Childhood

Childhood

Brain & Mind Development : Why Gadget-free childhood?

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kids_and_smartphones-100672283-primary.idge

Mind is a process.मन or to think or ‘minding – the process of thinking’. A Process that keeps Brain on the top busy, generating billions and more currents daily. A process can never be silent. A process will always be tense; a process means a turmoil. And mind is always moving from the past to the future. The past goes on being a burden on it, so it has to move into the future. This constant movement creates another tension within you. If you become too much conscious about it, you may go mad. Society trains your capacity into an actuality, it gives you a mind. That is why a Hindu has a certain mind and a Mohammedan has a different mind. Both are men, but their minds are different. A Christian has a different mind… These minds are different because different societies have cultivated them with different purposes, different goals. And so Child development is very important Nation building activity.

There is another process that goes on in heart. It is process of bliss. You can experience it only when you can slow down process of minding. Let Bliss work at higher priority than mind and feel the difference. If you read seer-scientist Patanjali’s Yoga, he begins with the same i.e. cessation of mind. Get the hint and work upon it.

Babies’ brains need stimulation to develop their full potential. Their best learning is from being highly attuned to human stimuli—interacting with your face, voice, and touch. Singing, talking, and reading to babies are all ideal ways of stimulating their senses.

Human stimuli without humans is not possible.

And what do parents and teachers do?

1) Video games, mobiles, tablets, laptops and TV consumes most of the productive time
2) Schools introduce digital mediums for teaching

Period of brain development is limited. Senses develop within first 10-12 years. Do not limit your kid’s potential. Keep them away from media and digital mediums. Educate their school management about neuroscience and ask them to get rid of tablet teaching asap. It is foolish technological fad, that’s it. No real long term benefits. Do not surrender to system for the better future of your kids and their society in future. 🙂 Take care.

Baby Walkers : Unsafe and Growth limiting luxury

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Walkers

Two things are happening in India that controls parenting actions. 1) Increasing middle income group 2) Cheap toys dumping by China

On top of it, thanks to communication revolution (TV, Media, Mobile, Internet), majority are now connected to global world and hence there is continuous mimicry going on to ape the western world.

One such blind choice parents make is : Present walker to infant.

During infancy, kid has infinite learning assignments. Their uncontrolled energy is exploring world beyond womb. It is the time when mind is developing with this fresh new body.

We usually think our mind is in control and telling our body what to do. But there is a lot of scientific evidence that shows the chatter between mind and body goes two ways, and the body is an integral part of how we think.

For infants, it is body under the control of mother nature, shaping mind!

University of Chicago Professor Sian Beilock, a leading expert on the brain science behind human performance, believes the body-mind connection starts early.

“Movement matters with everyone, but it is especially important for babies and young children,” said Beilock. “Mobile kids hit cognitive milestones faster.” She said that simple steps like allowing babies to run around naked — when appropriate — can help them explore their worlds. Beilock said wearing diapers and using baby walkers can limit a baby’s ability to interact with the world and hinder the process of learning how to walk. The more quickly children learn how to walk and explore, the faster their cognitive development.

 

Beilock said wearing diapers and using baby walkers can limit a baby’s ability to interact with the world and hinder the process of learning how to walk.

 

Initial years of childhood is the time of play, and as mammals, we are actually designed to learn through play, which is how we gather information. Let your child enjoy care-free world of learning.

This is not limited infant age.

Incorporating physical activity into more subjects can help kids learn in school, according to Beilock.

“We can’t just keep students confined to their chairs — we have to get them up, out and moving,” Beilock said. “When the subjects are math or physics, getting students to actually physically experience some of the concepts they’re learning about changes how their brains process the information and can lead to better performance on a test.” Movement also helps explain the connection between music and math. Why do kids tend to excel in both? It’s because the brain areas controlling finger dexterity and number largely overlap. Beilock unpacks the latest research showing that when kids exercise their fingers through regular piano play, their grasp of numbers improves.

Exercise can aid mental health as well as academic achievement, according to Beilock. “The research shows that getting kids moving is important not only for their physical well-being, but for their mental well-being, too.” She said schools need to emphasize “the “4 Rs” — reading, (w)riting, (a)rithmetic and recess. Boys’ academic achievement may especially benefit from recess, she added. [1]

Now again back to topic of walkers.

In 2001, American Association of pediatrics published a statement on walkers. Here are some numbers

  1. In 1999, an estimated 8800 children younger than 15 months were treated in hospital emergency departments in the United States for injuries associated with infant walkers.
  2. Thirty-four infant walker-related deaths were reported from 1973 through 1998. The vast majority of injuries occur from falls down stairs, and head injuries are common.
  3. Walkers do not help a child learn to walk; indeed, they can delay normal motor and mental development. 
  4. Because data indicate a considerable risk of major and minor injury and even death from the use of infant walkers, and because there is no clear benefit from their use, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a ban on the manufacture and sale of mobile infant walkers. 

Please don’t act like a villain for your kid. Let it be in free-flow of life!

If you really wish to aid your kid about walking skills, below is the better option. It is designed to serve the real purpoe i.e. free flow learning.

mobwcl001c-maya-organic-wooden-baby-walker-classic-original-imae4c9yczhzzqcc


Research


[1] Mind-body connection not a one-way street

New book shares science on how the body can influence the mind

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/01/07/mind-body-connection-not-one-way-street

How the Body Knows Its Mind provides many tips on how to use one’s body, actions or surroundings to stimulate the mind and to influence those around you. She offered a few suggestions to improve the body-mind connection:

  • Take active breaks from work or vexing problems to give your brain a chance to regroup and reboot. Physically walking away from the problem for a few minutes may help you solve it.
  • Your body’s posture and expressions are not just reflections of your mind—they can influence your mood. Stand tall to help give yourself confidence and to send a signal to those around you that you have brought your “A” game to the table. And be mindful of your facial expressions. Your brain uses your expressions as cues to feel emotions. Smiling can actually make you feel happier.
  • Practice in the real conditions under which you will have to perform—whether it’s public speaking, a test or an important match. It’s also good to practice in front of others so when all eyes are on you, it’s nothing new.
  • Write it out. Journaling can help you deal with the stress of a test or your worries in daily life. Physically downloading worries from your mind (by putting pen to paper) has positive performance outcomes and reducing that stress affects your health in good ways, too.
  • Spend time in nature as often as you can, and find time to meditate. New science shows that a walk in the woods rejuvenates our minds and improves our ability to pay attention and focus. Meditation for even a few minutes a day can help alleviate anxiety and chronic pain. It also can help with self-control that may be helpful for working to break bad habits, like smoking.

[2] Injuries Associated With Infant Walkers

Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/3/790

Children, Modern Toys, Household plastic and Chemical Cocktail

toy_1265b

For a growing child, every moment is learning. Learn, forget, re-learn and master the life. To do this, they seek help from toys. Toys provide them artificial simulation opportunities.

Over the past century, toys have become the focus of a massive industry, the opening wedge for the commoditization of childhood, icons of cultural controversy, subjects of serious (and not-so-serious) scholarship, and sometimes even tools for psychological research.

To avoid anti-growth effects of toys, it is important to keep them simple. Since this is not the topic for this note, we will park it aside.

Most toys in India are dumped by China, made up of toxic plastic. Even branded toys. Here are some researches related to plastic toys.


Research


Endocrine disrupting chemicals in baby teethers

http://www.goethe-university-frankfurt.de/55655899/041

In laboratory tests, two out of ten teethers, plastic toys used to sooth babies’ teething ache, release endocrine disrupting chemicals. One product contains parabens, which are normally used as preservatives in cosmetics, while the second contains six so-far unidentified endocrine disruptors.

“Our study shows that plastic toys are a source of undesirable chemicals. Manufacturers, regulatory agencies and scientists should investigate the chemical exposure from plastic toys more thoroughly”, Wagner concludes from the study. The additives have only limited benefits for the quality of the product, but can represent a potential health issue. This is especially true for babies and infants, whose development is orchestrated by a delicately balanced hormonal control and who are more susceptible to chemicals exposures than adults.

Household Chemicals May Impair Thyroid in Young Girls

EXPOSURE TO PHTHALATES IS LINKED TO DEPRESSED FUNCTION IN THE “MASTER CONTROLLER” OF BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, POTENTIALLY EXPLAINING KNOWN PHTHALATE-RELATED COGNITIVE PROBLEMS

Early childhood exposures to specific phthalates were associated with depressed thyroid function in girls at age 3, according to scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Phthalates, a class of chemicals thought to disrupt the endocrine system, are widely used in consumer products from plastic toys to household building materials to shampoos.

https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/household-chemicals-may-impair-thyroid-young-girls

Is there something up with stinky inflatable pool toys?

http://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/research-news/all-english-research-news/is-there-something-up-with-stinky-inflatable-pool-toys-/12218368

Inflatable toys and swimming aids, like bathing rings and arm bands, often have a distinctive smell which could indicate that they contain a range of potentially hazardous substances. Some of these compounds, which include carbonyl compounds, cyclohexanone, phenol and isophorone, might be critical when present in higher concentrations in children’s toys, say Christoph Wiedmer and Andrea Buettner, who are authors of a study in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (ABC), which is published by Springer.

Lead author Wiedmer (Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany) and his team conducted tests using an inflatable beach ball, a pair of swimming armbands and two bathing rings they bought off the shelf from local stores and online suppliers in Germany. A small piece of material from each sample was analysed using a variety of material analysis techniques, including one that takes infrared measurements, and it was concluded that the inflatable objects were all made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The researchers then investigated the molecular make-up of the distinctive smells arising from the pool toys. They extracted detectable odours from each sample using solvent extraction and high vacuum distillation methods, and then identified the main odorants using a combination of sensory and common analytical approaches.

Between 32 and 46 odours were detected in each sample, of which up to thirteen were quite intense. The majority of these odorants were identified and among these were several fatty smelling mono- or di-unsaturated carbonyl compounds and their epoxidised derivatives, but also odouractive organic solvents such as cyclohexanone, isophorone, and phenol.

 

 

Junk Food and Teen Age Suicides

Depression or any mental disorder is hurdle for peaceful family and peaceful society. Junk food increases chances of chaos in family and in society. No wonder why there is rise in teens attempting suicides. No surprise for rising divorce cases. Nothing abnormal if there are new psychiatric clinics. That is what society deserves when food is either junk or processed.

Junk Teen


Research


Junk Food May Increase Depression Risk

newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2015/07/29/junk-food-may-increase-depression-risk/

A diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk for new-onset depression in postmenopausal women, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Consumption of carbohydrates increases blood sugar levels to varying degrees, depending on the type of food ingested. The more highly refined the carbohydrate, the higher its score on the glycemic index (GI) scale. The GI scale, which goes from 0-100, measures the amount of sugar found in the blood after eating. Refined foods such as white bread, white rice, and soda trigger a hormonal response in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. This response also may cause or exacerbate mood changes, fatigue, and other symptoms of depression.

The investigators found that progressively higher dietary GI scores and consumption of added sugars and refined grains were associated with increased risk of new-onset depression in post-menopausal women. Greater consumption of dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and non-juice fruits was associated with decreased risk. This suggests that dietary interventions could serve as treatments and preventive measures for depression. Further study is needed to examine the potential of this novel option for treatment and prevention and to see if similar results are found in the broader population.

Child deprived of Sleep and playtime : Mental disorders

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SleepPlay

Two activities are predominant in childhood. 1) Sleep 2) Play

->Early admission to school (Systemic methodical learning) compromises both.
->Early exposure to TV/Mobile/Screen entertainment compromises both.
->Nuclear family setup (living alone,away from larger family) compromises second.
->Early exposure to talent race (Acting competition, Dancing competition, Memory competition etc) compromises second.

Sleeping and Playing both activates same area of brain. This area is responsible for dynamically stabilizing body and social development. Neurons associated with each other in more complex manner if children spend their time in Sleep and Play more than any other activity. More complex neurons, better ground for adult skills like decision power, creativity, risk taking ability etc.

Take care.

Btw, majority adults behave childishly because they too are deprived of sleep and play 😉

Age 21 is the pinnacle age as far as our physiological development is concerned. From 21, biological downfall starts, slowly, unnoticed. (Ayurveda prescribed that children should not get involved in heavy endurance exercises. Let them play. There is a correlation. Just a hint. Separate topic) Downfall becomes rapid when you cross 30. More rapid when you cross 40. By the time you reach 50, you start feeling the ‘retiring’ feeling.

21 – This is the time when one should start paying attention to maintain equilibrium of the body balanced food, sleep and exercise. If you are in 30s, still there is a chance, start exercise! Running, swimming, real sports (Not cricket but basketball, football, hockey for 30 minutes at least), hiking, climbing, digging!

Exercise, plays vital role. Especially endurance exercise. Exercise, especially endurance exercise, is known to have beneficial effects on brain health and cognitive function. This improvement in cognitive function with exercise has been most prominently observed in the aging population. Exercise has also been reported to ameliorate outcomes in neurological diseases like depression, epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

As per this research [1] , endurance exercise induces FNDC5, a muscle protein. This induced protein helps inducing Bdnf (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a secreted protein, a growth factor. BDNF activity is correlated with increased long term potentiation and neurogenesis, which can be induced by physical activity. Long term potentiation is shown to improve learning and memory by strengthening the communication between specific neurons.

If you do not want your brain cells (neurons) to die prematurely, If you have started feeling midlife crisis, started forgetting things; Exercise is your ultimate solution.


Research


Animals that play a lot quickly learn how to navigate the world and adapt it. In short, they are smarter.

Jaak Panksepp (June 5, 1943 – April 18, 2017) was an Estonian-American neuroscientist and psychobiologist who coined the term “affective neuroscience”, the name for the field that studies the neural mechanisms of emotion.

His research suggests that active play selectively stimulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which stimulates nerve growth) in the amygdala (where emotions get processed) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (where executive decisions are processed).

Teens are under depression and committing suicide not because of some game but due to lack of social interaction and play time. And even if teens are engaged in play, they deprive sleep due to excessive screen addiction. Effect of play is nullified due to lack of sleep. If you play, you need sleep (or rather rest). Ever exciting nervous system surrenders and body succumb to unforeseen mental disorders.

Can PLAY Diminish ADHD and Facilitate the Construction of the Social Brain?

Refhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2242642/

The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) has been increasing at an alarming rate, paralleled by the prescription of highly effective psychostimulants whose developmental effects on growing brains remain inadequately characterized. One reason for the increasing incidence of ADHD may be the diminishing availability of opportunities for pre-school children to engage in natural self-generated social play. Pre-clinical work indicates that play can facilitate behavioral inhibition in growing animals, while psychostimulants reduce playfulness. The idea that intensive social play interventions, throughout early childhood, may alleviate ADHD symptoms remains to be evaluated. As an alternative to the use of play-reducing psychostimulants, society could establish play “sanctuaries” for at-risk children in order to facilitate frontal lobe maturation and the healthy development of pro-social minds.

Socially-induced brain ‘fertilization’: play promotes brain derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex in juvenile rats.

Ref: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12676333

Rough and tumble (R&T) play is assumed to have beneficial effects in developing organisms. To evaluate this idea, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression was evaluated in 32-day-old juvenile rats that were allowed to play for 30 min prior to sacrifice. In situ hybridization for BDNF mRNA revealed that the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex had significantly elevated BDNF mRNA expression as a result of play. These effects suggest that play may help program higher brain regions involved in emotional behaviors.

 

Exercise Induces Hippocampal BDNF through a PGC-1α/FNDC5 Pathway

[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S155041311300377X

Exercise can improve cognitive function and has been linked to the increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms driving the elevation of this neurotrophin remain unknown. Here we show that FNDC5, a previously identified muscle protein that is induced in exercise and is cleaved and secreted as irisin, is also elevated by endurance exercise in the hippocampus of mice. Neuronal Fndc5 gene expression is regulated by PGC-1α, and Pgc1a−/− mice show reduced Fndc5expression in the brain. Forced expression of FNDC5 in primary cortical neurons increases Bdnf expression, whereas RNAi-mediated knockdown of FNDC5 reduces Bdnf. Importantly, peripheral delivery of FNDC5 to the liver via adenoviral vectors, resulting in elevated blood irisin, induces expression of Bdnf and other neuroprotective genes in the hippocampus. Taken together, our findings link endurance exercise and the important metabolic mediators, PGC-1α and FNDC5, with BDNF expression in the brain.

Never compromise motherhood! Be with your child!

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Mom voice

We discussed here many times. Voice play critical role. In fact, it was very foundation of our education.

Even in difference voices, mother’s voice (including foster mothers like Gau, soil) and Guru’s voice is sheer magic.

Whatever research labs are producing, are related to Vaikhari-vak which is the grossest level of speech, and it is heard through the external senses. When sound comes out through the mouth as spoken syllables it is called as vaikhari.

Our culture and education suggests and promote deeper commune! Para, pashyanti, madhyama ! (Read article in comment for understanding)

Can you imagine what growing national assets (our kids!) miss due to idiotic parenting? (Mother and father busy in own life, having very little time to talk with kids)

Can you imagine the havoc when human interactions are replaced by machine interactions? (Tablet based education! 😀 )

This is how psychopaths (zombies , terrorists , stalkers) are groomed by society. By utter neglect from mother (and all motherly figures participating in parenting) in childhood.


Research


http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/05/moms-voice-activates-different-regions-in-children-brains.html

Mom’s voice activates many different regions in children’s brains

“This is an important new template for investigating social communication deficits in children with disorders such as autism,” Menon said. His team plans to conduct similar studies in children with autism, and is also in the process of investigating how adolescents respond to their mother’s voice to see whether the brain responses change as people mature into adulthood.
“Voice is one of the most important social communication cues,” Menon said. “It’s exciting to see that the echo of one’s mother’s voice lives on in so many brain systems.”

“Many of our social, language and emotional processes are learned by listening to our mom’s voice,” said lead author Daniel Abrams, PhD, instructor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “But surprisingly little is known about how the brain organizes itself around this very important sound source. We didn’t realize that a mother’s voice would have such quick access to so many different brain systems.”

Preference for mom’s voice

Decades of research have shown that children prefer their mother’s voices: In one classic study, 1-day-old babies sucked harder on a pacifier when they heard the sound of their mom’s voice, as opposed to the voices of other women. However, the mechanism behind this preference had never been defined.

Digitized Childhood, Dumb Adulthood

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For any artificial virtual perceptions, kids are too Young. Children who started watching television before their first birthday, and who watched more than two hours per day, were six times more likely to have language delays than children in a control group.[1]
There are many other detrimental effects on their mental and physical growth.

When your kid is glued to any of the mentioned screen(Mobile/TV/Tablet), he or she is disconnected from you and environment. Virtual mediums are one way mediums. There is no two way-communication. If a Kid touches a tree, there is a sensible response. If a kid does eye contact with any adult, there is a response. Screens don’t respond mentally/emotionally. This lead to potential disconnect. It delays brain development. You may think your kid is smart to learn operating of gadget but that is natural since their mind is by default operative and tend to learn operations quickly. What they lack is emotions as response. So only operating skills improve and overall development gets hampered.

They learn best when there is live human response. Toys help developing operative skills. If you replace humans with screens, they don’t get exposure to humans and so delay in development.

Wise parents keep kids away from screen as much as possible. Wise friends and relatives don’t give their mobiles to kids as a gesture of play.


Side note


Some fellow parents complain about chronic cough and constant whooping by their kids. Re-check – do you expose more to screens? It may be the reason!

” in the first two years of life, the brain triples in size. Connections that form in the brain, or synapses, are based on early life experiences. Prolonged exposure to rapid image changes during these first years of critical brain development preconditions the mind to expect high levels of stimulation. This, in turn, leads to inattention in later years. Studies on the impact of media have shown that the more kids watch TV before the age of three, the more likely they are to have attention problems in school. ”

Compare generation of 80s, 90s, 2000s and now. Day by day, they are becoming hyper but silly.

What I observe is, when parents are not able to respond Kid’s cry, they give mobile phone to keep them at peace. What a miserable parenting!


Research


Television viewing associates with delayed language development.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460044

RESULTS:

Forty-six boys and 10 girls; mean [+/-SD] age, 2.11+/-0.47 years of the case group and 59 boys and 51 girls; mean [+/-SD] age, 2.23+/-0.80 years of the control group were enrolled. Children who had language delay usually started watching television earlier at age 7.22+/-5.52 months vs. 11.92+/-5.86 months, p-value<0.001 and also spent more time watching television than normal children (3.05+/-1.90 h/day vs. 1.85+/-1.18 h/day; p-value<0.001). Children who started watching television at<12 months of age and watched television>2 h/day were approximately six times more likely to have language delays.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is a relationship between early onset and high frequency of TV viewing and language delay.

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