Saturday January 25, 2020

Infants And Adults Experience Same Brain Wavelength During Play: Study

The setup allowed the researchers to record the neural coordination between babies and an adult while they played with toys, sang songs and read a book

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The research team from Princeton University has conducted the study on how baby and adult brains interact during natural play, and they found measurable similarities in their neural activity. Pixabay

Researchers have found that infants and adults are likely to be on the same wavelength, experiencing similar brain activity in the same brain regions during play.

The research team from Princeton University has conducted the study on how baby and adult brains interact during natural play, and they found measurable similarities in their neural activity.

“Previous research has shown that adults’ brains sync up when they watch movies and listen to stories, but little is known about how this ‘neural synchrony’ develops in the first years of life,” said the study’s first author Elise Piazza from Princeton University.

According to the findings, published in the journal Psychological Science, the research team has posted that neural synchrony has important implications for social development and language learning.

Studying real-life, face-to-face communication between babies and adults is quite difficult.

But to study real-time communication, the researchers developed a new dual-brain neuroimaging system that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which is highly safe and records oxygenation in the blood as a proxy for neural activity.

The setup allowed the researchers to record the neural coordination between babies and an adult while they played with toys, sang songs and read a book.

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Researchers have found that infants and adults are likely to be on the same wavelength, experiencing similar brain activity in the same brain regions during play. Pixabay

The same adult interacted with all 42 infants and toddlers who participated in the study.

Of those, 21 had to be excluded because they “squirmed excessively,” and three others flat-out refused to wear the cap, leaving 18 children, ranging in age from nine months to 15 months.

The experiment had two portions. In one, the adult experimenter spent five minutes interacting directly with a child — playing with toys, singing nursery rhymes or reading Goodnight Moon — while the child sat on their parent’s lap.

In the other, the experimenter turned to the side and told a story to another adult while the child played quietly with their parent.

The caps collected data from 57 channels of the brain known to be involved in prediction, language processing and understanding other people’s perspectives.

When they looked at the data, the researchers found that during the face-to-face sessions, the babies’ brains were synchronized with the adult’s brain in several areas known to be involved in high-level understanding of the world — perhaps helping the children decode the overall meaning of a story or analyse the motives of the adult reading to them.

When the adult and infant were turned away from each other and engaging with other people, the coupling between them disappeared.

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To study real-time communication, the researchers developed a new dual-brain neuroimaging system that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which is highly safe and records oxygenation in the blood as a proxy for neural Play activity. Pixabay

That fit with researchers’ expectations, but the data also had surprises in store.

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“We were also surprised to find that the infant brain was often ‘leading’ the adult brain by a few seconds, suggesting that babies do not just passively receive input but may guide adults toward the next thing they’re going to focus on: which toy to pick up, which words to say,” said study researcher Lew-Williams. (IANS)

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Lower Physical Activity in Adulthood Leads to Obesity: Study

Adulthood linked to lower amount of physical activity

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Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a drop in the amount of physical activity. Pixabay

Leaving school and getting a job both lead to a drop in the amount of physical activity and may lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, while becoming a mother is linked to increased weight gain, researchers have found.

Many people tend to put on weight as they leave adolescence and move into adulthood and this is the age when the levels of obesity increase the fastest, the study said.

This weight gain is related to changes in diet and physical activity behaviour across the life events of early adulthood, including the move from school to further education and employment, starting new relationships and having children.

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Many people tend to put on weight as they leave adolescence and move into adulthood due to less physical activity. Pixabay

“This evidence suggests that the pressures of university, employment and childcare drive changes in behaviour which are likely to be bad for long-term health,” said study researcher Eleanor Winpenny from University of Cambridge in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Obesity Reviews, researchers looked at changes in physical activity, diet and body weight as young adults move from education into employment and to becoming a parent.

To do this, they carried out systematic reviews and meta-analyses of existing scientific literature.

In the first of the two studies, the research team looked at the evidence relating to the transition from high school into higher education or employment and how this affects body weight, diet and physical activity.

In total, they found 19 studies covering ages 15-35 years, of which 17 assessed changes in physical activity, three body weight, and five diet or eating behaviours.

The team found that leaving high school was associated with a decrease of seven minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

The decrease was larger for males than it was for females (a decrease of 16.4 minutes per day for men compared to 6.7 minutes per day for women).

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According to the researchers, most studies including physical activity showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents. Pixabay

More detailed analysis revealed that the change is largest when people go to university, with overall levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity falling by 11.4 minutes per day.

In the second study, the team looked at the impact of becoming a parent on weight, diet and physical activity.

A meta-analysis of six studies found the difference in change in body mass index (BMI) between remaining without children and becoming a parent was 17 per cent: a woman of average height (164 cm) who had no children gained around 7.5 kg over five to six years, while a mother of the same height would gain an additional 1.3 kg.

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These equate to increases in BMI of 2.8 versus 3.3. According to the researchers, most studies including physical activity showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents.

The research team found limited evidence for diet, which did not seem to differ between parents and non-parents. (IANS)