Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 24 Sep 2020
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness
Map

Red Flag

Common chemicals pose danger for fetuses, scientists warn

Exposure to toxic materials in the womb can cause health problems later in life, an international panel declares.

In a strongly worded declaration, many of the world's leading environmental scientists warned Thursday that exposure to common chemicals makes babies more likely to develop an array of health problems later in life, including diabetes, attention deficit disorders, prostate cancer, fertility problems, thyroid disorders and even obesity.

Bulb

Babies able to tell through visual cues when speakers switch languages: UBC study

At four months, babies can tell whether a speaker has switched to a different language from visual cues alone, according to a University of British Columbia study.

Researcher Whitney Weikum found that infants are able to discern when a different language is spoken by watching the shapes and rhythm of the speaker's mouth and face movements.

The findings suggest that older infants, raised in a monolingual environment, no longer need this facility. However, babies growing up in a bilingual environment advantageously maintain the discrimination abilities needed for separating and learning multiple languages.

In a paper to be published in the May 25 issue of the journal Science, Weikum explores whether babies use visual speech information to tell the difference between someone speaking their native language(s) and an unfamiliar language. Weikum is a UBC Neuroscience doctoral student working with Canada Research Chair and Psychology Prof. Janet Werker.

The researchers tested three groups of infants - ages four, six and eight months - from monolingual English homes and two groups of infants - ages six and eight months - from bilingual homes. They showed each group silent video clips of three bilingual French-English speakers, who recited sentences first in English or French, and then switched to the other language.

Light Sabers

Stereotype-induced math anxiety undermines girls' ability to perform in other academic areas

A popular stereotype that boys are better at mathematics than girls undermines girls' math performance because it causes worrying that erodes the mental resources needed for problem solving, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

The scholars found that the worrying undermines women's working memory. Working memory is a short-term memory system involved in the control, regulation and active maintenance of limited information needed immediately to deal with problems at hand.

They also showed for the first time that this threat to performance caused by stereotyping can also hinder success in other academic areas because mental abilities do not immediately rebound after being compromised by mathematics anxiety.

"This may mean that if a girl takes a verbal portion of a standardized test after taking the mathematics portion, she may not do as well on the verbal portion as she might do if she had not been recently struggling with math-related worries and anxiety," said Sian Beilock, Assistant Professor in Psychology and lead investigator in the study.

"Likewise, our work suggests that if a girl has a mathematics class first thing in the morning and experiences math-related worries in this class, these worries may carry implications for her performance in the class she attends next," she added.

The results of the study appear in the paper "Stereotype Threat and Working Memory: Mechanisms, Alleviation, and Spill Over," published in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Co-authors are Robert Rydell, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Allen McConnell, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Miami University.

Magic Wand

Essential tones of music rooted in human speech

The use of 12 tone intervals in the music of many human cultures is rooted in the physics of how our vocal anatomy produces speech, according to researchers at the Duke University Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

The particular notes used in music sound right to our ears because of the way our vocal apparatus makes the sounds used in all human languages, said Dale Purves, the George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology.

It's not something one can hear directly, but when the sounds of speech are looked at with a spectrum analyzer, the relationships between the various frequencies that a speaker uses to make vowel sounds correspond neatly with the relationships between notes of the 12-tone chromatic scale of music, Purves said.

The work appeared online May 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Download at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0703140104v1)

Purves and co-authors Deborah Ross and Jonathan Choi tested their idea by recording native English and Mandarin Chinese speakers uttering vowel sounds in both single words and a series of short monologues. They then compared the vocal frequency ratios to the numerical ratios that define notes in music.

Heart

Yoko Ono opens health foundation

A centre named after John Lennon has been opened by his widow Yoko Ono at a children's hospital in his home city.

©InstantKarma.com
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and their baby, Sean

Comment: "And in the end, the Love you take is equal to the Love you make."


Penis Pump

Greed Alert! Lowering the nicotine in cigarettes would increase profits

Philllip Morris would be very happy if the FDA controlled nicotine in cigarettes.

Comment:

©Ottawa Citation




Wine

Zero - the new alcohol limit in pregnancy

Women who are pregnant or trying for a baby should stop drinking alcohol altogether, the Government's leading doctors give warning today.

The new advice radically revises existing guidelines, which say that women can drink up to two units once or twice a week. Fiona Adshead, the deputy chief medical officer, said that the change was meant to send "a strong signal" to the thousands of women who drank more than the recommended limit that they were putting their babies at risk. But she admitted that it was not in response to any new medical evidence.

Women are often confused about what drinking in moderation really means, the new guidelines say, and surveys suggest that many accidently or deliberately exceed the limit. "Our advice is simple: avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive," Dr Adshead said. "We have strengthened our advice to women to help ensure that no one underestimates the risk to the foetus."

Health

TV linked with poor diabetes control

Diabetic children who spent the most time glued to the TV had a tougher time controlling their blood sugar, according to a Norwegian study that illustrates yet another downside of too much television.

Attention

Anti-abortion bill becomes law in Oklahoma

A bill prohibiting public funds from being used for most abortions has become law in Oklahoma after a deadline passed for the state's governor to veto the measure.

"If the governor doesn't act, it becomes law," said his spokesman, Phil Bacharach. Gov. Brad Henry had until midnight on Wednesday night to veto the bill.

Henry, a Democrat, vetoed a previous bill that contained no exceptions for publicly funded abortions even in cases of rape or incest. The new version allows such an exception if the victim reports the crime to the police.

It easily passed the Republican-controlled House and got through the evenly divided state Senate with several votes from Democratic lawmakers.

Coffee

Coffee may cut risk of gout, study finds

If men ever needed a reason to justify that extra cup of coffee, here it is: four or more cups of coffee a day appear to reduce the risk of gout, Canadian researchers said on Friday.

Gout is a painful joint disorder caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. It affects about 6 million people in the United States, and tends to be a bigger problem for men than women.