*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study Finds.
Some parents attempt to hide their true emotions when things are going bad, but this may be doing more harm than good. A study finds kids can spot when their parents are under stress, especially with families spending more time together due to COVID-19.
According to Washington State University researchers, parents often signal their suppressed emotions to their children, which can be harmful to the youngsters. Assistant professor Sara Waters and her colleagues analyzed interactions between 107 parents and their children, who were between the ages of seven and 11. Their findings reveal children experience a physical reaction to their parent’s hidden emotions.
“We show that the response happens under the skin,” Waters says in a university release. “It shows what happens when we tell kids that we’re fine when we’re not. It comes from a good place; we don’t want to stress them out. But we may be doing the exact opposite.”
The study asked parents and kids the top five topics that spark conflict within their households. The parents were also separated from the children and asked to perform a few stressful activities. Researchers say stressed parents who suppress their emotions are less engaged with and colder towards their children.
“That makes sense for a parent distracted by trying to keep their stress hidden, but the kids very quickly changed their behavior to match the parent,” Waters explains. “So if you’re stressed and just say, ‘Oh, I’m fine’, that only makes you less available to your child. We found that the kids picked up on that and reciprocated, which becomes a self-fulfilling dynamic.”
The study was published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Source: Study Finds
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on EurekAlert.
A number of studies have shown how playing video games can lead to structural changes in the brain, including increasing the size of some regions, or to functional changes, such as activating the areas responsible for attention or visual-spatial skills. New research from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) has gone further to show how cognitive changes can take place even years after people stop playing.
This is one of the conclusions from the article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study involved 27 people between the ages of 18 and 40 with and without any kind of experience with video gaming.
"People who were avid gamers before adolescence, despite no longer playing, performed better with the working memory tasks, which require mentally holding and manipulating information to get a result," said Marc Palaus, who has a Ph.D. from the UOC.
The results show that people without experience of playing video games as a child did not benefit from improvements in processing and inhibiting irrelevant stimuli. Indeed, they were slower than those who had played games as children, which matched what had been seen in earlier studies.
Likewise, "people who played regularly as children performed better from the outset in processing 3D objects, although these differences were mitigated after the period of training in video gaming when both groups showed similar levels," said Palaus.
The study lasted a month and the researchers analyzed participants' cognitive skills, including working memory, at three points: before starting the training in video gaming, at the end of the training, and fifteen days later. The video game used was Nintendo's Super Mario 64.
According to Palaus, "Video games are a perfect recipe for strengthening our cognitive skills, almost without our noticing." Nonetheless, he stressed that these improvements only have a limited effect on the performance of other activities not linked to video gaming, as is the case with most cognitive training.
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Are infected-but-healthy children major "silent spreaders" of the new coronavirus? New research out of northern Italy, once a COVID-19 hotspot, suggests they might not be.
Rigorous COVID-19 testing of children and adults admitted to a hospital in Milan for reasons other than coronavirus found that just over 1% of kids tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to more than 9% of adults.
That suggests a very low rate of asymptomatic infection among children, and does "not support the hypothesis that children are at higher risk of carrying SARS-CoV-2 asymptomatically than adults," the researchers reported in the online edition of JAMA Pediatrics.
One U.S. expert in infectious disease found the report encouraging.
"Since the start of the pandemic it has been very difficult to determine what the actual role of children in the spread of the virus is," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.
"It is becoming clear that they do not amplify this virus the way they do influenza when it comes to community spread," Adalja said.
In the new study, physicians led by Dr. Carlo Agostoni, of the Ca'Granda Foundation Maggiore Polyclinic Hospital in Milan, conducted two sets of nasal swab tests, up to two days apart, on 214 newly admitted patients.
Eighty-three of these new admissions were children and 131 were adults. All were admitted to the hospital in March and April, at the height of northern Italy's COVID-19 outbreak. However, all of the patients were admitted for reasons unconnected to COVID-19, and none had shown any symptoms of the illness.
So how many were secretly carrying the virus nonetheless? Based on the swab tests, only 1.2% of the pediatric patients turned up positive for infection, compared to 9.2% of adults.