Music Students Do Better In Maths And Science (M)

Music students end up one academic year ahead of their non-musical peers.

Music students end up one academic year ahead of their non-musical peers.


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An Early Indicator Of Poor Mental Health

A common childhood complaint that hints at depression and anxiety later on.

A common childhood complaint that hints at depression and anxiety later on.

Stomach aches, nausea and other gut problems in childhood could indicate mental health problems later on, new research suggests.

The study of children who were separated from their biological parents at a young age found they experienced more gut problems.

Brain scans revealed that gut problems were also linked to abnormal activity in parts of the brain that process emotions.

The finding raises the prospect that probiotics may help treat some people.

The gut-brain link is underlined by the fact that over half of adults with irritable bowel syndrome have a history of trauma or abuse.

This is twice the rate of those without childhood traumas.

Professor Nim Tottenham, study co-author, said:

“One common reason children show up at doctors’ offices is intestinal complaints.

Our findings indicate that gastrointestinal symptoms in young children could be a red flag to primary care physicians for future emotional health problems.”

The study included 115 adopted children and 229 children raised by their biological parents.

The results showed that children with disrupted childhoods were more likely to suffer from constipation, stomach aches, nausea and vomiting.

Dr Bridget Callaghan, the study’s first author, said:

“Our study is among the first to link disruption of a child’s gastrointestinal microbiome triggered by early-life adversity with brain activity in regions associated with emotional health.”

The researchers took a closer look at 8 children from each group, carrying out brain scans and gene sequencing.

These demonstrated that those with disrupted childhoods had less diversity of bacteria in their gut.

Brain scans showed that patterns of activity were also linked to the types of bacteria in their gut.

Professor Tottenham explained:

“It is too early to say anything conclusive, but our study indicates that adversity-associated changes in the gut microbiome are related to brain function, including differences in the regions of the brain associated with emotional processing.”

The research suggests probiotics may help some people, said Dr Callaghan:

“Animal studies tell us that dietary interventions and probiotics can manipulate the gut microbiome and ameliorate the effects of adversity on the central nervous system, especially during the first years of life when the developing brain and microbiome are more plastic.

It is possible that this type of research will help us to know if and how to best intervene in humans, and when.”

The study was published in the journal Development and Psychopathology (Callaghan et al., 2019).

The Personality Trait That Makes Children Smarter

The children ate better, slept better and were in stronger control of their emotions.

The children ate better, slept better and were in stronger control of their emotions.

Mothers who believe they have control over their lives raise smarter children, new research finds.

Psychologists call it an ‘internal locus of control’ and people with this trait do not blame outside forces, or fate.

Instead, they believe in choice and consequences.

Mothers who think like this have children who score better in tests of maths and science.

These mothers were also more likely to:

  • feed their children brain-healthy diets,
  • read stories to them,
  • and show interest in their school work.

As a result of believing that what they do matters, children eat better, sleep better and are in stronger control of their emotions.

Professor Jean Golding, the study’s first author, said:

“It is widely known that the locus of control of a child is strongly associated with their academic achievements but until now we didn’t know if mothers’ locus of control orientation during pregnancy had a role to play in early childhood.

Thanks to the longitudinal data from Children of the 90s study we can now make these associations.”

The Children of the 90s study started with 14,541 pregnant women in England who have been followed since 1992.

The results showed that mothers who had an internal locus of control brought up smarter children.

Professor Stephen Nowicki, study co-author, said:

“Internal parents believe that they have behavioural choices in life.

…when they expect life outcomes to be linked to what they do their children eat better, sleep better and are better able to control their emotions.

Such children later in childhood are also more likely to have greater academic achievements, fewer school related personal and social difficulties and less likelihood of being obese.

Parents are not necessarily stuck with how their current locus of control, said Professor Nowicki:

“It is possible for a parent to change their outlook; we’ve demonstrated in the past that parents who become more internal (i.e. learn to see the connections between what they do and what happens to their children) improved their parenting skills which would have a positive effect on their children’s personal, social and academic lives.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Golding et al., 2019).

The Brains Of Psychopathic Children Are Smaller (M)

Cold and unemotional children tend to have smaller brains along with differences in how areas of their brain are connected.

Cold and unemotional children tend to have smaller brains along with differences in how areas of their brain are connected.


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The Worst Parenting Style For Children

This parenting style raises delinquent children.

This parenting style raises delinquent children.

Authoritarian parents are more likely to raise children who are disrespectful and delinquent, research finds.

Parents who are authoritarian tend to have very high standards for their children, punish them severely and are also cold and non-nurturing.

They have no patience with bad behaviour, they don’t trust their children and they do not negotiate.

The problem is that children do not see them as legitimate authority figures — which is what creates problems.

Dr Rick Trinkner, the study’s first author, said:

“When children consider their parents to be legitimate authority figures, they trust the parent and feel they have an obligation to do what their parents tell them to do.

This is an important attribute for any authority figure to possess, as the parent does not have to rely on a system of rewards and punishments to control behavior, and the child is more likely to follow the rules when the parent is not physically present.”

The authoritative parenting style, in comparison to the authoritarian style, is an effective way to raise children.

An authoritative parent can be both controlling and demanding, but is also warm and receptive to children.

Authoritative parents gain their children’s trust by explaining the reasons for the rules and listening to their child’s input.

Dr Trinkner said:

“Our results showed that parental legitimacy was an important mechanism by which parenting styles affected adolescent behavior.”

Adolescents who perceived parents as legitimate were then less likely to engage in delinquent behavior.

Thus, authoritative parenting may be more effective than the other styles because this style makes adolescents more willing to accept their parents’ attempts to socialize them and subsequently follow their rules.”

The conclusions come from data collected through the New Hampshire Youth Study, which looked at the factors affecting adolescent delinquency.

Authoritarian parents were not seen positively by their children, said Dr Trinkner:

“Conversely, authoritarian parents have the opposite effect in that they actually reduce the likelihood of their children perceiving their authority as legitimate.

Adolescents from authoritarian parents are more likely to resist their parents’ attempts at socialization.”

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence (Trinkner et al., 2012).