For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to "Sit still and concentrate!"
But new research shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks, according to a study published in an early online release of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
The findings show the longtime prevailing methods for helping children with ADHD may be misguided.
"The typical interventions target reducing hyperactivity. It's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing for a majority of children with ADHD," said one of the study's authors, Mark Rapport, head of the Children's Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida. "The message isn't 'Let them run around the room,' but you need to be able to facilitate their movement so they can maintain the level of alertness necessary for cognitive activities."
The research has major implications for how parents and teachers should deal with ADHD kids, particularly with the increasing weight given to students' performance on standardized testing. The study suggests that a majority of students with ADHD could perform better on classroom work, tests and homework if they're sitting on activity balls or exercise bikes, for instance.
The study at the UCF clinic included 52 boys ages 8 to 12. Twenty-nine of the children had been diagnosed with ADHD and the other 23 had no clinical disorders and showed normal development.
Each child was asked to perform a series of standardized tasks designed to gauge "working memory," the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning and comprehension.
Children were shown a series of jumbled numbers and a letter that flashed onto a computer screen, then asked to put the numbers in order, followed by the letter. A high-speed camera recorded the kids, and observers recorded their every movement and gauged their attention to the task.
Rapport's previous research had already shown that the excessive movement that's a trademark of hyperactive children - previously thought to be ever-present - is actually apparent only when they need to use the brain's executive brain functions, especially their working memory.
The new study goes an important step further, proving the movement serves a purpose. "What we've found is that when they're moving the most, the majority of them perform better," Rapport said. "They have to move to maintain alertness."
By contrast, the children in the study without ADHD also moved more during the cognitive tests, but it had the opposite effect: They performed worse.
In addition to Rapport, the study was co-authored by Dustin Sarver of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Michael Kofler of Florida State University, Lauren Friedman of the University of Central Florida, and Joe Raiker of Florida International University.
Mount Sinai scientists find unprecedented microbial diversity in isolated Amazonian tribe
The most diverse collection of bacteria yet in humans
Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine, collaborating with a multicenter team of U.S. and Venezuelan researchers, have discovered the most diverse collection of bacteria yet in humans among an isolated tribe of Yanomami Amerindians in the remote Amazonian jungles of Venezuela.
Bacterial diversity in the Yanomami, previously unexposed to antibiotics or industrialized diets, was found to be nearly double that of people living in industrialized countries, and was also significantly higher than in other remote populations moderately exposed to modern practices.
The team published its findings today in the journal Science Advances.
The results suggest that antibiotic usage or western diet are linked to the reduced bacterial diversity observed in modern societies, and that this loss of diversity happens quickly upon initial exposure to those practices. "There is a gradient of bacterial diversity that appears to be inversely correlated with exposure to modern practices, such as antibiotics, C-section, or processed foods," said Jose C. Clemente, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and first author of the study. "Even minimal exposure to these practices greatly decreases diversity and removes potentially beneficial bacteria from our microbiome."
To date, the vast majority of studies on the human microbiome - the trillions of bacteria harbored in the body that are essential to our well-being - have focused on Western populations. "Characterizing the bacterial communities of non-Western, unexposed populations is essential to understand how the microbiome changes and adapts to westernization," said Dr. Clemente, "and how those changes might be driving the increased incidence of diseases linked to imbalances in the microbiome."
The Yanomami villagers of this study, who have subsisted as hunters-and-gatherers for hundreds of generations, are believed to have lived in total seclusion from Western civilization until 2009 when they were first contacted by a medical expedition. Among a rare population of people unexposed to modern antibiotics, the villagers offer a unique window onto the human microbiome.
"We have found unprecedented diversity in fecal, skin, and oral samples collected from the Yanomami villagers," said Maria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and the senior author of the study. "Our results bolster a growing body of data suggesting a link between, on the one hand, decreased bacterial diversity, industrialized diets, and modern antibiotics, and on the other, immunological and metabolic diseases - such as obesity, asthma, allergies, and diabetes, which have dramatically increased since the 1970s," said Dr. Dominguez-Bello.
The analysis of gut and oral bacteria also revealed that the Yanomami villagers had bacteria encoding antibiotic resistance genes, despite their lack of previous exposure to antibiotics. Surprisingly, the bacterial genes conferred resistance not only to natural antibiotics, such as those produced by soil microbes, but also to synthetic antibiotics.
"During the 1940s and 1950s, in the heyday of pharmaceutical antibiotic development, most antibiotics were derived from naturally occurring bacteria in the soil," said co-author Gautam Dantas, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Immunology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine. "So, we would expect that natural resistance to antibiotics would emerge over millions of years of evolution," he said. "We didn't expect to find resistance to modern synthetic antibiotics." The presence of resistance genes in microbiota unexposed to antibiotics may help explain the rapid rate at which bacteria develop resistance to new classes of antibiotics, noted Dr. Dantas.
"The results from this study have given us a much better understanding of our microbial past," said Dr. Clemente. "Characterizing now the functions encoded in those bacteria that we are missing will provide further insights into the mechanisms behind these immune and metabolic conditions, and potentially guide us in the development of new therapeutics."
One in 4 advanced lung cancer patients started on firstline treatment before EGFR test results available
Lack of test results may impact treatment effectiveness and survival, survey in
Geneva, Switzerland - Almost one in four patients (24%) with advanced lung cancer in Europe, Asia and the US are not receiving EGFR test results before being started on treatment, researchers report at the European Lung Cancer Conference.
Medical Oncologist James Spicer from King's College London at Guy's Hospital, London, and colleagues studied how widely hospitals had implemented testing for mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene among lung cancer patients.
Targeted therapies can more effectively treat cancers that are known to carry such mutations, Dr Spicer said. However anecdotal evidence had suggested the tests required to clarify a patient's status were not always been conducted, Dr Spicer said.
"The arrival of a new group of targeted EGFR inhibitors for the treatment of lung cancer driven by mutations in the EGFR gene has brought with it a new requirement for diagnostic laboratories to implement genetic testing," he explained. "For many institutions this has represented a significant departure from traditional pathology, which had previously focused only on microscopic examinations of tumour tissue."
"The new skills and investment required to deliver this new molecular pathology have understandably taken time to become universally available. Furthermore, the new clinical data underlying these developments has mandated a change in clinical practice, particularly the adoption of new treatment approaches in newly diagnosed patients?, and these changes have been adopted with variable speed around the world."
Ideally, all patients with non-small cell lung cancer of non-squamous histology who are fit for treatment of advanced disease should undergo EGFR mutation tests, Dr Spicer explained. This should be done in a timely manner so as not to delay first line treatment choices.
To examine the real-world situation, he and colleagues conducted an online survey of 562 oncologists in 10 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, UK and USA) between December 2014 and January 2015. "We found that globally almost one in four patients are tested but results are not available at the time the treatment decision is made," Dr Spicer said.
"Not only were some suitable patients not tested at all for tumour EGFR mutations, some patients did undergo testing, but the treatment decision about whether to give an EGFR inhibitor or chemotherapy as first line treatment was taken without reference to the result."
For some patients, not being tested may adversely affect their treatment outcomes, Dr Spicer said. "Indeed, some recent clinical trial evidence suggests that this may even be compromising access to treatment that is associated with an overall survival benefit."
Commenting on the study, Professor Silvia Novello from the Department of Oncology at the University of Turin, Italy, said a particular strength of the study was its international nature. She said it was interesting that the authors were able to show that EGFR mutation testing was requested prior to first line therapy in 81% of patients with stage IIIb/IV non-small cell lung cancer and that results were demonstrated to be available before administration of treatment in 77% of cases. She noted that interpretation of the findings is limited by the fact that it is a survey-based report rather than an observational trial.
Respondents to the survey said a lack of sufficient tissue, a long turn-around time for testing and the poor performance status of the patient were among the reasons for non-testing and non respecting completely the IASLC guidelines. "The first two reasons are partially related to an incomplete integration of multidisciplinary oncology teams, while the third one can be attributed to an imperfect knowledge of data regarding the use of EGFR inhibitors," Professor Novello said.
A camera powered by the light it uses to take pictures has been invented by American scientists.
The camera generates power by converting some of the light falling on its sensor into electricity that is then used to take a snap.
Theoretically the self-powered device could take a picture every second, forever.
The camera's creators are now refining the device and are looking into ways to commercialise the technology.
"We are in the middle of a digital imaging revolution," said Prof Shree Nayar, director of the computer vision laboratory at Columbia University in New York who invented the device. "A camera that can function as an untethered device forever - without any external power supply - would be incredibly useful."
Currently the images taken by the camera are very crude and grainy
Prof Nayar said the route to creating the device opened up when he realised that solar panels and digital cameras use almost the same component, known as a photodiode, to handle light. Working with engineers, Prof Nayar managed to create a photodiode that combined the light-sensing abilities of a camera with the power-converting properties seen in solar panels.
The next step was to use lots of the combined photodiodes to form a grid that both senses the intensity of light falling on it and converts some of that illumination into power that captures an image.
The prototype sensor grid is just 30 by 40 pixels in size and currently takes grainy black and white images. To demonstrate its abilities, Prof Nayar and colleagues used their self-powered camera to shoot a short film.
Prof Nayar told the BBC that the next step in development was to make a self-powered, solid-state image sensor with many more pixels that could then be used to produce a standalone camera that could be used anywhere.
The self-powering sensor could also be used to lower the power consumption needs of smartphones and other gadgets, he said, or, when not being used to take pictures, could also function as an in-built power generator.
Turbo-swift floating trains sound like a thing of the future, but in Japan they’re already out there breaking records.
On Thursday, a maglev bullet train hit 366 miles per hour - the fastest train speed ever recorded. The locomotive, made by the company JR Central, is able to move so fast because it radically cuts down on friction with magnetics that lift the train nearly four inches off the tracks. And it’s super efficient, too: instead of relying on a fossil fuel-powered engine, the train is propelled forward by electrified coils that create a magnetic field.
But the record might not stand for long. Vox reports:
Company officials say the train can go even faster, and predict it could hit 372 mph during another test next week. It should eventually be used for a new line that will connect Tokyo and Nagoya, with trains routinely traveling as fast as 313 mph, cutting travel time to 40 minutes.
While maglev trains are also being developed in Germany and California has plans in the works for a high-speed rail that will be capable of speeds up to 200 mph, JR Central’s train beats out the fastest trans we currently have in the U.S. by a longshot.
By comparison, the fastest currently operating train in the US is Amtrak’s Acela, which runs at 150 mph for very brief segments of track in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, the majority of the Northeast line runs at 110 mph or slower, and most other parts of Amtrak’s network run at decidedly lower speeds.
The Wall Street Journal reports that JR Central wants to help us slow-moving Americans along, by implementing their technology in a rail between New York and Washington. All aboard!