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Neuroscience, brain development and cognitive health

Posted Apr 13 2009 12:00am

Round-up of recent articles on neuroscience, brain development and cognitive health:

Encephalon 68: A carnival of neuroscience:

Chris hosts a great collection of neuroscience and psychology posts in his signature Q&A style.

Bilingual Babies Get Head Start — Before They Can Talk:

- Unlike the monolingual group, the bilingual group was able to successfully learn a new sound type and use it to predict where each character would pop up.

- The bilingual babies’ skill applies to more than just switching between languages. Mehler likened this apparently enhanced cognitive ability to a brain selecting “the right tool for the right operation”—also called executive function.

- In this basic process, the brain, ever flexible, nimbly switches from one learned response to another as situations change.

- Monolingual babies hone this ability later in their young lives, Mehler suggests.”

Study shows how kids’ stress hurts memory:

“Now, research is providing what could be crucial clues to explain how childhood poverty translates into dimmer chances of success: Chronic stress from growing up poor appears to have a direct impact on the brain, leaving children with impairment in at least one key area – working memory.”

Returning troops getting tested for brain injuries:

- “More than 150,000 service members from the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy have undergone the testing that became mandatory last year. Those who suffer a concussion or similar head injury will get a follow-up test.”

Diabetes ‘impact on brain power’:

- “Failure to control type 2 diabetes may have a long-term impact on the brain, research has suggested.

- Lead researcher Dr Jackie Price said: “Either hypos lead to cognitive decline, or cognitive decline makes it more difficult for people to manage their diabetes, which in turn causes more hypos.

- “A third explanation could be that a third unidentified factor is causing both the hypos and the cognitive decline.”

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