montreal Neurological Hospital is part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. For more information, please visit http://www.theneuro.ca
Contact Information
Contact:
Shawn Hayward
Organization:
Communications Officer, Montreal Neurological Institute
Email:
shawn.hayward@mcgill.ca
Office Phone:
514 893 3376
Secondary Contact Information
Contact:
Jeff Heinrich
Organization:
International Press Attaché, Université de Montreal
Secondary Email:
jeff.heinrich@umontreal.ca
Office Phone:
514 343 7593

WebMD has a good description of what a concussion is and the signs of concussion

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head or to the body. The blow shakes the brain inside the skull, which temporarily prevents the brain from working normally….
Symptoms of a concussion include:
· Passing out.
· Not being able to remember what happened after the injury.
· Acting confused, asking the same question over and over, slurring words, or not being able to concentrate.
· Feeling lightheaded, seeing “stars,” having blurry vision, or experiencing ringing in the ears.
· Not being able to stand or walk; or having coordination and balance problems.
· Feeling nauseous or throwing up.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a small child has a concussion. If your child has had a head injury, call your doctor for advice on what to do.
Occasionally a person who has a more serious concussion develops new symptoms over time and feels worse than he or she did before the injury. This is called post-concussive syndrome. If you have symptoms of post-concussive syndrome, call your doctor. Symptoms of post-concussive syndrome include:
· Changes in your ability to think, concentrate, or remember.
· Headaches or blurry vision.
· Changes in your sleep patterns, such as not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time.
· Changes in your personality such as becoming angry or anxious for no clear reason.
· Lack of interest in your usual activities.
· Changes in your sex drive.
· Dizziness, lightheadedness, or unsteadiness that makes standing or walking difficult.

Parents must be alert to what is happening with the children when they participate in athletic events and activities.

Resources:

Concussions http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/first_aid/concussions.html#a_What_Is_a_Concussion_and_What_Causes_It_
Concussion
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/concussion/article_em.htm

Concussion – Overview
http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/traumatic-brain-injury-concussion-overview

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University of California Riverside study: Drinking alcohol while pregnant could have transgenerational effects

9 Jul

Moi wrote in Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:

Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.
DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.
Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.
Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.
The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”
PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:
Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php:

A Virginia Tech study involving mice confirmed this study. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170617073635.htm A University of California Riverside study examined the premise that the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy can affect later generations.

Science Daily reported in in Drinking alcohol while pregnant could have transgenerational effects:

Soon-to-be mothers have heard the warning — don’t drink while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in newborns.
Despite this, many women drink during pregnancy, a choice that scientists have known for years could hurt these mothers’ children. Today, there is a new reason why an expectant mother should put down that glass of wine — drinking alcohol during pregnancy will not only affect her unborn child, but may also impact brain development and lead to adverse outcomes in her future grand- and even great-grandchildren….
“Traditionally, prenatal ethanol exposure (PrEE) from maternal consumption of alcohol, was thought to solely impact directly exposed offspring, the embryo or fetus in the womb. However, we now have evidence that the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure could persist transgenerationally and negatively impact the next-generations of offspring who were never exposed to alcohol,” Huffman said.
Previous work from the Huffman Laboratory at UCR has shown that PrEE impacts the anatomy of the neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for complex behavior and cognition in humans, and that PrEE can lead to abnormal motor behavior and increased anxiety in the exposed offspring. Huffman and a group of UCR students have extended this research by providing strong evidence that in utero ethanol exposure generates neurobiological and behavioral effects in subsequent generations of mice that had no ethanol exposure….. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170707095338.htm

Citation:

Drinking alcohol while pregnant could have transgenerational effects
Prenatal ethanol exposure causes abnormalities in the brain, behavior that may be passed on for many generations
Date: July 7, 2017
Source: University of California – Riverside
Summary:
Soon-to-be mothers have heard the warning – don’t drink while pregnant. Experts have issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Now a new study finds that prenatal ethanol exposure (from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy) causes abnormalities in the brain and behavior that may be passed on for many generations.

Journal Reference:
1. Charles W. Abbott, David J. Rohac, Riley T. Bottom, Sahil Patadia, Kelly J. Huffman. Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Neocortical Development: A Transgenerational Model of FASD. Cerebral Cortex, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhx168

Here is the press release from the University of California Riverside:

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Could Have Transgenerational Effects
New study by UCR psychology professor finds that prenatal ethanol exposure (from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy) causes abnormalities in the brain and behavior that may be passed on for many generations
By Mojgan Sherkat on July 6, 2017
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – Soon-to-be mothers have heard the warning – don’t drink while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in newborns.
Despite this, many women drink during pregnancy, a choice that scientists have known for years could hurt these mothers’ children. Today, there is a new reason why an expectant mother should put down that glass of wine – drinking alcohol during pregnancy will not only affect her unborn child, but may also impact brain development and lead to adverse outcomes in her future grand- and even great-grandchildren.
The new study by Kelly Huffman, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, titled “Prenatal Ethanol Exposure and Neocortical Development: A Transgenerational Model of FASD,” was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
“Traditionally, prenatal ethanol exposure (PrEE) from maternal consumption of alcohol, was thought to solely impact directly exposed offspring, the embryo or fetus in the womb. However, we now have evidence that the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure could persist transgenerationally and negatively impact the next-generations of offspring who were never exposed to alcohol,” Huffman said.
Previous work from the Huffman Laboratory at UCR has shown that PrEE impacts the anatomy of the neocortex, the part of the brain responsible for complex behavior and cognition in humans, and that PrEE can lead to abnormal motor behavior and increased anxiety in the exposed offspring. Huffman and a group of UCR students have extended this research by providing strong evidence that in utero ethanol exposure generates neurobiological and behavioral effects in subsequent generations of mice that had no ethanol exposure.
To determine whether the abnormalities in brain and behavior from prenatal ethanol exposure would pass transgenerationally, Huffman generated a mouse model of FASD and tested many aspects of brain and behavioral development across three generations. As expected, the first generation, the directly exposed offspring, showed atypical gene expression, abnormal development of the neural network within the neocortex and behavioral deficits. However, the main discovery of the research lies in the subsequent, non-exposed generations of mice. These animals had neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems similar to the those of the first, directly exposed generation.
“We found that body weight and brain size were significantly reduced in all generations of PrEE animals when compared to controls; all generations of PrEE mice showed increased anxiety-like, depressive-like behaviors and sensory-motor deficits. By demonstrating the strong transgenerational effects of prenatal ethanol exposure in a mouse model of FASD, we suggest that FASD may be a heritable condition in humans,” Huffman said.
The multi-level analyses in this study suggest that alcohol consumption while pregnant leads to a cascade of nervous system changes that ultimately impact behavior, via mechanisms that can produce transgenerational effects. By gaining an understanding of the neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects of prenatal ethanol exposure that persist across generations, scientists and researchers can begin to create novel therapies and methods of prevention.
Media Contact
Mojgan Sherkat
Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat
Additional Contacts
Kelly Huffman
E-mail: kellyhn@ucr.edu

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Kobe University study: Japanese children learn to write through rhythm

6 Jul

Moi wrote about the importance of handwriting in The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum:

Gwendolyn Bounds reported in the WSJ article, How Handwriting Trains the Brain:

Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. During one study at Indiana University published this year, researchers invited children to man a “spaceship,” actually an MRI machine using a specialized scan called “functional” MRI that spots neural activity in the brain. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and ”adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters.
“It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time,” says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study….
Other research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518.html

https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

See, The Importance of Cursive Writing
http://www.enterpriseefficiency.com/author.asp?section_id=1077&doc_id=236382 and The Case for Cursive

Robert Lee Hotz reported in the Wall Street Journal article, Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?

Laptops and organizer apps make pen and paper seem antique, but handwriting appears to focus classroom attention and boost learning in a way that typing notes on a keyboard does not, new studies suggest.
Students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer, researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles found. Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques….
Generally, people who take class notes on a laptop do take more notes and can more easily keep up with the pace of a lecture than people scribbling with a pen or pencil, researchers have found. College students typically type lecture notes at a rate of about 33 words a minute. People trying to write it down manage about 22 words a minute.
In the short run, it pays off. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 found that laptop note-takers tested immediately after a class could recall more of a lecture and performed slightly better than their pen-pushing classmates when tested on facts presented in class. They reported their experiments with 80 students in the Journal of Educational Psychology….
http://www.wsj.com/articles/can-handwriting-make-you-smarter-1459784659

A Kobe University study examines the role of rhythm and learning to write.

Science Daily reported in Japanese children learn to write through rhythm:

How do we learn to write? Associate Professor NONAKA Tetsushi (Kobe University Graduate School of Human Development and Environment) looked at the development of writing skills in Japanese first-grade students learning the hiragana script. By quantifying their pen movements, he revealed the process of learning distinct temporal patterns of movement in such a way to differentiate a set of subtle features of each symbol. These aspects of handwriting development have been largely neglected in research carried out in Latin alphabet communities. The findings were published on June 13 in Developmental Psychobiology.
Previous research based on the Latin alphabet explains the acquisition of writing skills during childhood as a combination of two processes: the acquisition of visual representations and the development of fine motor skills to produce the desired trajectory of the pen. This study looked at the development of movement dynamics of handwriting in 1st graders at the Kobe University Elementary School who learned to write hiragana, a phonetic script used for Japanese. He examined how their movements were influenced by the social norms of the classroom environment in which those 1st graders participated over the first three months of the primary school….
This demonstrates that the process of handwriting development as explained by Latin alphabet-based research — acquiring fine motor skills in hands, plus storing the shapes in the head — cannot fully explain the handwriting skill development process for hiragana script. At least in this particular language community, learning the temporal pattern of movement corresponding to a letter seems highly important, based on which the invariant features of a letter — the traces of the specific temporal pattern of movement — can be discriminated as such. The study also suggests that the process of learning to write by differentiating physical movements may be linked to a phenomenon specific to Chinese character-based cultures known as “air writing,” when people unconsciously move their fingers while trying to recall a certain character. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170630105033.htm

Citation:

Japanese children learn to write through rhythm
Date: June 30,
Source: Kobe University
Summary:
How do we learn to write? A Japanese study looked at the development of writing skills in Japanese first-grade students, and revealed aspects of handwriting development that have been largely neglected in research carried out in Latin alphabet communities.
Journal Reference:
1. Tetsushi Nonaka. Cultural entrainment of motor skill development: Learning to write hiragana in Japanese primary school. Developmental Psychobiology, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/dev.21536

Here is the press release from Kobe University:

Japanese children learn to write through rhythm

June 29, 2017
Graduate School of Human Development and Environment

News

How do we learn to write? Associate Professor NONAKA Tetsushi (Kobe University Graduate School of Human Development and Environment) looked at the development of writing skills in Japanese first-grade students learning the hiragana script. By quantifying their pen movements, he revealed the process of learning distinct temporal patterns of movement in such a way to differentiate a set of subtle features of each symbol. These aspects of handwriting development have been largely neglected in research carried out in Latin alphabet communities. The findings were published on June 13 in Developmental Psychobiology.
Previous research based on the Latin alphabet explains the acquisition of writing skills during childhood as a combination of two processes: the acquisition of visual representations and the development of fine motor skills to produce the desired trajectory of the pen. This study looked at the development of movement dynamics of handwriting in 1st graders at the Kobe University Elementary School who learned to write hiragana, a phonetic script used for Japanese. He examined how their movements were influenced by the social norms of the classroom environment in which those 1st graders participated over the first three months of the primary school.

During the study, the children were repeatedly encouraged to pay attention to the specific requirements for writing each character, including stroke endings, stroke order and rhythm of movement. While he observed individual variation in handwriting development among six students studying in the same classroom, two common trends were quantitatively demonstrated. Firstly, the pen movements became clearly differentiated for each type of stroke ending (stop, sweep or jump). Secondly, a consistent temporal structure of movement gradually emerged for each stroke.
This demonstrates that the process of handwriting development as explained by Latin alphabet-based research – acquiring fine motor skills in hands, plus storing the shapes in the head – cannot fully explain the handwriting skill development process for hiragana script. At least in this particular language community, learning the temporal pattern of movement corresponding to a letter seems highly important, based on which the invariant features of a letter—the traces of the specific temporal pattern of movement—can be discriminated as such. The study also suggests that the process of learning to write by differentiating physical movements may be linked to a phenomenon specific to Chinese character-based cultures known as “air writing”, when people unconsciously move their fingers while trying to recall a certain character.

Journal information
Title
Cultural entrainment of motor skill development: Learning to write hiragana in Japanese primary school
doi:10.1002/dev.21536

Author
Tetsushi Nonaka

Journal
Developmental Psychobiology
Related Information

Graduate School of Human Development and Environment [Figures Omitted]

It is interesting that in Silicon Valley where many of the tech elite live, many of the top managers send their children to an “old school” school. See, The private school in Silicon Valley where tech honchos send their kids so they DON’T use computers http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2052977/The-Silicon-Valley-school-tech-honchos-send-kids-DONT-use-computers.html#ixzz2PjQ8sOfD

Matt Richtell reported in the New York Times article, A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute:

Three-quarters of the students here have parents with a strong high-tech connection. Mr. Eagle, like other parents, sees no contradiction. Technology, he says, has its time and place: “If I worked at Miramax and made good, artsy, rated R movies, I wouldn’t want my kids to see them until they were 17.”
While other schools in the region brag about their wired classrooms, the Waldorf school embraces a simple, retro look — blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?pagewanted=all

There is quite a lot that researchers need to explore about how technology affects the mind and body connection as well as how technology affects interpersonal relationships.

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Virginia Tech study: Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

18 Jun

Moi wrote in Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.
DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.
Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.
Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.
The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”
PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:
Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php:

A Virginia Tech study involving mice is confirming this study.

Science Daily reported in Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds:

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170617073635.htm

Citation:

ommon household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds
Date: June 17, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
A connection between common household chemicals and birth defects has been uncovered by new research.

Journal Reference:
1. Terry C. Hrubec, Vanessa E. Melin, Caroline S. Shea, Elizabeth E. Ferguson, Craig Garofola, Claire M. Repine, Tyler W. Chapman, Hiral R. Patel, Reza M. Razvi, Jesse E. Sugrue, Haritha Potineni, Geraldine Magnin-Bissel, Patricia A. Hunt. Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Birth Defects Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1064

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Public Release: 16-Jun-2017
Research finds common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added.
An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females. The research raises the possibility of quats contributing to human infertility, which has been on the rise in recent decades.
“We are asked all of the time, ‘You see your results in mice. How do you know that it’s toxic in humans?'” Hrubec said. “Our research on mice and rats shows that these chemicals affect the embryonic development of these animals. Since rodent research is the gold standard in the biomedical sciences, this raises a big red flag that these chemicals may be toxic to humans as well.”
Quaternary ammonium compounds were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s before the standardization of toxicity studies. Chemical manufacturers conducted some toxicity studies on the compounds during this period, but they were never published. Today, the chemicals are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hrubec noted that an epidemiological study could determine whether people who have a high rate of exposure, such as healthcare workers or restaurant servers, have a more difficult time becoming pregnant or have a greater likelihood of having children with neural tube birth defects, but no such study has been conducted to date.
###
In addition to VCOM and the veterinary college, the study received funding from the Passport Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that sponsors research on product safety.
The paper, “Ambient and Dosed Exposure to Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Causes Neural Tube Defects in Rodents,” was published in the June 15 issue of Birth Defects Research and is available online.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:
The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Rice University study: Factors that lead to greater college success

30 May

Moi has written quite a bit about motivation in education. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. https://drwilda.com/tag/student-achievement/

Science Daily reported in Factors that lead to greater college success:

Educational attainment is a national priority because it creates both economic and personal gains: higher incomes, better individual and family health and deeper civic engagement. U.S. college enrollments are increasing, suggesting greater educational attainment; however, national college completion rates are lagging behind other developed nations. Recent research suggests that U.S. college students could succeed if they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, a growth mindset and salient personal goals and values, according to a new national report co-authored by a Rice University psychology professor….https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170530115102.htm

Citation:

Factors that lead to greater college success
Date: May 30, 2017
Source: Rice University
Summary:
Researchers identify three competencies most frequently showed evidence of supporting students’ college persistence and success, as measured by grades, retention and graduation: A sense of belonging, a growth mindset and personal goals and values.

Here is the press release from Rice University:

Study identifies factors that lead to greater college success
Amy McCaig
– May 30, 2017Posted in: Current News
Educational attainment is a national priority because it creates both economic and personal gains: higher incomes, better individual and family health and deeper civic engagement. U.S. college enrollments are increasing, suggesting greater educational attainment; however, national college completion rates are lagging behind other developed nations. Recent research suggests that U.S. college students could succeed if they are encouraged to develop a sense of belonging, a growth mindset and salient personal goals and values, according to a new national report co-authored by a Rice University psychology professor.
Across these studies, three competencies most frequently showed evidence of supporting students’ college persistence and success, as measured by grades, retention and graduation:
• A sense of belonging, meaning that college students (particularly underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students) feel that they belong in college, fit in well and are socially integrated. Approximately 85 percent of the studies measuring students’ sense of belonging demonstrated a positive impact of belonging on students’ college GPAs.
• A growth mindset, referring to college students’ beliefs that their own intelligence is not a fixed entity, but rather a malleable quality that college can help improve. Seventy-five percent of the studies measuring students’ growth mindset showed this characteristic had a positive impact on students’ college GPAs.
• Personal goals and values that college students perceive to be directly linked to the achievement of a future, desired end. Approximately 83 percent of the studies measuring personal goals showed this characteristic as having a positive impact on students’ final course grades.
Oswald noted that this recent research reported some remarkable findings based on low-cost, brief writing exercises for improving these intra- and interpersonal competencies. One required students to write about the relevance of course topics to their own life or to the life of a family member or close friend. Another intervention aimed to lessen psychological perceptions of threat on campus by framing social adversity as common and transient, and used subtle attitude-change strategies to lead participants to self-generate the framing in their writing.
With these interventions, GPAs have been shown impressively to improve not only in the class where the intervention was given, but many semesters beyond, Oswald said. Furthermore, the interventions show the largest benefits accrue in student groups that are at greatest risk for academic failure. Oswald thus noted that these interventions have promise but deserve further intensive research to assure these interventions can impact student success in the future, in other college settings.
Oswald said measures of intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies should be held to rigorous development procedures and statistical standards, just like the SAT, ACT, MCAT, LSAT and other standardized tests of cognitive competencies.
“Many current assessments of these competencies fall short in providing solid statistical evidence supporting their reliability and validity,” Oswald said. “It is important to investigate these measures carefully, for example, because students can differ in how they interpret the meaning of rating scales, or sometimes they feel pressured to present themselves in the best light.”
He and his co-authors recommend further research in partnership with higher education institutions to build on the report’s findings and to find reliable ways to track these intra- and interpersonal characteristics that can lead to increased college completion.
The report was funded by the National Science Foundation and is available online at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/24697/supporting-students-college-success-the-role-of-assessment-of-intrapersonal. The study was sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
– See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2017/05/30/study-identifies-factors-that-lead-to-greater-college-success/#sthash.T0hY0O6N.dpuf

Moi wrote about “success cultures in HARD QUESTION: Do Black folk REALLY want to succeed in America?

All moi can say is really. One has a Constitutional right to be a MORON. One must ask what are these parents thinking and where do they want their children to go in THIS society and not some mythical Africa which most will never see and which probably does not exist. Remember, their children must live in THIS society, at THIS time and in THIS place.

Moi wrote in Black people MUST develop a culture of success: Michigan State revokes a football scholarship because of raunchy rap video:

The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture.
See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts and Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink? https://drwilda.com/2013/05/01/hip-hop-and-rap-represent-destructive-life-choices-how-low-can-this-genre-sink/
One person does not speak for a group, but members of a group can often provide useful insight about the group.

Here is Arthur Hu’s take on INTRODUCTION TO BASIC ASIAN VALUES:

One of the most central features of a culture are its values. Values are the standards by which one may judge the difference between good and bad, and the right and wrong things to do. Though some values are universally shared among all cultures, it is the contrast and differences in values of different cultures that can account for the interactions and perceptions that occur between different cultures.
Traditional values are a common thread among individuals in a culture. Stereotyping comes about because of common behavior patterns that are based on common values, and distortion and misperception can come about as a result of misunderstandings of those values. Stereotyping can also be dangerous because people are individuals with their own values which may vary a great deal from the traditional ideal. Values can vary quite a bit depending upon one’s generation, class, education, origin, among other factors. For example, there is considerable difference in what might be called “traditional” and “modern” American values.
Although each distinct Asian culture actually has its own set of values, they all share a common core, which is probably best documented in the Japanese and Chinese traditions, and by philosophers such as Confucius, whose writings had considerable influence throughout Asia. In the Asian American experience, these values interact with what might be called simply “western” or “Caucasian” values, but if one contrasts the values of America with those of Europe, it can be seen that these are really “Modern American” values that provide the best contrasts.
Asian values are very much inter-related. They all support the view of the individual as being a part of a much larger group or family, and place great importance on the well-being of the group, even at the expense of the individual. American values, on the other hand emphasize the importance of the well-being of the individual, and stresses independence and individual initiative. Although it may seem that values such as education, family, and hard work are shared between cultures, these values manifest themselves quite differently in the two cultures.
Some Asian values are so important that some of the cultures, especially the Japanese have given them names of their own, and are used commonly. Here is a list of some of the most outstanding values:
Ie (japanese) – The family as a basic unit of social organization, and as a pattern for the structure of society as a whole.
Education – The whole process of child rearing and education as a means of perpetuating society, and of attaining position within society.
Enyo (japanese) – The conscious use of silence, reserve in manner.
Han (chinese) Conformity, and the suppression of individual attriputes such as talen, anger, or wealth which might disrupt group harmony. (Chinese)
Amae (japanese) – To depend and presume upon the benevolence of others. A deep bonding in human relationships between one who is responsible for another, and one who must depend on another.
Giri (japanese) – Indebtedness, obligation and duty to others, reciprocity.
Gaman (japanese) – Endurance, sticking it out at all costs. Self-sacrifice for the sake of others.
Tui Lien (chinese) – Loss face, shame. The final standard as to how well one lives up to these values.
Family and Education
Probaly the most notable aspect of the modern “Asian Model Minority”¬stereotype is that of the academic overachiever. A number of asian students have done conspicuously well in terms of test scores, gifted student programs, admissions to prestigious schools, academic awards, and in classical music. Though obviously not all Asians fit this pattern, this trend can be attributed primarily to the basic notion of the family, and the central role that education plays in the family.
Great importance is placed on child rearing, and education is a funda¬mental aspect of this. Asian parents are more likely to spend much more time with their children, and drive them harder, sometimes even at the expense of their personal time and ambitions of the parents themselves. Though Americans might consider Asian parents to be dominating, parents in turn are expected to give children all the support they can.
While it would no be unusual for an American parent to hire a babysitter to watch the kids while they go out, or expect their children to put them¬selves through college lest the parents sacrifice their own stand of living, this is much less likely in an Asian family. Living in an extended family is not unusual, and filial piety, respect for parents is a very important principle.
Unlike the youth orientation in American culture, age and position are most highly respected. The Asian family has within it a heirarchy which is a mirror of the structure of society as whole. For example, the parent child relationship is carried further on to ruler and ruled, employer and employee. Education is the most valued way of achieving position, an success in education is viewed as an act of filial piety. In imperial times, examinations were the only way to achieve position in China. Even in America, education is seen as a key to social mobility, and economic opportunity. Education for their children was a major reason why many immigrants came to America from Asia. http://www.asianweek.com/2012/04/28/introduction-to-basic-asian-values/

There is no such thing as a “model minority” and getting rid of this myth will allow educators to focus on the needs of the individual student. Still, the choice of many parents to allow their children to make choices which may impact their success should have folk asking the question of what values are being transmitted and absorbed by Black children.

Resources:

Culture of Success
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/culture-success

How Do Asian Students Get to the Top of the Class? http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/teaching-values/481-parenting-students-to-the-top.gs

Related:

Is there a model minority?
https://drwilda.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

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Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary study: Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs

14 May

Kathleen Doheny wrote the WebMD article, What You Should Know About ‘Superbug’ CRE:

Feb. 20, 2015 — The ”superbug” infection at the heart of an outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is sometimes called “the nightmare bacteria” because it’s so resistant to antibiotics.
Two deaths at the California medical center are linked to the bacteria, known as CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Five other patients are infected and nearly 200 may have been exposed, the center says. Exposure stemmed from two contaminated instruments used during procedures done over the past few months at the facility…
What is CRE and how does it spread?
CRE is in a family of bacteria that are normally found in the gut and have become resistant to antibiotics. They are resistant to most of the available antibiotics, says Stephen Calderwood, MD. He’s the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and chief of the infectious disease division at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
The devices linked with the UCLA outbreak, known as duodenoscopes, are used in more than 500,000 procedures a year in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The scope is inserted into the mouth and through the throat, stomach, and the top of the small intestine. It helps doctors diagnose and treat diseases of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. The FDA warned that the scopes might still carry a risk of infection even after proper cleaning procedures.
The problems can start when the bacteria leave the intestine and live in other areas, such as the urinary tract, lungs, skin, and on medical equipment, Calderwood says. “They mainly cause infections when they get to a certain number and the ability of the body to fight off infection breaks down.”
Who is most at risk?
“Most healthy people don’t get these infections,” says Robert Glatter, MD. He’s an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. “It’s the people living in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or who have long hospital stays.”
Those who get infected often have other diseases, are on antibiotics, and have had a procedure involving a medical device, Calderwood says…. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20150220/superbug-cre-infections#1

Resources:

What is a Superbug? http://www.livescience.com/32370-what-is-a-superbug.html

Medical Definition of Superbug http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38448

Superbug: What it is, how it spreads, what you can do http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cre-outbreak-carbapenem-resistant-enterobacteriaceae-20150218-story.html

Science Daily reported in Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs:

Leading hospital “superbugs,” known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published online today in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a leading public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions for this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee M. Earl, Ph.D., group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since, including the sea. Animals first arose in the sea during the time known as the Cambrian Explosion, 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment, and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they took their microbes with them.
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, were naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparison of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this was indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared. This includes when new types of animals arose right after they first crawled onto land, and when new types of animals arose right after mass extinctions, especially the greatest mass extinction, the End Permian Extinction (251 million years ago)…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170511142012.htm

Citation:

Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs
Survival of mass extinctions helps to explain near indestructible properties of hospital superbugs
Date: May 11, 2017
Source: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Summary:
Leading hospital ‘superbugs,’ known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years — about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study.
Journal Reference:
1. François Lebreton, Abigail L. Manson, Jose T. Saavedra, Timothy J. Straub, Ashlee M. Earl, Michael S. Gilmore. Tracing the Enterococci from Paleozoic Origins to the Hospital. Cell, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.027

Here is the press release from Massachusetts Eye and Ear:
The Prehistory of Antibiotic Resistance
Hospital “superbugs” evolved from an ancient ancestor

An artist’s rendering of what life may have looked 335 million years ago, well before the age of By Suzanne Day May 12, 2017
Leading hospital “superbugs” known as the enterococci arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years—about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the Harvard-wide Program on Antibiotic Resistance and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Published in Cell, the study authors shed light on the evolutionary history of these pathogens, which evolved nearly indestructible properties and have become leading causes of modern antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals.
Antibiotic resistance is now a major public health concern worldwide. Some microbes, often referred to as “superbugs,” are resistant to virtually all antibiotics. This is of special concern in hospitals, where about 5 percent of hospitalized patients will fight infections that arise during their stay. As researchers around the world are urgently seeking solutions to this problem, insight into the origin and evolution of antibiotic resistance will help inform their search.
“By analyzing the genomes and behaviors of today’s enterococci, we were able to rewind the clock back to their earliest existence and piece together a picture of how these organisms were shaped into what they are today” said co-corresponding author Ashlee Earl, group leader for the Bacterial Genomics Group at the Broad. “Understanding how the environment in which microbes live leads to new properties could help us to predict how microbes will adapt to the use of antibiotics, antimicrobial hand soaps, disinfectants and other products intended to control their spread.”
The picture the researchers pieced together begins with the dawn of life. Bacteria arose nearly 4 billion years ago, and the planet has teemed with them ever since. Animals first arose in the sea during the period known as the Cambrian Explosion, around 542 million years ago. As animals emerged in a sea of bacteria, the bacteria learned to live in and on them. Some bacteria protect and serve the animals, as the healthy microbes in our intestines do today; others live in the environment and still others cause disease. As animals crawled onto land about 100 million years later, they brought their microbes with them.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out.” —Michael Gilmore
The authors of the Cell study found that all species of enterococci, including those that have never been found in hospitals, are naturally resistant to dryness, starvation, disinfectants and many antibiotics. Because enterococci normally live in the intestines of most (if not all) land animals, it seemed likely that they were also in the intestines of land animals that are now extinct, including dinosaurs and the first millipede-like organisms to crawl onto land. Comparisons of the genomes of these bacteria provided evidence that this is indeed the case. In fact, the research team found that new species of enterococci appeared whenever new types of animals appeared.
Sea animals excrete intestinal microbes into the ocean, which usually contains about 5,000 mostly harmless bacteria per drop of water. These organisms sink to the seafloor into microbe-rich sediments and are consumed by worms, shellfish and other sea scavengers. Those are then eaten by fish, and the microbes continue to circulate throughout the food chain. However, on land, intestinal microbes are excreted in feces, where most dry out and die over time.
Not the enterococci, however. These microbes are unusually hardy and can withstand drying out and starvation, which serves them well on land and in hospitals where disinfectants make survival difficult for a microbe.
“We now know what genes were gained by enterococci hundreds of millions of years ago, when they became resistant to drying out, and to disinfectants and antibiotics that attack their cell walls,” said principal investigator and co-corresponding author Michael Gilmore, the HMS Sir William Osler Professor of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and director of the Harvard Infectious Disease Institute.
“These are now targets for our research to design new types of antibiotics and disinfectants that specifically eliminate enterococci, to remove them as threats to hospitalized patients,” added Francois Lebreton, HMS instructor in ophthalmology, first author of the study and project leader for the Gilmore team.
This research study was supported by Department of Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (grants AI072360, AI083214, HHSN272200900018C and U19AI110818).
Adapted from a Mass. Eye and Ear news release. http://www.masseyeandear.org/news/press-releases/2017/05/antibiotic-resistant-microbes-date-back
https://hms.harvard.edu/news/prehistory-antibiotic-resistance

Appropriate use of antibiotics is crucial in limiting the danger of superbugs.

National Institutes of Health in the News reported in the 2014 article, Stop the Spread of Superbugs: Help Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria:

Unfortunately, many antibiotics prescribed to people and to animals are unnecessary. And the overuse and misuse of antibiotics helps to create drug-resistant bacteria.
Here’s how that might happen. When used properly, antibiotics can help destroy disease-causing bacteria. But if you take an antibiotic when you have a viral infection like the flu, the drug won’t affect the viruses making you sick. Instead, it’ll destroy a wide variety of bacteria in your body, including some of the “good” bacteria that help you digest food, fight infection, and stay healthy. Bacteria that are tough enough to survive the drug will have a chance to grow and quickly multiply. These drug-resistant strains may even spread to other people.
Over time, if more and more people take antibiotics when not necessary, drug-resistant bacteria can continue to thrive and spread. They may even share their drug-resistant traits with other bacteria. Drugs may become less effective or not work at all against certain disease-causing bacteria.
“Bacterial infections that were treatable for decades are no longer responding to antibiotics, even the newer ones,” says Dr. Dennis Dixon, an NIH expert in bacterial and fungal diseases. Scientists have been trying to keep ahead of newly emerging drug-resistant bacteria by developing new drugs, but it’s a tough task.
“We need to make the best use of the drugs we have, as there aren’t many in the antibiotic development pipeline,” says Dr. Jane Knisely, who oversees studies of drug-resistant bacteria at NIH. “It’s important to understand the best way to use these drugs to increase their effectiveness and decrease the chances of resistance to emerge.”
You can help slow the spread of drug-resistant bacteria by taking antibiotics properly and only when needed. Don’t insist on an antibiotic if your health care provider advises otherwise. For example, many parents expect doctors to prescribe antibiotics for a child’s ear infection. But experts recommend delaying for a time in certain situations, as many ear infections get better without antibiotics.
NIH researchers have been looking at whether antibiotics are effective for treating certain conditions in the first place. One recent study showed that antibiotics may be less effective than previously thought for treating a common type of sinus infection. This kind of research can help prevent the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.
“Treating infections with antibiotics is something we want to preserve for generations to come, so we shouldn’t misuse them,” says Dr. Julie Segre, a senior investigator at NIH.
In the past, some of the most dangerous superbugs have been confined to health care settings. That’s because people who are sick or in a weakened state are more susceptible to picking up infections. But superbug infections aren’t limited to hospitals. Some strains are out in the community and anyone, even healthy people, can become infected.
One common superbug increasingly seen outside hospitals is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These bacteria don’t respond to methicillin and related antibiotics. MRSA can cause skin infections and, in more serious cases, pneumonia or bloodstream infections.
A MRSA skin infection can appear as one or more pimples or boils that are swollen, painful, or hot to the touch. The infection can spread through even a tiny cut or scrape that comes into contact with these bacteria. Many people recover from MRSA infections, but some cases can be life-threatening. The CDC estimates that more than 80,000 aggressive MRSA infections and 11,000 related deaths occur each year in the United States.
When antibiotics are needed, doctors usually prescribe a mild one before trying something more aggressive like vancomycin. Such newer antibiotics can be more toxic and more expensive than older ones. Eventually, bacteria will develop resistance to even the new drugs. In recent years, some superbugs, such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococci bacteria, remain unaffected by even this antibiotic of last resort.
“We rely on antibiotics to deliver modern health care,” Segre says. But with the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, “we’re running out of new antibiotics to treat bacterial infections,” and some of the more potent ones aren’t working as well…. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/feb2014/feature1

Like opioids, antibiotics must be carefully prescribed by a competent medical professional who is careful not to overprescribe.

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Queens University Belfast study: New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods

7 May

The U.S. has a child obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Child Obesity facts:

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2
In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

Moi discussed child nutrition in Dr. Wilda Reviews book: Super Baby Foods https://drwilda.com/tag/baby-food/

Science Daily reported in New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods:

In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504161538.htm

Citation:

New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods
Date: May 4, 2017
Source: Queen’s University Belfast
Summary:
Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, new research concludes.
Journal Reference:
1. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, Jayne V. Woodside, Paul McMullan, Karen Mullan, Manus Carey, Margaret R. Karagas, Andrew A. Meharg. Levels of infants’ urinary arsenic metabolites related to formula feeding and weaning with rice products exceeding the EU inorganic arsenic standard. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (5): e0176923 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176923

Here is the press release from Queens University:

Queen’s Research Shows Illegal Levels of Arsenic Found in Baby Foods
4/05/2017

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have found that almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU
In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic.
In this new study, researchers at Queen’s also compared baby food products containing rice before and after the law was passed and discovered that higher levels of arsenic were in fact found in the products since the new regulations were implemented. Nearly 75 per cent of the rice-based products specifically marketed for infants and young children contained more than the standard level of arsenic stipulated by the EU law.
Rice and rice-based products are a popular choice for parents, widely used during weaning, and to feed young children, due to its availability, nutritional value and relatively low allergic potential.
Professor Meharg explained: “Products such as rice-cakes and rice cereals are common in babies’ diets. This study found that almost three-quarters of baby crackers, specifically marketed for children exceeded the maximum amount of arsenic.”
Previous research led by Professor Meharg highlighted how a simple process of percolating rice could remove up to 85 per cent of arsenic. Professor Meharg adds: “Simple measures can be taken to dramatically reduce the arsenic in these products so there is no excuse for manufacturers to be selling baby food products with such harmful levels of this carcinogenic substance.
“Manufacturers should be held accountable for selling products that are not meeting the required EU standard. Companies should publish the levels of arsenic in their products to prevent those with illegal amounts from being sold. This will enable consumers to make an informed decision, aware of any risks associated before consuming products containing arsenic.”
Find out more about the ground-breaking research taking place at the The Institute for Global Food Security.
Media inquiries to Suzanne Lagan, Communications Office at Queen’s University Belfast on Tel: 028 90 97 5292 or email suzanne.lagan@qub.ac.uk

Parents may wish to consider making their own baby food.

WebMD offers advice on preparing baby food in Starter Guide to Baby Food & Nutrition http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-food-nutrition-9/making-baby-food?page=3

Parenting offers the following advice in 10 Best Ways to Feed Your Baby:

Here are 10 strategies that, from that first spoonful of solids, will help you to raise a child who will learn to eat—and love—everything.

1 Time those first bites right “The best time to feed your baby solids for the first time is when he’s feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—in the morning or right after a nap,” says Karen Ansel R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in Long Island, New York, and co-author of the upcoming book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start….
2 Bombard her with variety After your baby has gotten used to the act of eating, introduce new foods rapidly, suggests Dr. Greene. Be creative….
3 Try, try again The carrots were a bust—so try again in a couple of days. Repeat as necessary. Studies say about three out of four moms throw in the towel after their baby refuses a new food five or fewer times. The problem is, research shows it can take up to 15 tries before a child will accept a new food….
4 Spice things up “There’s no research that says we have to give babies a bland diet,” says Jeannette Bessinger, co-founder of realfoodmoms.com and author of Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler. “Once they’re enjoying a food plain, introduce it with mild herbs and spices.” Blend cilantro into avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes, cinnamon into apples, suggests Tracy…..
5 Help him connect to food Hand your baby an avocado and say “avocado.” If learning and using any signs with your baby, also make the sign for it. “Naming foods—and signing them—helps kids recognize those foods really early on,” says Dr. Greene….
6 Keep her close in the kitchen If you’ve ever felt guilty for parking your baby in an exersaucer while you made dinner, hear this: It may make her a better eater. She sees your relationship with food; she smells the garlic roasting, the soup simmering, which helps build that familiarity with foods. Get your child involved in cooking early…..
7 Sit down together Bringing your baby to the dinner table allows him to see you enjoying food. Plus, research links regular family meals with a slew of benefits for kids, including higher self-esteem and better academic performance. If eating together Monday through Friday is impossible, do it on the weekends…..
8 Be a supermodel Research shows clearly that when it comes to encouraging your child to eat something, it’s what you do—not what you say—that matters. So what if you are a picky eater? Don’t call attention to it, advises Ansel….
9 Make meals enticing When you’re dealing with a “discriminating” toddler, it’s tempting to push her to eat some broccoli or even to bribe her with dessert. Instead, encourage her to eat things by making them look delicious—and fun. Serve foods in colorful bowls. Offer dips—try hummus, yogurt and cottage cheese. Make faces on pancakes and sandwiches with cut-up fruits and vegetables….
10 Relax So what if your neighbor’s toddler eats sushi? This is not a competition. “All kids are different, and that includes their taste preferences,” notes Johnson….
Superfoods to make part of your menu:

One of the main reasons we want our kids to love eating everything is that a varied diet delivers a range of healthful nutrients. Here are three nutritious foods your kid should eat—but might be resistant to trying—and delicious serving suggestions from chef Geoff Tracy, co-author of Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler.

Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for babies’ growing brains….
Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron, an important nutrient for infants and toddlers….
Green vegetables deliver a variety of nutrients, including beta carotene (important for a healthy immune system) and folate (a B vitamin that supports the healthy growth of new cells)….
http://www.parenting.com/article/best-ways-to-feed-baby

Many hospitals offer free or low-cost parenting classes. Love-to-know offers this advice in Parenting Classes in My Area:

How to Find Parenting Classes in Your Area
The approach you take to finding nearby courses may be dictated somewhat by the area in which you live; the denser the population, the more classes will be available.
Hospital Outreach Programs
Many hospitals cultivate partnerships with the community by offering a variety of outreach and educational programs. Parenting classes are sometimes offered. Many of these courses focus on how to parent newborns and how to help children adjust to a new baby in the home. In addition, parenting classes that are held at hospitals often include CPR classes and other first aid instruction. For more information, or to find out if the hospital or hospitals in your area offer any type of parenting class, contact the hospital and keep an eye on your local newspaper. Hospitals typically promote outreach and educational programs in the newspapers and online; check the hospital’s website as well.
Doctor’s Advice
In many cases, pediatricians and family physicians are quite knowledgeable regarding family programs in the area. Contact your doctor and your child’s pediatrician to find out if any classes or programs currently exist. In addition, sometimes several doctors who run a practice together may promote community seminars that focus on a variety of topics, including family related subjects.
Health Departments
People often overlook the wide variety of resources available at their local health departments. From free and reduced-fee vaccinations to physical exams and educational seminars, the health department’s goal is to serve the public. Contact your local health department to find out if it offers any parenting classes. In addition, ask to be placed on the health department’s mailing list, if available, to learn about all of the programs that offered throughout the year.
YMCA and Other Health Clubs
The YMCA, as well as other health clubs in the area, is often an excellent source for family activities. While these classes will probably charge a fee, there may be financial help available for those who can’t afford to pay but are in need of a parenting class in the area.
School Guidance Programs
Many schools reach out to the community through a variety of programs, including free parenting classes. These classes are typically led by local psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers. Contact your local school system’s central office for more information.
PTA, PTO, and Other Organizations
In addition to parenting programs that are promoted by a local school system, parent-teacher organizations, like a PTA or PTO, as well as other civic organizations in the area may offer parenting classes. These will typically be well advertised through the newspaper, radio stations, local marquees, and online, but if you still aren’t sure, contact your local school or chamber of commerce for more information.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/child-behavior-development-parenting/parenting-classes-my-area

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child living in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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