Saturday, 20 January 2018

Learning a second language boosts the cognitive flexibility of autistic children

Autistic children who learn to speak another language may find it easier to switch tasks, a study has found.

Youngsters on the spectrum often have a hard time 'switching gears' and chopping their attention between tasks.

But new Canadian research, dubbed 'surprising' and 'exciting', shows being bilingual could increase their cognitive flexibility.


Gardening may help cancer survivors eat better, feel greater ‘worth’

For cancer survivors, three seasons of home vegetable gardening may increase physical activity, fruits and vegetables in the diet and also enhance feelings of self-worth, researchers say.

Possibly as a result of these healthy behaviours, gardeners in the small study also tended to gain less weight around their waists compared to their counterparts on a waiting list for the gardening intervention, the study team reports.

“We can send people to the gym but that isn’t meaningful, and we can counsel them to eat better, but we want it to be more rewarding, and we want it to be long-term,” Demark-Wahnefried told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “With gardening, we’ve hit the ball out of the ballpark.”


Breastfeeding mothers who eat spicy food have less fussy eaters

Breastfeeding mothers’ diets play a role in determining what kind of eaters their babies may grow up to be, said experts.

When nursing mothers eat a variety of flavours, including spicy food, they help to enhance their babies’ taste buds, said Dr Jennifer Wider, medical advisor for the Society for Women’s Health Research.

“It's important to remember that breast milk is not formulated directly from the digestive tract; it is formulated from the mother's blood,” said Dr Wider. “So, if [a nursing mother] eats cruciferous vegetables, for example, the nutrients will be pulled into the breast milk, but the gassy component may not affect the baby.”

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the mother’s body takes an average of four to six hours to make breast milk from the food she eats. However, body chemistry and metabolism can speed up the process to as fast as one hour, or delay it for as long as 24 hours.

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