Monday, June 27th, 2011
In a not-so-surprising new study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, research reveals that watching too much television (especially shows with violent images) has negative affects on the sleep patterns of preschoolers.
Reported by CNN.com, the study focused on 600 preschoolers in Seattle, Washington and kept track of when they watched television to determine sleep disturbances. Preschoolers who watched age-appropriate TV shows during the day slept well while those who watched the same type of shows at night, before bedtime, were more susceptible to nightmares, frequent wakings, and fatigue. In particular, preschoolers who watched shows with violence (shows meant for adults or the daily news reports) before bedtime were also more likely to experience nightmares.
Michelle Garrison, Ph.D., who conducted the study, points out young kids still can’t separate reality from fantasy, which is why they’re more frightened by what’s shown on TV. In addition, letting kids fall asleep with the TV still on is a no-no, since it keeps the child stimulated, not relaxed. Instead, parents should turn off the TV at least an hour before kids go to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that televisions be kept in a common room (not in a child’s bedroom), and young children should watch only 1-2 hours of TV per day.
What kind of TV shows do you let your kids watch? What are the ways you limit your child’s TV consumption?
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Friday, October 29th, 2010
For years many women have thought that becoming a mom was the cause of a tired, jumbled brain. But now, a new study, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that this life-changing event could actually enhance your brain function and make it grow.
The authors of the study, led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, are of the belief that hormonal changes right after birth may contribute to the reshaping of a mother’s brain, according to an American Psychological Association press release.
Researchers took brain scans of 19 new moms at two to four weeks after birth and then again two to four months later, and found that their brains showed growth in midbrain regions involved with the experience of pleasure and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to reasoning, planning and judgment, the release states. In adults this kind of change does not occur so significantly unless there is major learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.
The findings are especially true for new mothers who seemed to take more pleasure and joy in their role as a parent. Those who chose more positive words from a list of adjectives, such as “ideal,” to describe their infants, and words such as “proud” and “blessed” to describe their experience of parenthood, saw greater growth in their emotion-processing regions.
And, interestingly, Kim found that mothers who had had more nurturing from their own mothers during childhood had larger brain volumes in areas related to reading faces and empathy, and that these mothers showed more activation in these regions in response to infant cries.
Did you feel like your brain power increased as a result of having a baby?
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