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Teaching vocab to kids early may lead to better academics, behavior

( Two-year-old children with larger oral vocabularies enter U.S. kindergarten classrooms better at reading and mathematics as well as better behaved, according to a team of researchers lead by Paul Morgan, associate professor of education policy studies, Penn State. Other research has found that children who are doing better academically in kindergarten are more likely to go to college, get married, own homes and live in higher-income households. "Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary's theorized importance as a multifaceted contributor to children's early development," Morgan said. Morgan, who worked with researchers at Penn State, the University of California, Irvine, and Columbia University, examined data from parental surveys reporting on the size of their children's vocabularies at two years of age. The researchers found that vocabulary gaps between groups of U.S. children were already evident by this early time period. Females, those from more economically advantaged families, and those receiving higher quality parenting had larger oral vocabularies. Children born with low birth weight or who were being raised by mothers with health problems had smaller vocabularies. When Morgan and his colleagues looked at how the children were doing three years later in kindergarten, they found that children with larger vocabularies at two years of age were better readers, knew more about mathematics, were more attentive and task persistent, and were less likely to engage in acting out- or anxious-type behaviors. This was the case even after adjusting for the family's economic resources, the children's prior cognitive functioning and behavior, and many other factors. The research appears in the latest edition of Child Development and supports prior studies showing that vocabulary differences emerge very early during children's development and help to explain later differences in how children are doing in school. The study's findings underscore the importance of early intervention. "Our findings are also consistent with prior work suggesting that parents who are stressed, overburdened, less engaged and who experience less social support may talk, read, or otherwise interact with their children less frequently, resulting in their children acquiring smaller oral vocabularies," Morgan explained. "Interventions may need to be targeted to two-year-olds being raised in disadvantaged home environments," Morgan's colleague George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, said, adding that home visitation programs that provide assistance to disadvantaged, first-time mothers before and after childbirth may help clarify the role parents play by connecting them to various social services and support systems.


Penn State colleagues Marianna Hillemeier, professor of health policy and administration and demography and Steve Maczuga, research programmer and analyst for Penn State's Population Research Institute, as well as Carol Scheffner Hammer, professor of communication science at Columbia University, also contributed to this research. The National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institutes of Health supported this work.


GVSU professor finds social surveys no longer accurately measure sex and gender in US

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- New research released by professors from Grand Valley State University and Stanford University reveals most social surveys in the U.S. are not measuring what surveyors think is being measured in regard to sex and gender. "The way that surveys have historically measured sex and gender and how they still continue to do so does not align with current gender theory or lived experiences," said Laurel Westbrook, associate professor of sociology at Grand Valley and co-author of the study. "While gender theorists see sex and gender as separate concepts, surveys ...

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria
Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, scientists have found. PLOS ONE is publishing the study of a chestnut leaf extract, rich in ursene and oleanene derivatives, that blocks Staphlococcus aureus virulence and pathogenesis without detectable resistance. The use of chestnut leaves in traditional folk remedies inspired the research, led by Cassandra Quave, an ethnobotanist at Emory University. "We've identified a family of compounds from this plant that have an ...

Improving cardiorespiratory fitness reduces risk of arrhythmia recurrence

WASHINGTON (August 24, 2015) -- Obese atrial fibrillation patients have a lower chance of arrhythmia recurrence if they have high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, and risk continues to decline as exercise capacity increases as part of treatment, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Cardiorespiratory fitness gain provides an incremental gain over weight loss in long-term freedom from arrhythmia. "While weight loss is important for heart disease patients, especially those with arrhythmia, our study shows it's ...

Study finds that genetic ancestry partially explains 1 racial sleep difference

DARIEN, IL - A new study clearly establishes a partial genetic basis underlying racial differences in slow-wave sleep, suggesting that it may be possible to develop sleep-related therapies that target specific genetic variants. Using a panel of 1,698 ancestry informative genetic markers, the study found that greater African genetic ancestry was associated with lower amounts of slow-wave sleep in African-American adults. African ancestry explained 11 percent of the variation in slow-wave sleep after adjustment for potential confounders. Although a similar association was ...

Graphene oxide's secret properties revealed at atomic level

Since its discovery, graphene has captured the attention of scientists and engineers for its many extraordinary properties. But graphene oxide -- an oxidized derivative of graphene -- largely has been viewed as graphene's inferior cousin. "Graphene is so perfect," said Northwestern Engineering's Jiaxing Huang. "And graphene oxide is more defective, so it's like the weaker, less exciting version of graphene." Now a Northwestern University team has found that graphene oxide's seemingly undesirable defects surprisingly give rise to exciting mechanical properties. Led by ...

Superlattice design realizes elusive multiferroic properties

From the spinning disc of a computer's hard drive to the varying current in a transformer, many technological devices work by merging electricity and magnetism. But the search to find a single material that combines both electric polarizations and magnetizations remains challenging. This elusive class of materials is called multiferroics, which combine two or more primary ferroic properties. Northwestern University's James Rondinelli and his research team are interested in combining ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity, which rarely coexist in one material at room temperature. "Researchers ...

Physician support key to successful weight loss, study shows

A review of survey data from more than 300 obese people who participated in a federally funded weight loss clinical trial found that although the overall weight loss rates were modest, those who rated their primary care doctor's support as particularly helpful lost about twice as many pounds as those who didn't. In a report on the study by Johns Hopkins researchers, published in the Aug. 21 issue of Patient Education and Counseling, the researchers say the findings could inform the development of weight loss programs that give primary care physicians a starring role. Researchers ...

Study finds tests used to measure internal bleeding for patients may not be reliable

A recently-published study found that while internal bleeding may be uncommon as a result of taking blood thinners such as Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) and Eliquis® (apixaban), the normal coagulation tests physicians use to check for the side effect of bleeding may not be reliable. The study, published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that in cases reported to Poison Centers, the routine labs used to monitor for clotting factors, such as prothrombin time (PT), PTT or INR commonly ordered to help diagnose internal bleeding may be elevated in a minority of ...

NASA sees diminutive Hurricane Danny from space

NASA sees diminutive Hurricane Danny from space
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured an image of Hurricane Danny moving through the Central Atlantic Ocean. Satellite data indicates that Danny is a small Category 2 hurricane, in which hurricane-force winds only extend 15 miles from the eye. A NASA GOES Project animation of visible and infrared imagery of Hurricane Danny was created at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland to show the development and movement of the storm. The animation shows the eastern and central Atlantic Ocean from Aug. 18 to 21, 2015. Forecaster Cangialosi ...

All together now: Group behavior in biomolecular systems

All together now: Group behavior in biomolecular systems
"Flocking" or "swarming" behavior is omnipresent in the living world, observed in birds, fish, and even bacteria. Strikingly similar collective action can also be seen in biomolecules within and between cells. Such self-organization processes are the basis of life - without them no living cell would exist - yet they are not well understood. New insights into how this action is coordinated at the biomolecular level are emerging from studies of a model system based on actin filaments. Experimental evidence proves the inadequacy of widely accepted explanations, according to ...


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