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Boys more likely to hide a concussion than girls

Medical X-Press – Maureen Salamon

“When it comes to reporting a sports-related concussion, high school boys are less likely to speak up than high school girls, new research reveals. The findings, derived from surveying nearly 300 young Michigan athletes, highlight a “show-no-weakness” mentality that experts say needs to change to protect brain health. “Males are more worried about what their peers or coaches would think of them if they reported [their concussion],” said study author Jessica Wallace. She’s director of the master of athletic training program at Youngstown State University in Ohio.”(more)

Storytime a ‘turbocharger’ for a child’s brain

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“While reading to children has many benefits, simply speaking the words aloud may not be enough to improve cognitive development in preschoolers. A new international study, published in the journal PLOS ONE and led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, shows that engaging with children while reading books to them gives their brain a cognitive “boost.” Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) found significantly greater brain activation in 4-year-old children who were more highly engaged during story listening, suggesting a novel improvement mechanism of engagement and understanding. The study reinforces the value of “dialogic reading,” where the child is encouraged to actively participate.”(more)

Why Executive Function Skills Take So Long To Fully Develop

KQED News Mind/Shift – Jon Hamilton

“Impulsive children become thoughtful adults only after years of improvements to the brain’s information highways, a team reports in Current Biology. A study of nearly 900 young people ages 8 to 22 found that the ability to control impulses, stay on task and make good decisions increased steadily over that span as the brain remodeled its information pathways to become more efficient. The finding helps explain why these abilities, known collectively as executive function, take so long to develop fully, says Danielle Bassett, an author of the study and an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.”(more)

You Still Need Your Brain

The New York Times – DANIEL T. WILLINGHAM

“Most adults recall memorizing the names of rivers or the Pythagorean theorem in school and wondering, “When am I ever gonna use this stuff?” Kids today have a high-profile spokesman. Jonathan Rochelle, the director of Google’s education apps group, said last year at an industry conference that he “cannot answer” why his children should learn the quadratic equation. He wonders why they cannot “ask Google.” If Mr. Rochelle cannot answer his children, I can.”(more)

Follow concussion guidelines, but keep children active

The Seattle Times – The Seattle Times Editorial Board

“NEW research on how young athletes should be treated for concussions on and off the field is welcome news for both parents and coaches. But a Seattle doctor who was on the international research panel that created the 2017 Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sports hopes parents won’t use this information as a reason why their children shouldn’t be playing sports. Dr. Stanley Herring, director of the University of Washington Sports Health and Safety Institute, says exercise is essential to a child’s longterm health. The concussion protocols published last month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine are designed to keep athletes as safe as possible and all youth sports programs should adopt them. But parents also need to keep their kids active.”(more)

Understanding science an important gift

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

We are the cusp of modifying, controlling, and creating life. Human to human brain sharing, artificial life forms, and robot swarms are all reality. Even though these technologies are in the early stages of development and are still too expensive and complicated for widespread use, it is not too early to start preparing for the eventual impact these discoveries will have on society.

Unlike earlier scientific advances, these breakthroughs come with a myriad of ethical issues. What kind of security is necessary to protect individuals from having information shared or removed from their brains? What are the safety issues and risks associated with releasing artificial life forms into the environment? Should man be playing God and creating life that does not exist in nature? What happens if robots work together without humans?

Unsettling, certainly. Terrifying, if our children are not able to keep their brains and bodies safe.

There is a delicate balance between the benefits of these new technologies and safety. Used in the right ways, these scientific advances could provide everyone with a much higher quality of life. Used in the wrong ways, these discoveries could lead to the destruction of humankind.

As a result, it is imperative that parents prepare their children to ask good questions and make wise decisions about the use of these new technologies.

First, parents must embrace change. Even though it was not imperative to understand science 30 years ago, it is now. This means science education needs to be a top priority for all children. Science, especially chemistry and physics, requires a strong math background, so kids need high math proficiency as well. Fortunately, there are many free online tools available to supplement what children learn at school including courses and materials available through the Kahn Academy, MIT, and Stanford.

Academic learning alone, however, is not enough. Everyone needs to be aware of the latest technical advances. Many articles about scientific discoveries are now written for a lay people, so it is possible for the general population to stay up to date on the latest innovations.

In addition to encouraging children to read about cutting edge scientific research, it is also important to talk about the potential positives and negatives of these new technologies. As with drugs and alcohol, discussion and awareness helps prepare kids to make wise decisions about how they will allow these technologies to interact with their bodies and lives.