November 1, 2011 News

News in Brief: November 1, 2011

New Website Offers Education Data on States 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has launched version 2.0 of ED Data Express, an interactive website that offers state-level K–12 education data on demographics and academic achievement. Upgrades include new data visualization tools, enhanced documentation, and social networking options for users.

Drug for Down Syndrome? 

A medical scientist from the University of Colorado is completing a major clinical trial of memantine, a drug that could boost the cognitive function of people with Down syndrome. Memantine, used to relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, has demonstrated effectiveness in mice with Down syndrome. Half of 39 participants with Down syndrome are receiving the drug, and half are receiving a placebo. Results are expected by early 2012. For more information, visit the university's website (search "Costa" and "Down syndrome").

Early Infant Activity Shapes Later Preferences 

Early motor experiences such as exploring toys can shape infants’ preferences for objects and faces. Researchers divided 36 typically developing 30-month-old infants into two groups. Infants in the first group (active motor experience) played with toys for 10 minutes each day for two weeks while wearing mittens with strips of Velcro ("sticky mittens"). The second group (passive experience) wore mittens, but without Velcro, and watched adults move the toys. Infants’ eye movements at the end of two weeks indicated that those in the active group showed more interest in faces. The full study appears in the September issue of Developmental Science(doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2011.01084.x).


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