Mapping Language in the Brain

[Source:  Science Daily]


The exchange of words, speaking and listening in conversation, may seem unremarkable for most people, but communicating with others is a challenge for people who have aphasia, an impairment of language that often happens after stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia affects about 1 in 250 people, making it more common than Parkinson’s Disease or cerebral palsy, and can make it difficult to return to work and to maintain social relationships. A new study published in the journal Nature Communications provides a detailed brain map of language impairments in aphasia following stroke.

“By studying language in people with aphasia, we can try to accomplish two goals at once: we can improve our clinical understanding of aphasia and get new insights into how language is organized in the mind and brain,” said Daniel Mirman, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Arts and Sciences who was lead author of the study.

The study is part of a larger multi-site research project funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and led by senior author Myrna Schwartz, PhD of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute. The researchers examined data from 99 people who had persistent language impairments after a left-hemisphere stroke. In the first part of the study, the researchers collected 17 measures of cognitive and language performance and used a statistical technique to find the common elements that underlie performance on multiple measures.

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Gifted Corner: U.S. Schools are Still Shortchanging Gifted Kids, Experts Say

[Source:  Science Daily]


The report A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students changed the conversation about academic acceleration in this country’s schools when it was published 10 years ago.

Although access to programs and support for gifted students has grown since then, editors Susan Assouline and Nicholas Colangelo knew their work wasn’t done. Far too many high-ability children are still languishing in classrooms, bored and unchallenged, their potential lost and futures jeopardized.

Now these researchers, professors, and top administrators with the University of Iowa’s College of Education are updating their call to action with A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. This two-volume report is designed to “empower” parents, educators, administrators, and policy-makers with evidence and tools to implement 20 types of acceleration, which include early entrance to school, grade-skipping, moving ahead in one subject area, or Advanced Placement courses.

And just as important, A Nation Empowered aims to keep the conversation about acceleration going.

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How ‘Cooties’ and ‘Crushes’ Are Encoded In Developing Brains

[Source: Psych Central]


Researchers have found a signal in the brain that reflects young children’s aversion to members of the opposite sex — the “cooties” effect — and also their growing interest in the opposite sex as they enter puberty. Both responses are encoded in the brain structure called the amygdala, according to researchers at University of Illinois.

The amygdala was once thought of as a “threat detector,” said psychology professor Dr. Eva Telzer, who led the new analysis.

“But increasing evidence indicates that it is activated whenever someone detects something meaningful in the environment,” she said. “It is a significance detector.”

For the study, researchers evaluated 93 children’s attitudes toward same-sex and opposite-sex peers. Using functional MRI, which tracks how oxygenated blood flows in the brain, the researchers also analyzed brain activity in 52 children.

The finding that very young children pay close attention to gender is not a surprise, Telzer said.

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Spring Gross Motor Game – Puddle Jumping

puddle[Source: Pink Oatmeal]

I love Spring!  Living in Minnesota, the winters are long, and nothing is better than seeing that white stuff disappear!  I don’t even mind the muddy mess or puddles that come with the melting snow.  It’s actually a lot of fun.  I’ve been letting my son go crazy playing in them.  It’s resulted in several clothes changes, but one happy kid.  We’re planning on playing a puddle jumping gross motor game to get the kids moving this Spring. This game is fun for the classroom or at home.

This game is similar to the St. Patrick’s Day Clover Hop that I played in March.  It was a success so I thought we’d keep the fun coming with puddles.  Now as great as it would be to jump in real puddles, we can’t always do that.  If you can, go for it!  Instead I created puddles for the kids to jump on.  Let’s Play!

Learn More About this Great Gross Motor Activity on Pink Oatmeal

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Large-Scale Study To Look For Causes Of ASD


[Source:   Disability Scoop]

Kaiser Permanente is about to begin what is believed to be the largest genetic research project ever conducted by a health organization into the causes of autism, gathering biological and other health information from 5,000 Northern California families who have a child with the developmental disorder.

Scientists have long suspected that autism results from a combination of genetics and environmental factors, but no one knows for sure. They hope a study of this size will reveal the root causes that could eventually lead to improved diagnoses and new treatments.

“This is an opportunity for the families who are affected by autism to really contribute their expertise and experience and help find answers,” said Lisa Croen, director of the autism program at Kaiser’s Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. and the study’s principal investigator. “It’s definitely a huge scientific contribution in enhancing our understanding of autism, what causes it, how to treat it in the future and possibly even prevent it.”

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