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Study: Infants can Learn to Associate Ethnicity with Language

The research was done in Vancouver, Canada where approximately nine per cent of the population can speak Cantonese

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ethnicity, languages, infants
This study suggests young infants pick up on specific language-ethnicity pairings based on the faces and languages they encounter, researchers said. Pixabay

A study has found that babies as young as 11-month-olds can learn to associate the language they hear with ethnicity. Published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, the research found that infants looked at faces of Asian descendents rather than at those who looked Caucasian when hearing the Cantonese language versus English.

“Our findings suggest that by 11 months, infants start making connections between languages and ethnicities based on the individuals they encounter in their environments,” said Lillian May, Professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

“In learning about language, infants are doing more than picking up sounds and sentences, they also learn about the speakers of language,” she added. The research was done in Vancouver, Canada where approximately nine per cent of the population can speak Cantonese.

infants, language, ethnicity
“In learning about language, infants are doing more than picking up sounds and sentences, they also learn about the speakers of language,” she added. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers played English-learning infants of Caucasian ancestry sentences in both English and Cantonese and showed them pictures of people of Caucasian descent and of Asian descent.

ALSO READ: Study: Students who Take Music Courses Tend to Score Better in Exams than Non-Musical Peers

When the infants heard Cantonese, they looked more at the Asian faces than when they were hearing English. When they heard English, they looked equally to Asian and Caucasian faces.

This study suggests young infants pick up on specific language-ethnicity pairings based on the faces and languages they encounter, researchers said. “The link between speaker characteristics and language is something no one has to teach babies. They learn it all on their own,” said Janet Werker, Professor at the varsity. (IANS)

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High Level Of Insulin in Infants May Rise Chances Of Brain Damage

"One of the problems facing clinicians is that it's really difficult to predict which babies will have problems after surgical treatment," said Karen Cosgrove, from the varsity.

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brain
Spreading focal lesions are generally larger and spread outwards into areas of healthy cells, while isolated focal lesions, have a capsule around them that keeps the diseased cells separate from healthy cells. Pixabay

Babies born with abnormally high levels of insulin are at the risk of suffering permanent brain damage and life-long disability, finds a study that showed it’s possible to predict when and how the condition may affect the child in the long-term.

The generally rare condition, called congenital hyperinsulinism, can also be as common as cystic fibrosis in children born into communities where cousins marry.

So far, scientists understood that there were two main subtypes of the disease known as diffuse — affects the entire pancreas — and focal — affects just one area of the organ.

baby
In contrast, in infants with isolated lesions, the disease was diagnosed later and surgery to remove the lesion was less complicated. Pixabay

In contrast, in infants with isolated lesions, the disease was diagnosed later and surgery to remove the lesion was less complicated.

The new study, led by a team from the University of Manchester in the UK, showed that focal CHI can be further categorised into two types — spreading focal lesions and isolated focal lesions.

Spreading focal lesions are generally larger and spread outwards into areas of healthy cells, while isolated focal lesions, have a capsule around them that keeps the diseased cells separate from healthy cells.

For the study, published in the Frontiers in Endocrinology journal, the team investigated the cases of 25 infants with focal CHI to see how the two types of lesions influenced their long-term outcomes.

They found babies with spreading focal lesions suffered more severely from the disease and were diagnosed earlier. These infants were more likely to suffer brain damage, which permanently affected their development, learning and behaviour.

insulin
The generally rare condition, called congenital hyperinsulinism, can also be as common as cystic fibrosis in children born into communities where cousins marry. Pixabay

In contrast, in infants with isolated lesions, the disease was diagnosed later and surgery to remove the lesion was less complicated.

These data help to explain why newborn babies diagnosed with the same disease may go on to have very different outcomes and could influence the way clinicians choose to manage each new case of CHI.

Also  Read:‘Model Chinese’ Parents Who Spent Their Careers As Loyal Civil Servants, Get Free of Uyghur Exile After Daughter’s Interview

“One of the problems facing clinicians is that it’s really difficult to predict which babies will have problems after surgical treatment,” said Karen Cosgrove, from the varsity.

“Our data gives some important clues that will help clinicians to know how much extra care each baby is likely to need,” Cosgrove said. (IANS)