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Taser Shock Disrupts Brain Function, Has Implications for Police Interrogations

In a randomized control trial, volunteer participants were subjected to Taser shocks and tested for cognitive impairment. Some showed short-term declines in cognitive functioning comparable to dementia, raising serious questions about the ability of police suspects to understand their rights at the point of arrest.

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Past Experiences Affect Recognition, Memory

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New research from the University of Guelph on the brain and memory could help in developing therapies for people with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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John Tracy Clinic Announces a New Parent Toddler Discovery Program

John Tracy Clinic (JTC), a non-profit diagnostic and education center for young children with hearing loss, announced today the launch of their new “Parent Toddler Discovery Program.” Taking place from July 10 – 15, 2016, the new program will be available as part of this year’s JTC Summer Sessions schedule.

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Study Suggests More Effective Speech Therapy Approach for Children with Down Syndrome

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A new study indicates that children with Down syndrome who have motor speech deficits have been inadequately diagnosed, which could have a major impact on the interventions used by speech pathologists when treating patients.

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You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

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The effect of aging on cognitive processes such as learning, memory and logical reasoning have so far been studied almost exclusively in people. Using a series of touchscreen tests, Lisa Wallis and Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now studied these domains in pet dogs of varying ages.

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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High-Tech Toys Could Stagnate Babies’ Communication Skills

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When babies and toddlers play with a tablet or other noisy device, they often play alone, which can be detrimental to their development, according to Bradford Wiles, an assistant professor and extension early child development specialist at Kansas State University. Research has shown that children need meaningful interaction with adults to reach their full social potential.

Medicine

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UCI Study Finds Drug Prevents Key Age-Related Brain Change in Rats

As brain cells age they lose the fibers that receive neural impulses, a change that may underlie cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine recently found a way to reverse this process in rats. The study was published February 3 in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers caution that more studies are needed, but the findings shed light on the mechanisms of cognitive decline and identify potential strategies to stem it.

Science

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Larger (Relative) Brains = Higher IQ

Why do humans and dolphins evolve large brains relative to the size of their bodies while blue whales and hippos have brains that are relatively puny? While there has been much speculation regarding brain size and intelligence, a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms that species with brains that are large relative to their body are more intelligent.

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Want to Learn a New Skill? Faster? Change Up Your Practice Sessions

When practicing and learning a new skill, making slight changes during repeat practice sessions may help people master the skill faster than practicing the task in precisely the same way, Johns Hopkins researchers report.

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Prenatal Exposure to Flame Retardants Linked to Poorer Behavioral Function in Children

New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine suggests that prenatal exposure to flame retardants and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) commonly found in the environment may have a lasting effect on a child’s cognitive and behavioral development, known as executive function.

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NYU Study Explains Why Mistakes Slow Us Down, But Not Necessarily for the Better

Taking more time to make decisions after a mistake arises from a mixture of adaptive neural mechanisms that improve the accuracy and maladaptive mechanisms that reduce it, neuroscientists at New York University have found. Their study also potentially offer insights into afflictions that impair judgments, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Mentally Challenging Activities Key to a Healthy Aging Mind

Individuals who participated in high challenge activities like quilting and photography showed enhanced brain activity, according to a new Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience report.

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Remembering to the Future: Researchers Shed New Light on How Our Memories Guide Attention

A team of researchers has discovered that differences in the types of memories we have influence the nature of our future encounters. Their findings show how distinct parts of the brain, underlying different kinds of memories, also influence our attention in new situations.

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New Study Indicates Students’ Cognitive Functioning Improves When Using Standing Desks

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Do students think best when on their feet? A new study by the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health indicates they do. Findings published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health provide the first evidence of neurocognitive benefits of stand-height desks in classrooms, where students are given the choice to stand or sit based on their preferences.

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Zoning Out or Deep Thinking?

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Brain scans show that stories that force us to think about our deepest values activate a region of the brain once thought to be its autopilot.

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Interaction During Reading Is Key to Language Development

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A new University of Iowa study finds babies make more speech-like sounds during reading than when playing with puppets or toys—and mothers are more responsive to these types of sounds while reading to their child than during the other activities.

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Money Affects Children's Behavior, Even if They Don't Understand Its Value

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The act of handling money makes young children work harder and give less, according to new research published by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and University of Illinois at Chicago. The effect was observed in children who lacked concrete knowledge of money's purpose, and persisted despite the denomination of the money.

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Remembering Past Events Might Take Place Quicker Than We Thought, Research Shows

Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that retrieving memories of events from our past may take place quicker than we previously thought – and it is possible to interfere with that process.

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Put the Cellphone Away! Fragmented Baby Care Can Affect Brain Development

Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That’s the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.

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Researchers Track Eye Movements to Improve Visual Searches

Researchers at New Mexico State University are mimicking high-stakes visual search scenarios in the lab to gauge performances of independent searchers and search pairs. Preliminary research showed that two heads might not always be better than one.