How Handwriting Benefits the Mind
Emerging research shows that handwriting increases brain activity, hones fine motor skills, and can predict a child's academic success in ways that keyboarding can't.
What's the Latest Development?
Karin Harman James, an assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, says: "For children, handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they do it and practice it. Typing does not do the same thing." When I.U. researchers did brain scans on children who wrote letters and those who simply identified them, they found that the kids who practiced writing showed brain activation similar to an adult's.
What's the Big Idea?
What are some benefits of handwriting? "Good handwriting can mean better grades. Studies show that the same mediocre paper is graded much higher if the handwriting is neat and much lower if the writing is not. Handwriting is faster. Researchers who tested second-, fourth- and sixth-graders found that children compose essays more prolifically—and faster—when using a pen rather than a keyboard." Researchers say handwriting also benefits the memory by engaging the body in a more physical activity than just remembering a shopping list.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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