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Learning the Smell of Fear: Mothers Teach Babies Their Own Fears via Odor

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Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers’, new research suggests. And not just “natural” fears: If a mother experienced something before pregnancy that made her fear something specific, her baby will quickly learn to fear it too -- through her odor when she feels fear.

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Memory Relies on Astrocytes, the Brain's Lesser Known Cells

Salk scientists show that the little-known supportive cells are vital in cognitive function.

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Medicine

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 30-Jul-2014 2:00 PM EDT

Medicine

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Slow Walking Speed and Memory Complaints Can Predict Dementia

A study involving nearly 27,000 older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints. People who tested positive for pre-dementia were twice as likely as others to develop dementia within 12 years. The study, led by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center, was published online on July 16, 2014 in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Childhood Friendships Crucial in Learning to Value Others

Friends play an extremely important role in a person’s life. From infancy on, we have a desire to connect and those early relationships help to mold and develop our adult character. Through interactions with one another, we learn to think beyond ourselves to understand the needs and desires of others.

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Life

Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Background TV Can Be Bad for Kids

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Leaving the television on can be detrimental to children's learning and development, according to a new study from the University of Iowa. Researchers found that background television can divert a child’s attention from play and learning. Results appear in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

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Large Twin Study Suggests That Language Delay Due More to Nature Than Nurture

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A study of 473 sets of twins followed since birth found twins have twice the rate of language delay as do single-born children. Moreover, identical twins have greater rates of language delay than do non-identical twins, strengthening the case for the heritability of language.

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Measuring Nurture: Study Shows How "Good Mothering" Hardwires Infant Brain

By carefully watching nearly a hundred hours of video showing mother rats protecting, warming, and feeding their young pups, and then matching up what they saw to real-time electrical readings from the pups’ brains, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have found that the mother’s presence and social interactions — her nurturing role — directly molds the early neural activity and growth of her offsprings’ brain.

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Months Before Their First Words, Babies' Brains Rehearse Speech Mechanics

University of Washington research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech. The study suggests that baby brains start laying down the groundwork of how to form words long before they actually begin to speak.

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Chimpanzee Intelligence Determined by Genes

A chimpanzee’s intelligence is largely determined by its genes, while environmental factors may be less important than scientists previously thought, according to a Georgia State University research study.

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