Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Education boosts brain function long after school, study shows

One of the great things about homeschooling is that the children often become lifelong learners.  They are encouraged to pursue thoughts and ideas relating to different things that interest them.  When a homeschooled child shows an interest in comic books they may be steered to the book The Physics of Super Heroes.  When children are encouraged to find learning solutions when they are young they often carry this skill on through adulthood.  They don't rely on other people to tell them when to be curious and how to answer the questions they are asking themselves.  They learn in homeschool to ask questions and seek out interesting answers.  This creates a lifelong learner.

In a recent study the importance of education is shown in our aging population.  Benefits of education show up even four decades later.  This is an interesting study showing the importance of a positive educational experience even later in life.  At the same time it highlights, at least to me, the importance of helping young children find a love of learning.


Education significantly improves mental functioning in seniors even four decades after finishing school, shows a new study. The study shows that people who attended school for longer periods performed better in terms of cognitive functioning than those who did not. Using data from individuals aged around 60, the researchers found a positive impact of schooling on memory scores. The fact that young people or their parents did not choose whether to go longer to school strongly suggests that schooling is the cause rather than personal characteristics that would affect this choice and could also explain the differences in cognitive function. Read the full article HERE

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Military dads have to re-learn parenting after deployment

Fathers who returned after military service report having difficulty connecting with young children who sometimes don't remember them, according to a study released this week. While the fathers in the study had eagerly anticipated reuniting with their families, they reported significant stress, especially around issues of reconnecting with children, adapting expectations from military to family life, and co-parenting.

Read More

COMMENT: This is an important reminder to everyone who interacts with military families that there are some very unique and challenging factors when it comes to transitioning between military life and family life. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Areas of the brain process read and heard language differently

The brain processes read and heard language differently. Researchers have been able to determine the affected areas of the brain using speech processing tests with the aid of functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRT). Read More

COMMENT: Based on extensive research from the four children at our house it is clear that every child not only processes read and heard language differently but additionally each child has a different learning process that works best for them.  This research is important because it gives parents and teachers a better understanding of the read vs. heard process of learning.  (This may also be helpful for husbands and wives who think they are communicating clearly with each other too but on occassion miss important messaging)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A job analysis of community health workers in the context of integrated nutrition and early child development.

A job analysis of community health workers in the context of integrated nutrition and early child development.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1308(1):183-91
Authors: Phuka J, Maleta K, Thomas M, Gladstone M

Stunting and poor child development are major public health concerns in Malawi. Integrated nutrition and early child development (ECD) interventions have shown potential to reduce stunting, but it is not known how these integrated approaches can be implemented in Malawi. In this paper, we aimed to evaluate the current jobs status of community health workers and their potential to implement integrated approaches. This was accomplished by a desk review of nutrition and ECD policy documents, as well as interviews with key informants, community health workers, and community members. We found that Malawi has comprehensive policies and well-outlined coordination structures for nutrition and ECD that advocate for integrated approaches. Strong multidisciplinary interaction exists at central levels but not at the community level. Integration of community health workers from different sectors is limited by workload, logistics, and a lack of synchronized work schedules. Favorable, sound policies and well-outlined coordination structures alone are not enough for the establishment of integrated nutrition and ECD activities. Balanced bureaucratic structures, improved task allocation, and synchronization of work schedules across all relevant sectors are needed for integrated intervention in Malawi.

Read More

Integrating early child development programs into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh: benefits and challenges.

Integrating early child development programs into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh: benefits and challenges.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Jan;1308(1):192-203
Authors: Hamadani JD, Nahar B, Huda SN, Tofail F

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries of the world with the highest population density. The Bangladesh government recognizes the educational and financial benefits of early childhood development (ECD) and has incorporated ECD into the national plan of action. However, ECD activities are not fully established in the country and there have been few evaluations. In this paper, we present ECD programs that are integrated into health and nutrition services in Bangladesh. We present four evaluation reports of such programs and we also include seven published research projects showing evidence that such integrations are feasible. We provide short reviews on coverage, methodology, and effects of the published reports and share our experience of challenges faced and steps taken to solve them. Overall, very few programs are based on scientific evidence and fewer are even evaluated. The research projects so far conducted are promising and there is sufficient evidence on feasibility of integrating ECD activities into nutrition and health programs. Suggestions are made on measures to overcome the implementation problems and on suitable methods to establish high-quality ECD programs in Bangladesh and in other low- and middle-income countries.

Read More