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Sunday, February 28, 2010

TV watching and young children

TV has become an essential part of our homes and this media is the most popular form of entertainment. Young children also become addict of tv watching as they grow. But are we neglecting the bad effects of tv watching by not monitoring the schedule of our kids sitting in front of tv?

Not only that there are many harmful effects of tv watching, it is proved by research that tv watching may cause or trigger the cause of autism among young children.

A study at Cornell University performed in 2006 showed that a statistically significant relationship exists between autism rates and television habits of children under three. Other evidence showed that the more time toddlers spent watching television the more likely they were to develop autism-related symptoms. The correlation seemed to coincide with the increased prevalence of cable television and VCR availability in homes during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
It was concluded that nearly 40 percent of autism diagnoses in the three states studied is the result of television watching." Thus the study has two separate findings: that having cable television in the home increased autism rates in California and Pennsylvania somewhat, and that more hours of actually watching television increased autism in California, Oregon, and Washington by a lot.
This is not to say that the researchers found a direct correlation between television and autism, only that there is a relationship. The researchers do not claim television to be a "cause" of autism, only that television may "trigger" symptoms. There is also no indication as to how television may be a factor so there is a lot of objection to the validity of the findings. One such retort is the possibility that indoor air quality may be a bigger factor in triggering autistic symptoms than television.
Unfortunately the researches made a pretty hefty leap of faith in their testing. Their conclusions are based on data collected in areas with high rates of precipitation. They assumed that on rainy days children spent more time inside and thus watched television during that time. This led to evidence that these areas had greater instances of autism which could lead some to argue that rain has just as much causality as television when it comes to autism.
In 2003, a survey by the U.S. Department of Education found that autism rates were higher in northern, less sunny states while southern, sunnier states had lower autism cases. This led them to wonder if the issue was more with vitamin D deficiency rather than indoor air quality, rainy weather, or television.
Despite these conclusions and the lack of any follow up studies, looking at how television affects us on a biological level as a whole is well worth investigating. Psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman analyzed 35 different scientific studies and found that television is harmful in many different ways, including the following:
• Television has been linked to eyesight damage.
• Television disrupts sleep patterns.
• Television disrupts your attention span.
• Television plays a large role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
• Television may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's.
• Television suppresses the production of melatonin which can lead to cancerous cell mutations. Lower melatonin levels may also be a factor in why girls are reaching puberty at a much earlier age than in the 1950s.
• Brain scans show that within 30 seconds of starting to watch television, a critical part of your thinking brain shuts down.
On top of all this, a study by the American Heart Association found that watching television is as bad for your heart as smoking or high cholesterol. The numbers are staggering. For ever hour spent watching television, your risk of death increases by nearly 11 percent. Four hours in front of the television increases your risk of heart attack by 80 percent.

Related links:
* 'Does Watching TV Cause Autism?'

* 'TV Really Might Cause Autism'

* 'Cornell University research report'

* 'Children and the Media: Control the Effects of Television Watching with Literacy Programs'

* How addiction of Watching TV is affecting our lives?
* TV watching may cause psychological distress among children

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Discover interesting facts around the world

There are many family friendly sites with amazing or interesting facts around the world. As internet has become an ultimate source of information, we usually find it easy to browse through the net world.

You would amazed to read or browse through these weird, amazing, interesting and fun facts like:

# No piece of normal-size paper can be folded in half more than 7 times.
# Blueberry juice boosts memory
# When cats are happy or pleased, they sqeeze their eyes shut
# Buttermilk does not contain any butter
# Before toilet paper was invented, French royalty wiped their bottoms with fine linen
# The earth is about 6,588,000,000,000,000,000 tons in weight
# A goldfish has a memory span of about 3 seconds
# There are 86,400 seconds in day
# The parachute was invented by DiVinci in 1515
# Ants never sleep
# The human brain is 80% water

Sites with interesting and fun facts

* 'Interesting facts' says about itself: 'Something similar to Wikipedia, but offering "QUALITY" interesting facts about anything that could tickle your brain. There are many facts in this world that should be known by everyone. We are trying spread the word about all the good and bad things that might interest you.'

'World Interesting Facts' give You a broad range of interesting facts around our world. You can find Animal, Plant, Human, and other Interesting Facts Around Our Life. Each category has many posts relating to that specific topic.

Few popular post titles are:

1. 10 Most Unique Plants
2. 5 Most Poisonous Plants in The World
3. Top 10 Most Expensive Comics in the World
4. 7 most terrifying roller coaster in the world
5. 5 most Cruel Animal's Mom
6. 10 Most Anticipated Amazing Games in 2010
7. 10 Most Expensive Toys in the World

You can get the updates of the site by getting free subscription to their newsletter.

Related useful links:
* 'General interesting facts'

* '40 interesting facts' at 'davesdaily'

* 'Interesting fun facts' at 'munising'

* Interesting Facts about Earth / World

Raising awareness about Autism and Asperger Syndrome among children

Shah Rukh Khan's block buster movie 'My Name Is Khan' is a theme based love story about a child with 'Asperger syndrome'. These kind of movies help raising awareness about the kids around our society with special needs. Media is playing an important role about spreading information about kids showing abnormal behaviors.

Hollywood movies about these topics are:

o Rain Man: (1988 Golden Globe Winner for Best Film) a story of Raymond Babbitt, an autistic savant, who is being cared for by his younger brother played by actor Tom Cruise.
o Mozart and the Whale: Starring Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell, Mozart and the Whale is a story of two individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome who develop a romantic relationship after meeting at an autism support group. Mozart and the Whale, released in 2005, has drawn praise by many in the autism community for showing that individuals on the autism spectrum can and do have happy, loving relationships.
o Snow Cake: Released in 2006, Snow Cake stars Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver playing the role of Linda Freeman. Freeman is a high-functioning autistic who gets entwined with an ex-convict and her small town’s harlot.
o Autism the Musical: It is a documentary that follows the lives of five children with autism that write and produce their own musical. According to Blockbuster Online, “at a time when one in 150 children born in the United States is diagnosed with autism, filmmaker Tricia Regan takes an optimistic approach to this troubling trend.”

According to the Autism Research Institute, an "autistic savant refers to individuals with autism who have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons.”

One in every 110 children born in the Unites States will display some form of autism spectrum disorder, making it the fastest growing developmental disability.

Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder and one type of autism spectrum disorder. Asperger syndrome develops in childhood and can impact a child's ability to socialize and communicate normally. The difference between the two disorders is that people with Asperger syndrome develop and can use language skills, while people with autism disorder have severe delays in developing language skills as a child and often lose what they have learned as they grow.

Parents should be vigilant about monitoring all aspects of their child's development and mental health. Teachers at school can also play an important role by keeping a note of kid's mental development record to identify any kind of symptoms of disability in learning.

Symptoms of ADHD: The predominant symptoms or behaviors of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These behaviors result in further symptoms, including difficulties with concentration, controlling behavior, and remaining focused on a task or activity. People with ADHD may also experience hyperactivity or over-activity.
More at:'Introduction to ADHD'

Symptoms of Autism: Problems with both verbal and non-verbal communication, trouble sharing emotions, lack of understanding of how others think and feel, or repetitive behaviors such as repeating words or actions and playing in repetitive ways.

o Impaired social interaction
o Not responding to name
o Not look at people
o Not smiling - note that normal newborns do not smile for several weeks
o Avoid eye contact

More at: 'Autism'

Related useful links:

* Autism Research Institute: 'Autism'

* Top 10 Health Resources on Autism Videos
* 'Top 10 Health Resources on ADHD Videos and compiled helpful research notes'
* ADHD and Autism- Is There a Connection?
* A recent 'Science Daily' report: 'Autism Problems Explained In New Research'

Monday, February 22, 2010

Letter writing and our digital age


Being in digital age, we rely on computers, laptops, PDA's and hand held devices for communication purposes. Email is the alternative way of snail mail or regular mail system. Correspondence is the way of exchanging thoughts, and delivering messages can be done electronically very fast and with ease. Letter writing is a matter of touching the keyboard but still there are many of us who love to read or write letters (hand written). This post contains some sayings or proverbs about 'letters' and there are some links to the posts or sites with love letters, funny letters, famous letters or fascinating letters.

'Letters'

- Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.
Send quote to a friend
Lord Byron (1788-1824) British poet.


- A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises. One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath.
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Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German-Swiss philosopher and writer.

- The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains. (Proverb)

- Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, novelist and dramatist.

- “What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.”

- A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises. One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwords take a bath.
Friedrich Nietzsche

- Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose. In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires...
Elizabeth Hardwick

- To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. ~Phyllis Theroux

Read more at: 'Quote Garden'

Useful link:
'Letters of of note' is a blog offering fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes and memos. It is from 'Shaun Usher' who is a freelance writer, and blogger.

Related posts and links:

* Peruse Famous and Fascinating Letters

* 5 Fascinating Letters from the Past

* Some of the most famous love letters of all times from celebrities of their time. 'Romantic love letters'

* 'Love letters' at 'links 2love'

* Funny Letters from Famous People

* An awesome post about 'letters' at 'I, Me and Myself' blog.

* 'The Letters You Keep' is an announcement from 'Crane' saying that 'To celebrate the tradition of letter writing, we welcome you to share a treasured letter that you've received and kept. One winner will be awarded a Crane stationery wardrobe for all of his or her correspondence needs, valued at $500. Crane will award $250 worth of Crane stationery to three runners up.'

Friday, February 19, 2010

Can food choices make your kids more intelligent or smart?

Food can help you become intelligent or smart. As a parent we know that our food should have some important elements such as it should contain protein, carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins and we try to make our food menus rich and fulfilling our daily needs. Our kids are getting sufficient supply of nutritious food and sometimes very rich food which is making our new generation fatter. This article is about tips which can help you determine and check your food menu if your kids are getting the perfect food helping them become smarter and intelligent. As these foods may trigger the brain cells as well.

Foods enhancing brain workout:

Proteins

Protein is the best way to get amino acids which are essential to brain health that the body cannot synthesize itself. A high-protein diet is usually recommended to athletes as it helps to build strong muscles, so give that brain a workout with protein-rich foods!

Spinach: Along with other leafy vegetables, spinach is a good dietary source of protein. An added benefit to spinach is that it contains anti-oxidants that can dispose of free radicals.

Nuts and Seeds: Another great source of protein. Easy to snack on and readily available, nuts/seeds/whole grain foods make for a great way to easily improve your brain power.

Eggs: Not only do they contain a large amount of protein for your brain, but they also carry a great deal of choline, a member of the B-Vitamin group and responsible for maintaining the health of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Fats

We often hear that we need more “omega-3” or that a food is rich in “omega-3”, so when you hear this, know that they’re referring to a type of fatty acid which is usually considered as being food for the brain as well as having the added benefit of reducing heart disease, amongst other things.

Seeds and Nuts: Returning again, seeds and nuts are a fantastic source of fatty acids, including the omega-3 variety of fatty acid. Prime examples of nuts or seeds will include almonds and pumpkin seeds.

Fish and Shellfish: Rich in fatty acids and omega-3, fish truly is food for thought. You’ll often find that people will claim fish is the number one food to make you more intelligent. Anything Oily: Except maybe for people, you’ll find that anything that’s vaguely oily (fish, flaxseed, soya oil, virgin olive oil) will be high in fatty acids and a lot of them will also contain decent amounts of omega-3 for added brain-boosting power.

Carbohydrates

When people think of carbohydrates, they might think of the “carbs” which are bad for them because they induce weight gain. But the truth is that carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for metabolism, the body breaks down carbohydrates and is in return supplied with energy to keep going, thus keeping your brain alert and active. The problem is knowing how much to have, for having too much can indeed lead to weight gain (as can too much of anything) and a high blood/sugar level, but can be partially countered with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, for example.

Starch-Rich Vegetables: Pastas, corn, carrots and potatoes are all high in carbohydrates and starch, providing the body (and therefore the brain) with an abundant energy source.

Whole Grain Foods: Another supply of energy can be found in common whole grain foods such as breads and cereals, things we commonly have for breakfast to give ourselves that much-needed wake-up boost in the mornings.

Minerals and Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals also contribute to the fight against harmful free radicals, as well as being full of anti-oxidants and other beneficial nutrients, they generally keep the body at its healthiest, maintaining the status quo, as it were. The building blocks of a healthy mind and body. Fruit and Vegetables: The most common and plentiful supplies of vitamins and minerals can be found in such everyday items as small portions of the most common fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, etc) and stir-fried/raw vegetables.

Vitamin Supplements: Supplements shouldn’t be frowned upon for any reason just because they come in little labeled boxes and containers. They can be an incredibly important and beneficial source of health for a person, however, it is important to stress the fact that one cannot live on supplements alone. Think of them as a booster to a well-balanced diet, greatly enhancing the effects of the nutrients contained within normal food.

Ref: 'Teaching tips'

Joy Bauer who is a registered dietitian and the author of several best-selling books, suggests:

When it comes to overall brain health, encourage kids to exercise, eat berries, and increase their intake of foods rich in omega-3 fats and folic acid. Exercise is important because it improves circulation, which increases oxygen flow to the brain.

Blueberries and other berries are powerhouses for young noggins. They’re among the best sources of anthocyanins and flavanols—chemicals that have been shown to increase connections between brain cells, enhancing learning ability and memory. Blueberries also are rich in antioxidants.

Numerous studies on omega-3s have shown that these essential fatty acids help fuel brain power and may be effective in reducing the risk of attention-deficit disorder and dyslexia. Omega-3 fats are especially abundant in salmon, sardines, fortified eggs, ground flax seeds, and walnuts.

Folic acid, a.k.a. folate, is a B vitamin that helps keep your memory sharp by lowering levels of homocysteine, a substance that can damage blood vessels and impede blood flow to the brain. Serve up an Ivy League-inspiring bowl of hearty soup brimming with lentils, beans, and broccoli, and you’ve hit the folic-acid trifecta.

Full article: 'Food to Make Kids Smart'

Related posts around the net:

* What Makes Kids Intelligent?

* 10 Bad Habits that Destruct Brain,Love your Brain

Best educational and free sites for K12 students

During my browsing for educational and resources sites, I was amazed to see so many blogs with a lot of useful information which were otherwise difficult to search around the net. 'Learning reviews' is one of those sites which is mainly a free resource site with reviews.

Site author 'Heidi Reina' is a parent, teacher, technology integrator and webmaster. She has more than 20 years of experience as a computer guru and fifteen years experience as a tutor and elementary school teacher.

Her blog 'Best Kids Educational Websites' is a source of free information and reviews for kids, parents and teachers.

Her site "Learning reviews" is a directory of educational web sites. The site helps K-12 students, teachers and parents to find worthwhile educational content appropriate to their grade levels. If offers listing of more than 2,100 mostly free educational sites.

LearningReviews.com provides a forum for reviews and ratings from you. Is the content of the educational website worthwhile? Is it easy to navigate? How did you use it in the classroom or at home?

What you can get at the site?

For Kids - Interactive learning tools in all subjects, including research paper help.
For Parents - Websites for learning support, homeschooling information & parenting skills.
For Teachers - Lesson resources from elementary school math lesson plans to high school writing
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