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Can urban greenspace have an effect on children’s behaviour?

The Guardian – Justine Larson

“A creative study in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry examined levels of aggression in 1,287 twins and triplets in Southern California born between the years of 1990 and 1995. The authors used satellite imagery to find an aggregate measure of vegetation called the Normalised Differential Vegetation Index (NVDI) surrounding the home. The study found that both in the short term (6-months to 1-year) and the long term (1 to 3 years), having greenspace within 1000 meters was associated with reduced aggressive behaviours in this group of 9 to 18 year olds. Even when authors controlled for things like socioeconomic factors, age, gender, race, self-rated neighbourhood quality, maternal depression, traffic density, and even ambient temperatures, the difference in aggressive behaviours remained. In the sample studied, boys, people with lower perceived neighbourhood quality, children born to mothers who smoked, and those with lower socioeconomic status were more likely to be aggressive.”(more)

Video Games Teach Kids To Smoke Tobacco, Drink Alcohol, Study Says

Medical Daily – Elana Glowatz

“Popular video games might make young people more likely to smoke or drink, a new study has asserted. Many of the bestselling games contain explicit use of alcohol or tobacco, implied use, or paraphernalia, and in a paper in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, U.K. researchers suggest that young people “who play these video games are more likely to have experimented with tobacco and alcohol.” The authors compared this influence to that of films, noting that exposure to alcohol- and tobacco-related content in movies makes adolescents more inclined to try the drugs themselves. However, “tobacco and alcohol content is highly prevalent in a range of other popular media, and the interactive nature of video games provides multiple opportunities to promote products and behaviors.” The team from the University of Nottingham looked at a few dozen of the bestselling video games in the U.K. in 2012 and 2013 that had avatars that look and behave like actual people, and took surveys of more than 1,000 kids between 11 and 17 years old that involved self-reported substance abuse.”(more)

Cold vs. Flu Symptoms 2016: How To Tell The Difference Between The Two

Medical Daily – Seerat Chabba

“While both are respiratory illnesses, the flu and the common cold differ in the matter of severity — both caused by different viruses. It is difficult to differentiate between the two as the symptoms can be very similar in most cases. However, the intensity of the symptoms differs in both cases, with the flu being much worse than the common cold — which is usually milder. A runny or stuffy nose is more closely associated with the colds and do not usually end in more serious health problems. Bacterial infections or hospitalizations with the common cold are rare but the flu can have very serious complications associated with it.”(more)

Sparking Curiosity In STEM, In And Outside The Classroom

The Huffington Post – Matthew Randazzo

“On a recent trip to St. Louis Public Schools, I had the opportunity to spend time with a group of students who were either rising seniors or matriculating college freshman. Many of these kids are students of color or the first in their family to attend college. One particular conversation with a young woman stands out. She shared the story of when and why she first decided to pursue a career in STEM. She told me that as an eighth grader, she wasn’t sure which path she hoped to pursue as an adult, until she attended an after-school program for girls interested in STEM, hosted by Washington University in St. Louis. It was that experience, she acknowledged, that encouraged her to opt for the more difficult AP classes in school and to take risks she might not have otherwise taken.”(more)

Many kids not ready for kindergarten

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Many children are still learning to control their behavior as they enter kindergarten and may need educational support to develop that critical skill, indicates one of the most conclusive studies to date of early childhood self-regulation. The federally funded study, co-authored by Michigan State University scholars, shows major differences in how self-regulation develops in children ages 3 to 7. While some enter preschool more able to control their behavior and ready to learn, others don’t develop such self-control until they get to kindergarten — or even later.”(more)

How The Barber, And Other Caring Adults, Help Kids Succeed

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“We published a story about Griffin and the shop two weeks ago and ever since they have been overwhelmed with praise, donations and requests for interviews from all over the country … and the world. That left of us wondering why exactly this story went viral. Maybe it’s because Griffin’s sentiment, about helping kids succeed, resonates with a lot of us. Take this recently released first-of-its-kind study that found for every one percent increase in the adult-to-youth ratio in a given community, there was a one percent decrease in the rate of young people dropping out before graduating high school. In other words, simply having more grownups around helped kids to stay on track.”(more)