Incarceration of parents impacts health of their children into adulthood

A new study found that young adults who had a parent incarcerated during their childhood are more likely to skip needed healthcare, smoke cigarettes, engage in risky sexual behaviors, and abuse alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs. These findings have a potentially broad impact, as more than five million US children have had a parent in jail or prison.
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The not-school movement that’s helping young people re-engage with learning

Alternative schooling programs could deliver greater learning outcomes for young people who are struggling at school.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Autism risk determined by health of mom’s gut

The mother’s microbiome, the collection of microscopic organisms that live inside us, determines the risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in her offspring, new research shows. The work raises the possibility we could prevent autism by altering expectant moms’ diets.
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connections between early childhood program and teenage outcomes

A new study examined the long-term impacts of an early childhood program called the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) and found evidence suggesting that the program positively affected children’s executive function and academic achievement during adolescence.
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Study analyzes opioid overdose risk during and after pregnancy among Massachusetts women

A new study found that opioid overdose events decreased during pregnancy, reaching their lowest level during the third trimester, but then increased during the postpartum period, becoming significantly higher during the second six months after delivery.
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Longer hours on social media may increase teens’ risk of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying may be linked to higher use of social network sites by school children aged 14-17 years, rather than to simply having a social network profile, according to a new study that examined data from several European countries.
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Challenging the conventional wisdom on calculus

Contrary to widely-held opinion, taking high school calculus isn’t necessary for success later in college calculus — what’s more important is mastering the prerequisites, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry — that lead to calculus. That’s according to a study of more than 6,000 college freshmen at 133 colleges.
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Why the left hemisphere of the brain understands language better than the right

Nerve cells in the brain region planum temporale have more synapses in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere — which is vital for rapid processing of auditory speech, according to new research. There has already been ample evidence of left hemisphere language dominance; however, the underlying processes on the neuroanatomical level had not yet been fully understood.
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Do we really buy ‘top-rated’ deals online? New research may surprise you

Anyone who shops online is familiar with those ‘top-rated’ products or services that rise to the top of their search on e-commerce intermediary sites like Amazon or Expedia. So, do those rankings really help those products or services get sold? According to a new study, the answer is, ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
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About half of parents use cell phones while driving with young children in the car

A new study found that in the previous three months, about half of parents talked on a cell phone while driving when their children between the ages of 4 and 10 were in the car, while one in three read text messages and one in seven used social media.
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The audiovisual integration of material information in preverbal infants

Researchers have revealed that infants aged 4- to 5-months already hold a primary cerebral representation of audiovisual integration of material information in their right hemisphere, and the number of types of material which can be processed by infants’ brain increases with the experience of the materials. This finding may lead to understand the trajectory of acquiring general knowledge about objects around us.
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Children with better coordination more likely to achieve at school

Young children with better eye-to-hand coordination were more likely to achieve higher scores for reading, writing and math according to new research — raising the possibility schools could provide extra support to children who are clumsy.
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Parents who had severe trauma, stresses in childhood more likely to have kids with behavioral health problems

A new study finds that severe childhood trauma and stresses early in parents’ lives are linked to higher rates of behavioral health problems in their own children.
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Pucker up, baby! Lips take center stage in infants’ brains

Researchers used brain imaging to gauge how the hand, foot and lips are represented in the brains of 2-month-olds — a much younger age than has been studied previously. It is believed to be the first to reveal the greater neurological activity associated with the lips than with other body parts represented in the infant brain. It also indicates how soon infants’ brains begin to make sense of their bodies, a first step toward other developmental milestones.
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Age and education affect job changes

New research reveals that people are more likely to change jobs when they are younger and well educated, though not necessarily because they are more open to a new experience. Researchers found that both individual characteristics and the labor market are factors in career mobility. The results show that people were more likely to change their organizations, industries, and occupations when they were younger, with the age effect being strongest.
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Why males are more at risk than females for neurodevelopmental disorders

Researchers have recently begun to realize that biological sex plays a key role in disease risk. Sex plays a role in hypertension, diabetes, arthritis — and in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Depression and anxiety affect females more, while neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, early onset schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity, affect more males. Males are also more sensitive to prenatal insults, such as gestational stress, maternal infection and drug exposure.
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Assessing antidepressant exposure during pregnancy and Autism-like behavior in mouse pups

Maternal use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) can alter the brain circuits in her offspring that control behaviors reminiscent of autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study in mice. These results have no immediate bearing on the treatment of depression in pregnant women.
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Small classes reduce performance gaps in science

From high-stakes multiple choice exams to the social climate of the classroom, research has shown those factors can contribute to the negative impact of large, introductory and undergraduate science courses on students. However, class size is often an overlooked factor despite research suggesting it influences student performance and, unlike other influences on student attrition, is subject to legislative action.
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Virtual reality headsets significantly reduce children’s fear of needles

Almost anyone can relate to being afraid of needles and injections. A pilot study is the first to use a 3D virtual reality headset to test this tool as a distraction method in a pediatric setting. Children were given the choice of a roller coaster ride, helicopter ride or a hot-air balloon ride. Results show that anticipated versus actual pain and fear were reduced in 94.1 percent of the pediatric study subjects.
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The neuroscience of human vocal pitch

Among primates, humans are uniquely able to consciously control the pitch of their voices, making it possible to hit high notes in singing or stress a word in a sentence to convey meaning. Researchers narrow in on a region of the brain’s frontal lobe that controls the ”voice box” muscles that are responsible for vocal pitch.
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Study of 800-million tweets finds distinct daily cycles in our thinking patterns

Our mode of thinking changes at different times of the day and follows a 24-hour pattern, according to new findings. Researchers were able to study our thinking behavior by analyzing seven-billion words used in 800-million tweets.
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Learning disabilities: Kids and families struggle beyond the academics

Academic struggles can also create significant stress and anxiety for children and families, a new study finds. Using a 15-question survey in families of children on IEP plans, researchers document actionable levels of distress.
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Personalized ‘deep learning’ equips robots for autism therapy

Researchers have now developed a type of personalized machine learning that helps robots estimate the engagement and interest of each child during these interactions, using data that are unique to that child. Armed with this personalized ‘deep learning’ network, the robots’ perception of the children’s responses agreed with assessments by human experts, with a correlation score of 60 percent.
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Can the kids wait? Today’s youngsters able to delay gratification longer than those of the 1960s

Some 50 years since the original ‘marshmallow test’ in which most preschoolers gobbled up one treat immediately rather than wait several minutes to get two, today’s youngsters may be able to delay gratification significantly longer to get that extra reward.
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BPA can induce multigenerational effects on ability to communicate, mouse study shows

Mice pups whose grandparents had been exposed to BPA, had different vocalization patterns, a new study finds. This, in turn, could also affect the amount of parental care they received. Scientists believe the results could have important relevance to humans.
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One year of school comes with an IQ bump, meta-analysis shows

A year of schooling leaves students with new knowledge, and it also equates with a small but noticeable increase to students’ IQ, according to a systematic meta-analysis.
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D for danger! Speech sounds convey emotions

Individual speech sounds — phonemes — are statistically associated with negative or positive emotions in several languages, new research shows. These associations help us quickly avoid dangers, because the phoneme-emotion associations are strongest at the beginning of the word and the phonemes that are spoken fastest tend to have a negative association
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Crisis can force re-evaluation and derail efforts to reach goals

Setbacks are to be expected when pursuing a goal, whether you are trying to lose weight or save money. The challenge is getting back on track and not giving up after a difficulty or crisis, says a marketing professor working on practical ways to help people stick to health-related goals.
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Scientists discover how brain signals travel to drive language performance

Using transcranial magnetic stimulation and network control theory, researchers have taken a novel approach to understanding how signals travel across the brain’s highways and how stimulation can lead to better cognitive function.
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Parents’ explanations of peer interactions affect how children interpret peers’ behavior

New research shows that parents can help their children perceive less hostility in their social world by framing social situations in a positive way, and thus, reduce their likelihood of behaving aggressively.
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Does good attendance equal good grades?

Studies of classroom attendance patterns in undergraduate students have shown that attendance and performance go hand in hand — attending class is the key to reaping the rewards of academic achievement. However, many of these studies were completed before the explosion of online learning.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Age limit for federal food assistance program impacts reading scores, learning

Nearly 1 million children face food insecurity simply because they were born late in the year. No safety net coverage exists for these children when they age out of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and they are not yet eligible to attend kindergarten. A researcher has found that not only does the coverage gap impact overall food insecurity, it reduces reading scores at kindergarten entry.
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Childhood sibling dynamics may predict differences in college education

The effects of sibling relationships may go beyond childhood bickering and bonding, according to researchers who found that these relationships may predict similarities and differences in siblings’ education later in life.
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When consumers don’t want to talk about what they bought

One of the joys of shopping for many people is the opportunity to brag about their purchases to friends and others. But new research found one common situation in which people would rather not discuss what they just bought: when they’re feeling like money is a little tight. In a series of studies, researchers found that consumers who felt financially constrained didn’t want to talk about their purchases, large or small, with friends or strangers.
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Increased risk of birth defects in babies after first-trimester exposure to lithium

Researchers have found an elevated risk of major congenital malformations in fetuses after first-trimester exposure to lithium, in the largest study ever to examine the risk of birth defects in lithium-exposed babies.
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Odors are perceived the same way by hunter-gatherers and Westerners

Previous research has shown the hunter-gatherer Jahai are much better at naming odors than Westerners. They even have a more elaborate lexicon for it. New research by language scientists show that despite these linguistic differences, the Jahai and Dutch find the same odors pleasant and unpleasant.
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Helicopter parenting may negatively affect children’s emotional well-being, behavior

It’s natural for parents to do whatever they can to keep their children safe and healthy, but children need space to learn and grow on their own, without Mom or Dad hovering over them, according to new research. The study found that overcontrolling parenting can negatively affect a child’s ability to manage his or her emotions and behavior.
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Negative emotions are murkier, less distinct in adolescence

Adolescents don’t distinguish between negative emotions as clearly as younger children and adults in their 20s do, according to new findings. The study sheds light on how experiences of emotion vary at different ages and why adolescence may be a particularly vulnerable period in emotional development.
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How instruction changes brain circuitry with struggling readers

Using MRI measurements of the brain’s neural connections, or ‘white matter,’ researchers have shown that, in struggling readers, the neural circuitry strengthened — and their reading performance improved — after just eight weeks of a specialized tutoring program.
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If your eyes wrinkle when you smile or frown, you appear more sincere

Researchers have shown that our brains are pre-wired to perceive wrinkles around the eyes as conveying more intense and more sincere emotions. This eye-wrinkle feature, called the Duchenne marker, occurs across multiple facial expressions, including smiles, expressions associated with pain, and — as found by these researchers — expressions of sadness.
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Digital devices during family time could exacerbate bad behavior

Parents who spend a lot of time on their phones or watching television during family activities such as meals, playtime, and bedtime could influence their long-term relationships with their children. This is according to researchers who say so called ‘technoference’ can lead children to show more frustration, hyperactivity, whining, sulking or tantrums.
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Mother’s attitude to baby during pregnancy may have implications for child’s development

Mothers who ‘connect’ with their baby during pregnancy are more likely to interact in a more positive way with their infant after it is born, according to a new study. Interaction is important for helping infants learn and develop.
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Mu­sic play­school en­hances chil­dren’s lin­guistic skills

Weekly music playschool significantly improved the development of children’s vocabulary skills.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Beyond the ‘Reading Wars’: How the science of reading can improve literacy

A new scientific report from psychological researchers aims to resolve the so-called ‘reading wars,’ emphasizing the importance of teaching phonics in establishing fundamental reading skills in early childhood. The report shows how early phonics skills are advanced with a rich reading curriculum throughout the school years.
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Fathers’ early parenting quality affected by mothers

How a new mother reacts to her partner’s early interactions with their baby may affect his parenting quality later on, a new study suggests. Researchers found that fathers did not perform as well as a parent to their 9-month-old child if the dads felt their partner was critical of their parenting skills six months earlier.
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Slips of the ear: When knowledge deceives perception

Misperception of speech results from a weak representation of the difference between what we expect to hear and what is actually said, according to a human neuroimaging study. The research provides new evidence for how the brain creates perceptual illusions when speech is degraded at cocktail parties, in song lyrics or for older listeners.
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Mobile app for autism screening yields useful data

A new study of an iPhone app to screen young children for signs of autism has found the app easy to use, welcomed by caregivers and good at producing reliable scientific data. The app first administers caregiver consent forms and survey questions and then uses the phone’s ‘selfie’ camera to collect videos of young children’s reactions while they watch movies designed to elicit emotion and attention on the device’s screen.
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Are birth mothers satisfied with decisions to place children for adoption?

New research findings could change the adoption landscape for birth mothers struggling with the life-altering decision to place their children. How is a birth mother’s level of satisfaction — that feeling that the right decision was made — affected by time?
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Link found between neurotransmitter imbalance, brain connectivity in those with autism

Researchers have identified a link between a neurotransmitter imbalance and brain connectivity between regions of the brain that play a role in social communication and language. The study found two tests that could lead to more precise medical treatments.
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Neighborhoods can help buffer impacts from childhood poverty

In one of the first studies to examine the effect of both socioeconomic status and neighborhoods on children’s health, researchers found that living in higher opportunity neighborhoods may protect children from some of the negative health impacts associated with growing up poor.
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What does the future hold for the children of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil?

A new study uses a mouse model to investigate the potential long-term effects of early-life infection by Zika virus, and indicates that blocking TNF-alpha may be an effective strategy to stop seizures in newborns exposed to Zika congenitally.
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Rules about technology use can undermine academic achievement

Parents who restrict their children’s use of new media technologies may be acting counterproductively in the long run, particularly if they invoke afterschool homework time as the reason. Their children’s scholastic achievements at college lag behind the academic performance of same-age peers, a new study shows.
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Non-pharmacologic approaches improve outcomes for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome

A quality improvement (QI) initiative that focused on using non-pharmacologic approaches to care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) yielded positive short-term outcomes for both the mothers and infants. The results showed a decrease in medication use, length of stay, and health care costs.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Teachers who give cookie rewards score better in evaluations

Teachers who reward their students with chocolate cookies can score significantly better in evaluation surveys.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Mothers with high emotional, cognitive control help their children behave

A new parenting study finds that the greater emotional control and problem-solving abilities a mother has, the less likely her children will develop behavioral problems, such as throwing tantrums or fighting.
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Brain activity patterns underlying fluent speech revealed

When we speak, we engage nearly 100 muscles, continuously moving our lips, jaw, tongue, and throat to shape our breath into the fluent sequences of sounds that form our words and sentences. A new study reveals how these complex articulatory movements are coordinated in the brain.
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Ban e-cig flavors and misleading advertisements to protect youth, says global respiratory group

Respiratory doctors and scientists from six continents have warned of the dangers posed to children and adolescents by electronic cigarettes. They are calling for an immediate ban on flavorings and on marketing e-cigarettes as lower risk alternatives to children and adolescents.
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Sensory-based food education encourages children to eat vegetables, berries and fruit

Sensory-based food education given to 3-5 year-old children in the kindergarten increases their willingness to choose vegetables, berries and fruit, according to a new study. Sensory-based food education offers new tools for promoting healthy dietary habits in early childhood education and care.
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Early-life seizures prematurely wake up brain networks tied to autism

Early-life seizures prematurely switch on key synapses in the brain that may contribute to further neurodevelopmental delay in children with autism and other intellectual disabilities, suggests a new study from researchers at Penn Medicine.
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The logic of modesty — why it pays to be humble

Why do people make anonymous donations, and why does the public perceive this as admirable? Scientists have developed a novel game theoretic model that captures these behaviors and enables their study. Their new model is the first to include the idea that hidden signals, when discovered, provide additional information about the sender.
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Study finds popular ‘growth mindset’ educational interventions aren’t very effective

A new study found that ‘growth mindset interventions,’ or programs that teach students they can improve their intelligence with effort — and therefore improve grades and test scores — don’t work for students in most circumstances.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Transgender brains are more like their desired gender from an early age

Brain activity and structure in transgender adolescents more closely resembles the typical activation patterns of their desired gender, according to new research. The findings suggest that differences in brain function may occur early in development and that brain imaging may be a useful tool for earlier identification of transgenderism in young people.
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Professor replicates famous marshmallow test, makes new observations

A new replication study of the well-known ‘marshmallow test’ — a famous psychological experiment designed to measure children’s self-control — suggests that being able to delay gratification at a young age may not be as predictive of later life outcomes as was previously thought.
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Students taught by highly qualified teachers more likely to obtain bachelor’s degree

A researcher has found that high school students taught by a string of teachers who majored or minored in a specific teaching subject, instead of a general teaching degree, are more likely to become college graduates.
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The secret to honing kids’ language and literacy

Researchers found that a child’s ability to self-regulate is a critical element in childhood language and literacy development, and that the earlier they can hone these skills, the faster language and literacy skills develop leading to better skills in the long run.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Early life trauma in men associated with reduced levels of sperm microRNAs

Exposure to early life trauma can elevate risk for poor physical and mental health in individuals and their children. A new epigenetics study in both men and mice posits that some of the vulnerability in children may derive from stress-associated reductions in microRNAs in their father’s sperm.
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Early-life obesity impacts children’s learning and memory, study suggests

A new study found that children on the threshold of obesity or overweight in the first two years of life had lower perceptual reasoning and working memory scores than lean children when tested at ages five and eight. The study also indicated that IQ scores may be lower for higher-weight children.
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Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners

Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science. This article provides guidance on building these lessons.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Women should have right to reject pregnancy, experts say

Experts argue that, despite decades of debate, advocates and opponents of abortion have been unable to demonstrate conclusively that either side’s view is false, or agree on when life starts. He says laws should not force women to risk death and injury by having a baby.
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Sleep better, parent better: Study shows link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting

A new study looks at the link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting during late adolescence. Findings show that mothers who don’t get enough sleep or who take longer falling asleep have a greater tendency to engage in permissive parenting — parenting marked by lax or inconsistent discipline.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Young toddlers may learn more from interactive than noninteractive media

Preschoolers can learn from educational television, but younger toddlers may learn more from interactive digital media (such as video chats and touchscreen mobile apps) than from TV and videos alone, which don’t require them to interact. The article also notes that not all children learn to the same degree from these media.
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Autism is not linked to eating fish in pregnacy

A major study examining the fish-eating habits of pregnant women has found that they are not linked to autism or autistic traits in their children. Scientists looked at the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism using evidence from nearly 4,500 women who took part in the Children of the ’90s study.
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