Babies Begin Learning to Speak Early in Life, and Other News

Mother responds to babyAccording to a new study, the process of learning to speak may begin earlier than previously thought. Four-month-old babies who were taught to pay attention to complex audio patterns were able to learn to shift their eyes when a pattern changed slightly. At seven months, brain scans of the same babies showed that they were quicker and better at noticing language-related sounds than babies who weren’t exposed to the audio patterns.

Babies survey their environment for language-like sounds many months before they begin speaking, the study’s authors say, and the time between four and seven months may be an early period during which babies learn how to detect and respond to language. By making language detection into a fun game, researchers were able to help babies learn what to pay attention to. It may be that parents can do the same by talking to their babies and rewarding them for paying attention. 

Why So Gray, Cupcakes? ‘Depressed Cake Shop’ Raises Money for Mental Health

Cupcakes are usually brightly colored and cheery. For the Depressed Cake Shop, though, cupcakes take on gloomier hues of gray and black, but for a good cause. These pop-up sweet shops sell “depressed” cupcakes to raise money for mental health charities. So far, the cake shops have raised more than $50,000. 

What Are the Adult Health Consequences of Childhood Bullying?

According to a British study of 7,771 children that began in 1958, the effects of bullying extend well into adulthood. Twenty-eight percent of these children were periodically bullied, while 15% were frequently bullied. Compared to the group of children that did not experience bullying, bullied children had less adulthood social support, were more likely to be unemployed, had lower levels of educational attainment, and were less likely to be in a relationship.

Decreased Ability to Identify Odors Can Predict Death: Olfactory Dysfunction Is a Harbinger of Mortality

A failing ability to detect smell could be a signal of physiological decay that will ultimately lead to death. Thirty-nine percent of study participants who failed an odor detection test died within five years of the test, compared to 19% with moderate smell loss and only 10% of participants with a healthy sense of smell. 

Lift Weights, Improve Your Memory, Study Shows

A study on the effects of physical activity on episodic memory—a form of long-term, autobiographical memory—has found that lifting weights may boost memory. Researchers found that following an intense workout lasting 20 minutes, episodic memory improved by about 10%. 

Treatment of Substance Abuse Can Lessen Risk of Future Violence in Mentally Ill

Dual diagnoses, which occur when a person experiences both a mental health condition and a substance abuse problem, can make determining the right treatment challenging. According to a new study, though, mental health professionals should treat substance abuse first. The study found that the severity of mental health symptoms weren’t effective at predicting future aggression. Substance abuse, however, was. People who underwent substance abuse treatment were less likely to engage in aggressive actions, even when they had a severe mental health issue.

Fruit and Veg Consumption Tied to Mental Health

A study of fruit and vegetable intake has found that fruits and veggies may boost mental health. Thirty-five percent of study participants with “high mental well-being” ate five or more servings a day. Only 6.8% of the high mental well-being group ate one or fewer servings per day.

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  • Mildred


    October 3rd, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    What a clever idea for the cupcake shop and a great way to raise funds too!

  • maddi


    October 3rd, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Babies are like little sponges. They pick up on lots of different things so it does not surprise me one bit to learn that they are picking up on creating language development earlier than what we used to think. I read to my children very early on, sometimes I would even talk to them while I was pregnant. You don’t know if those sounds are getting through but I always liked to think that they did.

  • sam


    October 4th, 2014 at 5:04 AM

    I was bullied as a child and sometimes i even feel that way still today as an adult. I think that I take everything to heart so when someone says something to me even if it is not meant to be critical I think that I have this tendency to think of it in that way because of the things that I endured as a child. I know that my self esteem was wrecked and I am never a ball of confidence when I meet new people. Someone took all of that away from me during the most critical years of social development in my life and although I am working hard today to reverse some of that damage I must say that it is still hard not to think of myself in the way that I was treated years ago.

  • Jacob


    October 4th, 2014 at 6:12 AM

    I heard this story on the news aboutt he decline in the sense of smell being a preditor of death but man how I wish that this was not true! I am scared to death because I have gradually lost my sense of smell over the years, none of the doctors could ever figure out why and now I guess that I am just resigned to knwoing that it is all going to be over soon anyway!

  • Ryan


    October 4th, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    I have always tried to be very mindful about what I eat, even from a young age it was instilled in me that fruits and vegetables were the way to go and I guess I just have an acquired taste for those things so that the junkier things in life really don’t appeal to me all that much.
    Thanks Mom and Dad!!

  • hannah


    October 6th, 2014 at 4:00 AM

    I am going to have to look into this because is it just about lifting weights or could it be any exercise in general which could bring on this improvement in memory?

  • Cal


    October 6th, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    If you are bullied when you are a child this could have a serious influence over how you think of yourself for the rest of your life. It is a sad but very true fact that the things that other people tell us when we are kids are the things that most of us will still believe even as we get older. And these can be stupid things made up by kids, but these are the things that always sadly can stiuck with us and mold the way we see ourselves all throughout our lives. Even when we know for sure that this is not who we are and probably never were, the saying about words not hurting? Simply not true.

  • siobhan


    October 7th, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    Sorry but I want the bright and cheery cupcakes to go along with raising money for this fabulous cause. The bright colors seem so much more edible and for em send the messgae that theer is some hope and not just grayness of depression.

  • Brenda


    October 9th, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I find it a little curious that one would suggest that treating the substance abuse first would be the ideal route to take when treating those with dual diagnoses. Why not treat both, or try to treatboth at the same time? There might be a whole lot more improvement in symptoms if you look at the whole picture instaed of just focusing on one particular part of it. I know that substance abuse can lead to behavioral issues that are unpleasant to work with, but so does mental illness, and who is to say which one is the worst in each individual patient?

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