April 5, 2011 News

News in Brief

Pesticides and Parkinson's 

People who have used either of two industrial pesticides, rotenone and paraquat, are two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease (PD) than non-users. Researchers studied 110 people with PD and 358 matched controls from the Farming and Movement Evaluation Study, a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study. Neither pesticide is used for home garden or residential uses. Visit the National Institute of Environmental Health Services website for more information. 

Linguist Gauges Human Learning 

A linguist from Tel Aviv University has designed a computer program to determine whether a human's ability to learn language is limitless or is merely a function of a "language organ." The computer program replicates the bare minimum of cognitive machinery—much like what a child might have—to test the hypothesis that language must be learned. Early results show that the computer is able to "learn," and is not limited to preprogrammed limits. For more, visit the Tel Aviv University website.

Dyslexia, Reading, and the Brain 

Using targeted brain scans, researchers may accurately predict which teens with dyslexia will learn to read within three years. Researchers administered tests to 25 students with dyslexia ages 11–14 and viewed the teens' brain activity during testing using functional magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. Teens who showed increased activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus were more likely than the other teens to learn to read. Visit the Stanford University website for more information.


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