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Paying Parents to Read to Their Children Boosts Literacy Skills

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers have found a surprising way to help boost the skills of children with language impairment: Pay their parents to read to them.  A new study tested four techniques to get parents or other caregivers to complete a 15-week literacy intervention for their children with language impairment.  Only one of those techniques – paying parents 50 cents for each reading session – led to children showing significant gains in reading test scores, findings showed.  “We were somewhat stunned to find that paying parents had this strong effect. We didn’t anticipate this,” said Laura Justice, lead author of the study and professor of educational psychology at The Ohio State University.  The other three techniques tried in the study were offering positive feedback to the parents, offering encouragement, and modeling to parents how to read in a way that improved children’s literacy skills.  None of these three was helpful, and offering feedback actually had a slight…

The Butterflies in Your Stomach

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Emeran Mayer M.D.Gut Sensations There Is More Than Butterflies in Your Stomach Why the gut and its microbes may influence how we feel and think.  Source: Shutterstock We have all have experienced a variety of gut feelings and gut reactions associated with different emotions, including anxiety, anger, and sadness. The English language if full of expression like “butterflies in the stomach,” “gut wrenching decisions,” “knots in the stomach,” “pain in the butt” and “scared s***less” are just a few examples. Similarly, almost everybody has made gut-based decisions in their lives, often when a lot was at stake, or when the decision was of great personal importance.  And there is hardly a day on which a prominent politician, athlete or entertainment celebrity does not make reference to their gut feelings. But despite this tight link between our subjective emotional experiences and the gut in our language, most people have never seriously thought that there may be a neurobiological …

New Study Reveals How Immune System Affects Social Behavior

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Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D.Beastly Behavior    By directly affecting sociality, interferon-gamma limits spread of infection. Posted Aug 08, 2016   t had long been thought that the brain is a special place in the body, largely sealed off from the immune system. We talk about the blood-brain barrier and the "immune privileged" status of the brain, as though it exists in another dimension, totally out of reach. Neurons, we were told, were too precious to risk being lost in a street fight with a virus or bacteria, so the brain must be in some sort of protective bubble, isolated from both infections and immune activity. Source: Allan Ajifo/Flickr As so often happens in science, the reality has proven far more complex. Increasingly, we are discovering new connections between the nervous and immune systems.
We should have known better. One of the most fundamental aspects of immune defense, fever, is well known to affect both our mood and behavior,…