Monday, July 14, 2014

Lead in preschool kids' blood tied to behavioral problems

Lead in preschool kids' blood tied to behavioral problems

Although it is well documented that lead exposure lowers children's IQ, we know little about its effect on their behavioral and emotional health. Now, a new study shows that emotional and behavioral problems are apparent even at relatively low levels of lead exposure in preschool children, and they go up in line with rising blood lead levels.
Writing in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Dr. Jianghong Liu of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues report how they analyzed links between blood lead levels in over 1,300 Chinese preschoolers and behavioral and emotional problems, such as showing signs of being anxious, depressed, or aggressive......

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Do not disturb! How the brain filters out distractions

Do not disturb! How the brain filters out distractions

You know the feeling? You are trying to dial a phone number from memory... you have to concentrate.... then someone starts shouting out other numbers nearby. In a situation like that, your brain must ignore the distraction as best it can so as not to lose vital information from its working memory. A new paper published in Neuron by a team of neurobiologists led by Professor Andreas Nieder at the University of Tübingen gives insight into just how the brain manages this problem.
The researchers put rhesus monkeys in a similar situation. The monkeys had to remember the number of dots in an image and reproduce the knowledge a moment later. While they were taking in the information, a distraction was introduced, showing a different number of dots. And even though the monkeys were mostly able to ignore the distraction, their concentration was disturbed and their memory performance suffered......