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Early life infection increases sensitivity to pain in newborn babies

University of Oxford-- Cobo et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-31505-y
14 July 2022

Researchers looked into the relationship between early life inflammation and sensitivity of the sensory nervous system using EEG and EMG. The results showed that the heightened sensitivity towards tactile and uncomfortable stimulation remains after neonatal inflammation, suggesting that early-life immune dysfunction could affect pain sensitivity in adulthood.


Functional Somatic Symptoms and Emotion Regulation in Children & Adolescents

Johannes Gutenberg University-- Jungmann et al.
DOI: 10.32872/cpe.4299
30 June 2022

Functional Somatic Symptoms (FSS) refer to symptoms that do not have sufficient organic explanation and are common in childhood and adolescence. The study asked children and their parents to complete questionnaires on children’s FSS and adaptive and maladaptive emotion regulation. The results show that rumination (constant, repetitive thoughts about a problem or situation) and alexithymia (inability to identify and describe emotions) are significant predictors of FSS in children and adolescents.


The impact of perceived emotions on toddlers' word learning

Lancaster University-- Ma et al.
DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13799
30 May 2022

Given that others' emotional affections would affect individuals' attention allocation in social interactions, an important process in word learning, the impact of perceived emotions on word learning is under-investigated. Two eye-tracking experiments were conducted to explore toddlers' retention of novel label-object and emotion-object associations after hearing labels presented in neutral, positive, and negative affect. The results suggested that the novel label-object association was learnt independent of the affect associated with the object, but toddlers showed an attentional bias towards a negative object with the presence of emotional cues.


Anxiety Disorders Among Children, Assessment and Working with Families

University of Oxford-- Tessa
09 May 2022

Researchers have conducted in-depth interviews with 11 parents of children who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, in order to learn more about their experiences. It was indicated that the diagnosis could be a positive experience for families, where parents identified that it was most useful to help their children to access professional support for anxiety difficulties. In the meanwhile, they also demonstrated concerns that their children will be treated differently because of the diagnosis. This finding suggested the importance of effective communication between clinicians and families and the need to express optimism about the child's future.


Trainee teachers made sharper assessments about learning difficulties after receiving feedback from AI

University of Cambridge- Sailer et al.
DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2022.101620
11 April 2022 (Article)

Artificial intelligence has significantly improved trainee teachers' reasoning skills in identifying students with learning difficulties compared to trainees who reflected upon the judgements made by experts. Researchers attributed such enhancement to AI's ability to adapt to the trainees' work, producing more personal and clearer feedback.


Doctoral researcher explains his thesis to children in Frontiers for Young Minds

KCL- Rodero, Lamata & Niederer
DOI: 10.3389/frym.2022.685000
30 March 2022 (Article)

Researchers have translated complex concepts (e.g. cardiac activities) into easily-understood analogies and games for young readers to grow interested in the field of science, peer-reviewed also by young readers. Furthermore, the authors considered this a helpful practice for them to gain deeper insights into the topic they are studying by explaining them in plainer words.


School-based mindfulness training programme fails to improve young people’s mental health

University of Oxford and University of Cambridge-- Kuyken et al.
DOI: 10.1136/ebmental-2021-300396
13 July 2022

The largest research project on mindfulness training in schools, MY Resilience In ADolescence (MYRIAD) study programme, tested the effectiveness of such training among 28,000 children (aged 11-14) over the past eight years. The study did not find a significant effect on students' mental well-being but short-term benefits on school culture and reduced teachers' burnout rate.


The Relationship Between Parental Mental Health & Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood

University of the Balearic Islands-- Bagur
DOI: 10.1111/hsc.13891
28 June 2022

The aim of the study is to explore the link between mental and physical health, the parents’ levels of anxiety/depression, and the child’s development, which plays a crucial role in adulthood. The results show that parents of children with disabilities have higher levels of mental health impairment than physical health impairment, scoring higher on anxiety and depression scales. This raises the importance of also considering the physical and mental health of parents when assessing the child. During the acceptance phase of the child’s diagnosis, for example, negative thoughts about their roles as parents, emotional regulation or seeking support may occur.


Top-rated educational maths apps may not be best for children’s learning

UCL-- Outhwaite et al.
27 May 2022

Fifty studies from 18 countries that evaluated 77 educational maths apps were synthesised by the UCL researchers. It was suggested by 90 per cent of the studies that maths apps are beneficial to students' mathematical learning, especially ones which provide personal feedback and rewards. However, only a few of the top 25 educational apps, ranked by popularity in the iOS Apple App and Google Play Stores, managed to do this. Among the 25 apps, over a half focused on number skills and counting, which were often introduced in isolation from other maths skills. In contrast, skills that are considered crucial for children's mathematical development are rarely found. The research demonstrates that existing educational apps have great potential to improve the learning content and there is a need to consider how the learning experiences offered by the apps could fit into the classrooms.


Want more students to learn languages? Win over the parents, research suggests

University of Cambridge-- Fisher et al.
DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2022.2060235
02 May 2022

There has been a waning interest in modern language learning in recent years. Researchers surveyed 1300 year 8 students aged from 12 to 13 to investigate the factors contributing to their self-identification with multilingualism. Results demonstrated that the effect of parental attitudes was consistently strong, which was 1.4 times greater than that of their friends, and almost double that of their teachers. The research informs that more attention to social and cultural attitudes towards language beyond classrooms is needed to encourage more young people to learn languages.


Abused children who were adopted did ‘significantly better’ than those brought up in care – research

University of Oxford- Ward et al.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-76429-6
06 April 2022 (Article)

Compared to children who grew up in foster care, those who were adopted tend to show better life outcomes (e.g. academic performance, university uptake rates). This is probably because adopted children have a stronger sense of belonging and stability in their new family, thus forming a healthier sense of identity.


Scientists find that the impact of social media on wellbeing varies across adolescence

University of Cambridge- Orben et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29296-3
28 March 2022 (Article)

Researchers have investigated the link between social media use and life satisfaction and found that there is a difference in the impact of social media on the well-being of adolescence. For girls, social media use between the age of 11 and 13 years was associated with a decrease in life satisfaction one year later, whereas the same impact occurred later in adolescence between the age of 14 and 15 years for boys. The discrepancy was suggested to be associated with boys’ later developmental changes in the brain and puberty, but further research is required. This impact occurs again at the age of 19 years for both females and males, but the same effect is no longer statistically significant at other times. It demonstrates the great complexity of the link between social media use and mental well-being. The changes within the bodies, such as brain development and puberty, as well as the social contexts, are all factors that make people feel particularly vulnerable to social media. The finding highlights the need to pay more attention to adolescents who will be particularly sensitive to social media at certain times.

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