Monday, October 27, 2008

From the Week of October 26th

AD/HD AND COLLEGE. The Washington Post published an article on October 25th about the transition to college for students with AD/HD. The article profiles one high school senior and his family as the student prepares to choose and attend college. The issues -- evaluations, a transition to self-directedness and self-advocacy, and finding colleges that provide help to 2e and LD students. Read it.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY is a war thing, right? Wrong. It can happen to anyone, and its effects on young people (and older people as well) can be life-changing. The Dana Foundation just published an article about traumatic brain injury (
TBI) that included the story of a three-year-old who suffered a playground injury that led to cognitive and emotional difficulties. When the cause of the problems was finally diagnosed 16 years later, it was too late. Read the article.

PSYCHOLOGIST STEVE CURTIS was interviewed recently by CNN on the topic "Helping Kids Cope: When the Economy Hits Home." Curtis, author of the book Understanding Your Child's Puzzling Behavior, offered tips and advice for communicating with and reassuring children in times of family economic stress. See it.

NEUROSCIENCE AND THE CLASSROOM. The Washington Post ran an article this Tuesday exploring a variety of neuroscience topics and myths, all focused on what neuroscience is doing for education. For example, kids with a "primitive, intuitive sense of the size of numbers" perform well in math classes; and brain studies have changed the way educators treat students with autism or Asperger's. The article also runs through a brief list of educational theories that claim to be based on science but turn out to be myths. Read the article.

MORE NEUROSCIENCE. A Popular Science feature called "The Brilliant 10" about science achievers profiled the work of Rebecca Saxe of MIT in the area of social neuroscience. Saxe, according to the article, uses the tools of neuroscience to study infants, trying to determine how our brains create accurate impressions of the world. As it turns out, Saxe describes her work on Theory of Mind at an MIT page called "SaxeLab." Find it.

HABIT VERSUS LEARNING... AND OCD. A study reported this week in the New Haven Register hypothesizes that certain memory lapses may stem from conflicts in two parts of the brain. One, the striatum, stores habits. The other, the hippocampus, handles new challenges, according to the article. (The hippocampus is also responsible for turning information into memory, and is severely affected by Alzheimer's.) The lead researcher says that OCD and some aspects of autism could be "habit learning gone wrong," and that a better understanding of how the two systems interact might lead to better treatments. Read it.

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