Study suggests early-childhood anesthesia exposure may affect the brain


Research published this week in Pediatrics takes a newly rigorous approach to investigating whether anesthesia exposure harms young children’s developing brains. The results suggest that even a single anesthesia exposure before age 3 could hurt kids’ language skills and abstract reasoning abilities.

Earlier studies, including those in animals, had suggested that anesthesia drugs harm young brains, but none had taken such a direct approach to the question as the new paper. In the latest study, Columbia University’s Caleb Ing, MD, and colleagues studied a group of 2,608 Australian children, 321 of whom received anesthesia at least once before age 3. At age 10, the children’s cognitive function was rigorously tested. Scores for skill in expressive language (the ability to form words and sentences) and receptive language (understanding what others say) were both lower in children who had been exposed to anesthesia than those never exposed, as were abstract-reasoning scores. Motor skills, behavior, and visual tracking and attention were not different between the groups. Continuar leyendo «Study suggests early-childhood anesthesia exposure may affect the brain»

American Families See Tablets as Playmate, Teacher and Babysitter

The rise of gadgets is ushering in a new generation of kids who are growing up digital. According to a Nielsen survey of adults with children under 12 in tablet-owning households, in Q4 2011 seven out of every 10 children in tablet-owning households used a tablet computer – a nine percent increase compared to Q3 2011.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said children play downloaded games on their tablets and 57 percent said children used tablets to access educational apps. The portable gadget also keeps kids quiet while families are on-the-go: 55 percent and 41 percent of parents report that their children used tablets for entertainment while traveling or in restaurants, respectively. This can also include watching TV shows and movies, which 43 percent of children often do. Communicating with friends and family is a less popular function on tablets– only 15 percent of kids engage in this activity.


http://blog.nielsen.com

Image representing Nielsen as depicted in Crun...

The rise of gadgets is ushering in a new generation of kids who are growing up digital. According to a Nielsen survey of adults with children under 12 in tablet-owning households, in Q4 2011 seven out of every 10 children in tablet-owning households used a tablet computer – a nine percent increase compared to Q3 2011.

Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said children play downloaded games on their tablets and 57 percent said children used tablets to access educational apps. Continuar leyendo «American Families See Tablets as Playmate, Teacher and Babysitter»

Work/Life Balance and Labor Day

Labor Day in the U.S. is almost here. Many other countries also celebrate a labor day, which has always seemed an unusual event to me. We didn’t celebrate such a day at all until Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. Interestingly, this is a date that coincides well with the world’s entry into the impersonal and mechanistic 20th century.

I have been noodling for quite some time over the work/life balance movement. I call it a movement because it really came about unexpectedly around 15 years or so ago and has swept corporate America from coast to coast.

I can’t think of any organization that has not had to change policies or at least address its employees about the issue. The work/life balance movement is an interesting phenomenon. I don’t think there has been a previous era when there was such an emphasis on specifically setting aside time for non-work activities.

It is a logical outcome of decades of isolating work from other aspects of life. The idea of creating a balance is based on a set of assumptions that aren’t questioned, yet are very strange from the perspective of a Baby Boomer such as myself or from that of anyone who has studied the history of work.

This is rapidly changing and the work/life movement will wither away over the next few years as people begin to find ways to develop their passion and dreams into paid work that they can do at home or near home when and as much as they want.

Young folks, the Gen Y or Millenniums, are rejecting the work/life notions, much to the chagrin of their elder Gen X colleagues. Gen Y tends to look for work they are passionate about and then they tend to work in ways foreign to Gen X. They take any sense of balance away and may work for days without a stop or not work much at all for some time. They try to choose meaningful and interesting work and embrace it with a passion only seen once in a while with Gen X or Baby Boomers.


Labor Day in the U.S. is almost here. Many other countries also celebrate a labor day, which has always seemed an unusual event to me. We didn’t celebrate such a day at all until Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. Interestingly, this is a date that coincides well with the world’s entry into the impersonal and mechanistic 20th century.

I have been noodling for quite some time over the work/life balance movement. I call it a movement because it really came about unexpectedly around 15 years or so ago and has swept corporate America from coast to coast.

I can’t think of any organization that has not had to change policies or at least address its employees about the issue. The work/life balance movement is an interesting phenomenon. I don’t think there has been a previous era when there was such an emphasis on specifically setting aside time for non-work activities.

It is a logical outcome of decades of isolating work from other aspects of life. The idea of creating a balance is based on a set of assumptions that aren’t questioned, yet are very strange from the perspective of a Baby Boomer such as myself or from that of anyone who has studied the history of work. Continuar leyendo «Work/Life Balance and Labor Day»

What We Can Learn from Babies: Experimentation, Failure & Creative Genius

The creative process of inventor James Dyson is a startling example. Although Dyson is now one of the wealthiest men in Britain, it took him 15 long years and thousands upon thousands of failed experiments to arrive at his first success. In a Fast Company interview, Dyson explains, “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure. I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.”

As Dyson observes, from an early age, most of our school training encourages us to be risk-averse by rewarding those who deliver exactly what’s expected – rather than those who try something new and dare to look foolish. We are taught to honor rigor and focus over play and experimentation.

Yet, it is these same qualities – playfulness, wonder, and a lack of inhibition – that have fostered the greatest creative breakthroughs. They are also a key ingredient in highly functioning creative teams. Pyschology Today reports that “when teams of people are working together on a problem, those groups that laugh most readily and most often are more creative and productive than their more dour and decorous counterparts.”

Of course, rediscovering the wonder and relentless experimentation of a child is only part of the equation – or, one of the selves we must tap into as creatives. It must be balanced by judicious “adult” decisions about everything from how we focus our energy to what we decide to share with the world.

Essayist and thinker Susan Sontag may have put it best when she described the four selves the artist must inhabit. The first two are clearly connected to an experimental, childlike mindset, while the latter two relate to more adult, executive functions:

“The writer must be four people:

1) the nut, the obsédé: supplies the material

2) the moron: lets it come out

3) the stylist: is taste

4) the critic: is intelligence


by Jocelyn K. Glei

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about babies – and how the child’s ability to explore, experiment, and make mistakes is an essential part of the creative process. When we are at the height of our creative productivity or “flow” state, our brainwaves reflect a deeply meditative, or “theta,” pattern. As babies and pre-adolescent children, this theta state – characterized by the ability to shut out the world and deeply concentrate and connect with a task at hand – is the norm, enabling children to lose hours playing in completely imaginary worlds. Yet, for adults theta brainwaves are more difficult to access, usually coming only in half-waking states as we slip into dreams.

Rumor has it that Thomas Edison (progenitor of the 99% namesake) would sleep just 4-5 hours a night and then power-nap in order to intentionally access the super-creative powers of the theta state. Edison would grasp a ball bearing in his hand, which he draped over the arm of his chair just above a tin pie plate. As he nodded off in his chair, he’d drop the bearing, and the clanging would wake him up just as he drifted off. Then, he would immediately write down whatever was in his mind.
Continuar leyendo «What We Can Learn from Babies: Experimentation, Failure & Creative Genius»

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