Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] Are our schools damaging children’s eyes?

From the 24 March 2015 EurkAlert!

Over the last 30 years, short sight, or myopia, has become a global health problem. The most dramatic rise has been in Singapore, Taiwan, China’s cities and elsewhere in East Asia. Rates can be as high as 80-90 per cent among children leaving secondary schools in the region. As many as a fifth of them have severe myopia and so are at high risk of eye problems in later life. In Western countries rates are increasing; although not as rapidly as in East Asia.

The Myopia Mystery

Compensating for myopia using a corrective lens.

Compensating for myopia using a corrective lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cause of myopia, and the means to prevent it, are unclear despite more than 150 years of scientific research. Many theories have been put forward to explain why children’s eyesight gets worse as they go through school. Too much close work is one of the more popular ones, while heredity is another. Both have been hotly debated down the years.

Is Myopia Like Rickets?

The new study compares the history of school myopia with the bone disease rickets. During the 17th century, rickets was common among children in England and then reached epidemic levels through northern Europe and North America. In some cities, 80 per cent of children were affected. The remedy proved elusive until the 1920s, when scientists found that a lack of sunlight, resulting in vitamin D deficiency, was the cause of rickets. Myopia, like rickets, is a seasonal condition which seems to get worse in the winter. Recent research on myopia has revived an old theory from the 1890s, that school children who spend more time outdoors have lower levels of myopia. However, unlike rickets, low ambient light levels rather than low vitamin D levels seem to be the deciding factor in myopia.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Students With Strong Hearts and Lungs May Make Better Grades

 

US Navy 110622-N-CW427-033 Sailors cheer stude...

US Navy 110622-N-CW427-033 Sailors cheer students while they complete an obstacle course during a physical fitness field day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 3 August 2012 article at ScienceNewsDaily

 

Having a healthy heart and lungs may be one of the most important factors for middle school students to make good grades in math and reading, according to findings presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention.

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While previous studies have found links between being physically fit and improved academic performance, this study also examined several other potential influences, including self-esteem and social support. It also took into account the students’ socioeconomic status and their self-reported academic ability, Petrie said.

In addition to cardiorespiratory fitness, social support was related to better reading scores among boys, according to the study. It defined social support as reliable help from family and friends to solve problems or deal with emotions. For girls, having a larger body mass index was the only factor other than cardiorespiratory fitness that predicted better reading scores. For boys and girls, cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor related to their performance on the math tests. “The finding that a larger body mass index for girls was related to better performance on the reading exam may seem counterintuitive, however past studies have found being overweight was not as important for understanding boys and girls performances on tests as was their level of physical fitness,” Petrie said.

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Experts eye link between student health troubles, lower performing schools | charterstarter

Experts eye link between student health troubles, lower performing schools | charterstarter

Excerpt from the  blog item

By Pat Tarantino at the Dorchester Reporter

About 250 people gathered Tuesday morning at the Boston Public Library’s central branch in Copley Square to discuss a new report that details the health of students in the city’s public school system. Boston Public School representatives and public health researchers hope that a new approach to the well-being of students can help even the academic playing field and give struggling learners the boost they need to close achievement gaps.

The annual Healthy Connections report, released this week, indicates students living in Boston experience significantly less physical activity, more incidents of violence, and higher rates of sexually transmitted illnesses than statewide averages. The conversation was made more urgent because a $2 million federal grant for health and wellness programs will conclude at the end of the current school year….

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , | Leave a comment

A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school

line art drawing of Adrenal gland, cleaned up ...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 9 August 2011 Eureka news alert

Study finds stress boosts performance for confident students, but holds back those with more anxiety

Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom and on the sports field can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new University of Chicago research shows.

“We found that cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, can either be tied to a student’s poor performance on a math test or contribute to success, depending on the frame of mind of the student going into the test,” said Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology at UChicago and one of the nation’s leading experts on poor performance by otherwise talented people.

She is the author of “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To,” released this month in paperback.

In a new paper published in the current issue of the journal “Emotion,” Beilock and her colleagues explore the topic of performance failure in math and show, for the first time, that there is a critical connection between working memory, math anxiety and salivary cortisol.

Working memory is the mental reserve that people use to process information and figure out solutions during tests. Math anxiety is fear or apprehension when just thinking about taking a math test. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and associated with stress-related changes in the body; it is often referred to as the “stress hormone.”

Read this entire Eureka news alert

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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