Tag Archives | Brain Development

Is Early-Age Reading Developmentally Appropriate?

Activity_at_the_library6Marsha Lucas asks if introducing children to reading at an early age developmentally appropriate.

via Rewire Your Brain For Love:

Louise Bates Ames, PhD, a superstar in child development and the director of research at the world-renowned Gesell Institute of Child Development, stated that “a delay in reading instruction would be a preventative measure in avoiding nearly all reading failure.” Leapfrogging necessary cognitive developmental skills — and asking a young brain to do tasks for which it isn’t truly ready — is asking for trouble with learning.

The brains of young children aren’t yet developed enough to read without it costing them in the organization and “wiring” of their brain. The areas involved in language and reading aren’t fully online — and aren’t connected — until age seven or eight. If we’re teaching children to do tasks which their brains are not yet developed to do via the “normal” (and most efficient) pathways, the brain will stumble upon other, less efficient ways to accomplish the tasks — which lays down wiring in some funky ways — and can lead to later learning disabilities, including visual-processing deficits.

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Was Lead Pollution The Main Cause Of High Crime And Violence In 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s America?

It wasn’t crack cocaine, poverty, or the breakdown of the nuclear family that caused the spike in violent criminality. Most likely, it was automobile fumes. Mother Jones has a bombshell story:

In city after city, violent crime peaked in the early ’90s and then began a steady and spectacular decline. By 2010, violent crime rates in New York City had plunged 75 percent from their peak in the early ’90s. Washington, DC['s] violent crime rate has dropped 58 percent since its peak. Dallas’ has fallen 70 percent. Newark: 74 percent. Los Angeles: 78 percent.

Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early ’40s through the early ’70s, nearly quadrupling over that period. Then, as unleaded gasoline began to replace leaded gasoline, emissions plummeted. Intriguingly, violent crime rates followed the same pattern. The only thing different was the time period: the two curves looked eerily identical, but were offset by about 20 years.

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Body Pleasures and the Origins of Violence

A classic article, deserving a place in the Disinfo archives. James W. Prescott outlines the link between modern child-rearing practices and their impact on development, psychological well-being and adult behavior. He covers deprivation of loving touch, sexual repression, infant neglect, and the results to the adult psyche. Joseph Chilton Pearce started this conversation and Prescott fleshes it out. The discussion of these issues is still ongoing.

Via The Origins of Peace and Violence website:

The sensory environment in which an individual grows up has a major influence upon the development and functional organization of the brain. Sensory stimulation is a nutrient that the brain must have to develop and function normally. How the brain functions determines how a person behaves. At birth a human brain is extremely immature and new brain cells develop up to the age of two years. The complexity of brain cell development continues up to about 16 years of age.

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Does Eating Junk Food Make Children Dumber?

happymeal13Tragically, when kids are fed junk food, their developing brains may suffer as a result. (Thus producing dim-minded adults who gobble more junk food, in an endless cycle?)

After controlling for every socioeconomic factor they could think of, researchers found that young children with diets heavy in processed foods grew to have lower IQs than similar children who ate more healthily, The Week writes:

Researchers at England’s University of Bristol found that a child’s eating habits at age 3 may influence his cognitive abilities at age 8. Toddler diets high in fat and sugar were associated with lower IQ scores, while healthier eating was tied to higher scores. The report, which appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, is being billed as “the first study to suggest a direct link between the diet of young children and their brainpower” years later.

The researchers examined data on nearly 4,000 children born in the early 1990s, including detailed information from parents on what the kids ate and drank at specific ages.

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Brain Development May Begin With Faulty Wiring

Photo: Ranveig

Via Live Science:

Very early in life, neurons in the brain begin forming connections with one another. But it turns out that during normal development, a startling number can link up to the wrong cells and must be pushed back in the right direction, according to a new study on baby mice.

The finding, detailed Feb. 8 in the journal PLoS Biology, could shed light on brain disorders such as autism, according to one researcher. Mice are often used as a model for human biology, and the researchers think a similar phenomenon occurs in humans.

An international research team made their discovery by observing the development of the cerebellum – a region of the brain responsible for motor control and also linked with attention, language and emotion in humans. During the first three weeks after a mouse is born, the neurons of the cerebellum connect to one another by forming synapses.

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