ADHD kids learn when they squirm
Contrary to conventional wisdom, new research suggests that children with ADHD learn better when they’re able to fidget and squirm while they study. That runs counter to the typical response to ADHD behavior in classrooms, which is to try to control hyperactivity.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida drew this conclusion after conducting a study of 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, which is the system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks.
The researchers found that the majority of kids with ADHD who moved the most performed better on the tests. At the same time, kids without ADHD who squirmed during the test actually performed worse.
Rather than try to subdue the hyperactive tendencies of kids with ADHD, the researchers suggested that most students with ADHD could perform better on classroom work, tests and homework if they’re sitting on activity balls or exercise bikes.
Antibiotic resistance found in remote South American tribe
Scientists from the U.S. and Venezuela have discovered antibiotic resistant genes in the bacteria of the members of a South American tribe that has had no contact with the industrialized world or exposure to antibiotic drugs.That suggests that antibiotic resistant genes can occur naturally in the human body and may not be solely a response to exposure to antibiotics.
Current thinking is that antibiotic resistance has stemmed from inappropriate overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. However, this new study of the Yanomami Amerindians, tribe that has lived away from civilization in the mountains of southern Venezuela for thousands of years, provides evidence that resistance genes have been in the human microbiome long before the invention of modern antibiotics.
To conduct their study, the team exposed bacteria from members of the tribe to 23 different antibiotics and found the drugs were able to kill all of them. But when they ran further tests, the researchers found the bacteria contained “silent” resistance genes that were activated by exposure to the antibiotics. The results showed cultured bacteria from the tribe members contained many resistance genes that can fight off many modern antibiotics.
The team offered a possible explanation for this finding, a concept known as “cross-resistance.” This is where genes that help bacteria resist natural antibiotics can also help them resist related synthetic drugs.
Can happiness be spread through smell of sweat?
Time to stop badmouthing sweat. According to research at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, our sweat contains chemicals—called chemosignals—and when we’re happy, our chemosignals can be spread to others nearby. The researchers say this happiness effect can be contagious, not unlike an infectious smile.
Past studies have suggested that chemical compounds in sweat can send negative emotions to others, But the researchers noted that few studies have looked at whether this is also true for positive emotions.
So they oversaw a double-blind experiment, including both men and women. First, the team had a group of men attach absorbent pads to their armpits and watch video clips that were supposed to produce one of three emotions: fear, happiness, or neutral. Then, the women were asked to smell a sweat sample of each type of emotion the men experienced. At the same time, the researchers analyzed their facial expressions to determine the emotions they felt as they smelled each sample.
The researchers found that women who smelled the “happy sweat” showed facial muscle activity associated with happy expressions. They also found that women exposed to happy sweat showed a “perceptual-processing style” commonly associated with happiness.
The team suggested that the odor industry could benefit from the study by applying the science of transferring happiness to others through chemical odors.
Electric brain stimulation may boost creativity
Sending small doses of electrical currents to the brain may be able to stimulate creativity, based on recent research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
The team of scientists stimulated the brains of adults using a low 10-Hertz current via electrodes placed on the scalp. This current, researchers said, targets the alpha oscillation brain patterns, which run on frequencies between 8 and 12 Hertz. This pattern is most commonly triggered when we close our eyes and daydream, meditate or brainstorm, a time when we tend to reduce our senses - cutting out things we see, hear, taste, feel and smell.
The team studied 20 healthy adults with two sessions. One electrode was placed on each side of the front of the scalp and a third was placed on the back. In the first session, 10-hertz currents were sent to the brain for five minutes. then participants were asked to take the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, a well-known comprehensive test, for the next 25 minutes. The second session was the same, except the participants’ brains received the electrical current for the entire 30 minutes.
The team found that brain stimulation for 30 minutes generated creative test scores that were 7.4 percentage points higher than when using the current for five minutes. Researchers further tested the results by increasing the frequency to 40 Hertz - which triggers the gamma brain pattern in charge of processing things we touch, hear or see. This, they said, had no effect on creativity.
The researchers believe this technique may help those with severe premenstrual syndrome, or those struggling with depression who suffer from thought blocks or disconnect with reality.
The study is published in the journal Cortex.