Here’s how MRI may Predict Intelligence Level in Children

MRI may predict intelligence level in children

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MRI
Researchers have found that MRI scanning can help predict the intelligence level in children. Pixabay

Researchers have used ensemble methods based on deep learning 3D analysis networks to answer the global Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) prevision challenge for children.

Importantly, they made predictions for both the fluid intelligence level and the target variable independent from age, gender, brain size or MRI scanner used.

MRI is a common technique used to obtain images of human internal organs and tissues. Scientists wondered whether the intelligence level can be predicted from an MRI brain image.

“Our team develops deep learning methods for computer vision tasks in MRI data analysis, amongst other things,” said study researcher Ekaterina Kondratyev from Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) in Russia.

“In this study, we applied ensembles of classifiers to 3D of super precision neural networks: with this approach, one can classify an image as it is, without first reducing its dimension and, therefore, without losing valuable information,” said Kondratyeva.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) database contains a total of over 11,000 structural and functional MRI images of children aged 9-10.

MRI
MRI is a common technique used to obtain images of human internal organs and tissues. Pixabay

In 2013, NIH launched the first grand-scale study of its kind in adolescent brain research, Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, to see if and how teenagers’ hobbies and habits affect their further brain development.

NIH scientists launched an international competition, making the enormous NIH database available to a broad community for the first time ever.

The participants were given a task of building a predictive model based on brain images.

As part of the competition, the Skoltech team applied neural networks for MRI image processing.

To do this, they built a network architecture enabling several mathematical models to be applied to the same data in order to increase the prediction accuracy, and used a novel ensemble method to analyse the MRI data.

In their recent study, Skoltech researchers focused on predicting the intelligence level, or the so called “fluid intelligence”, which characterises the biological abilities of the nervous system and has little to do with acquired knowledge or skills.

Importantly, they made predictions for both the fluid intelligence level and the target variable independent from age, gender, brain size or MRI scanner used.

Also Read- Severity of Autism Spectrum Disorder Varies Among Twins: Study

The results of the study helped find the correlation between the child’s “fluid intelligence” and brain anatomy.

Although the prediction accuracy is less than perfect, the models produced during this competition will help shed light on various aspects of cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of adolescents. (IANS)

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WHO Accuses Tobacco Industry of Luring Children Into Usage of Tobacco By Marketing Practices

WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices

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Children wear strings of cigarette and chewable tobacco and rehearse for a play on World No Tobacco Day in Gauhati, India. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

The World Health Organization accuses the tobacco industry of devious tactics to get children and young people hooked on their deadly tobacco and nicotine products.  In advance of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the WHO is launching a campaign to alert young people to the dangers they face from the industry’s manipulative practices.

More than 40 million young people aged 13 to 15 smoke and use other tobacco products. The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry tries to get children and young people hooked on tobacco early in life, knowing this will turn them into life-long smokers. Unfortunately, WHO says many smokers do not live very long.  Every year, it notes millions of people have their lives cut short because of cancers, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses.

Coordinator of WHO’s No Tobacco Unit, Vinayak Prasad, says the tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion a year to advertise its products.  He says much of this huge budget targets young people with attractive promotional campaigns. “At the moment, they are spending a million dollars an hour, which is by the time we finish our press conference, that is a million dollars spent,” said Prasad.  “And, why are they doing it?  They are doing it to find replacements users.  Eight million premature deaths every year.  So, they need to find new replacements.”

WHO says the industry sets its sights on the next generation of users by targeting children and young people in markets where tobacco products are not regulated and they can be manipulated easily. WHO is launching a new kit for school students aged 13 to 17 to protect them from the tobacco industry’s exploitative practices.  WHO Director of Health Promotion, Ruediger Krech says the kit alerts young people to the industry’s devious tactics and teaches them to say no.

Smoking Tobacco
WHO tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries. Pixabay

“The tool kit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth in like bubble-gum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows,” said Krech.

WHO is calling on all sectors of society to prevent the tobacco industry from preying on youth.  To reach a young audience, the agency is spreading its no tobacco message on  TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media. Health officials urge schools, celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship from the industry.  They call on TV and streaming services to stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen.

Also Read: Read PM Modi’s Letter To Indians amid COVID war

They say governments should ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and should enact strict tobacco control laws. (VOA)

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Apple Manages to Open Nearly Half of its Retail Stores Worldwide

Apple has reopened nearly 256 retail stores globally

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Apple
Nearly half of Apple retail stores are now open globally. Pixabay

Apple has managed to reopen nearly 256 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

“In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus’ spread,” according to Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien.

Apple
Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings at their stores to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Pixabay

“As time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in-store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months,” he added.

Also Read: VandaTheGod: Researchers Identify Super Hacker With 4,820 Records of Hacked Websites

Apple is taking some additional steps in most places. Throughout the day, Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19,” O’Brien elaborated. (IANS)

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Oil Pulling: An Ayurvedic Treatment to Boost Immunity

Oil pulling is an ancient treatment dateing back to more than 3,000 years

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Oil pulling
Oil pulling can boost your Immunity. Pixabay

Oil pulling is regarded as an ancient Ayurveda treatment that dates back to more than 3,000 years.

Considered as a detoxification therapy, it is done by taking a spoonful of cold pressed virgin oil (preferably coconut oil) and swishing it in your mouth for about 5 minutes, similar to using a mouthwash. The purpose of oil pulling is to swish the oil around in your mouth, between the teeth to get rid of bacteria in the mouth, spit it out and immediately rinse with some warm water.

Nutritionist Sheryl Salis shares how oil pulling that can help improve your immunity, uses of virgin coconut oil and the method of oil pulling:

Oil pulling is an alternative health practice gaining traction in recent times not only for oral health but also as an immunity boosting measure. As the mouth is a home to millions of microbes including bacteria, the oil pulling process helps get rid of these bacteria through swishing oil in the mouth and in-between the teeth. Swishing the oil for a prolonged period cleanses the mouth and decreases the bacterial load. Not only does this promote oral hygiene, this technique aids in overall health and well-being.

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Other than basic precautions like sanitizing and washing hands, immunty is the key factor to protect yourself from COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

With the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it is recommended to build and maintain a strong immune system to help combat the risk of being infected. While external precautionary measures like sanitizing and washing hands are essential, maintaining basic hygiene measures and eating healthy to build one’s immunity is of utmost importance.

Using virgin coconut oil to build immunity

Cold pressed virgin coconut oil is a superfood recommended for its myriad health benefits; it is a rich source of naturally occurring Lauric acid and contains Vitamin E which helps to improve body’s immunity. The medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) that contain lauric acid and caprylic acid strengthens the immune system and has anti-viral properties. Therefore, Adding 2 spoons of virgin coconut oil to the diet every day can help improve the immunity and maintain a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

In most Indian household’s, virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices and is slowly making its way in the mainstream wellness community for oil pulling. Known for its immune boosting properties, virgin coconut oil can be introduced as an effective technique into your heath regime.

Oil Pulling
Virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices. Pixabay

How to do it?

eStart by swishing it in your mouth on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning

Also Read: Ace Learning From Home During Lockdown

eTake about 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil in the mouth and swish it for about 3-5 minutes.

eDiscard the oil by spitting it out. Do not swallow the oil as you will ingest the toxins with it as well

eRinse the mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual

eRepeat the process 3-4 times a week. (IANS)