Friday, February 15, 2013

Nurture Shock

Here's a fascinating book I recommend. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.   Scientific studies on childhood development presented in interesting storytelling that upend many ideas of conventional wisdom of nurturing children.  Or if you're one of us that has a short attention span from reading too many blogs instead of books, read their blogs from Newsweek online:

One of the best things to take away from their writing is to critically think about  parenting strategies, look at the research behind such strategies, and don't ignore results you find along your parenting journey.   "The central premise of this book is that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring – because key twists in the science have been overlooked."

Here's a sample of topics: 

New Evidence on Whether 5-Year-Olds Should Redshirt Kindergarten
(spoiler alert - the answer is No)

The Neuroscience of Children’s Passions
 (or why Dumb Toys Make Kids Smarter)

What Do Preschools Have in Common with Bridges and Airports?
(Kids in noisy environments learn to tune out noise, but also subtleties of language.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Placebo Phenomenon


The Placebo Phenomenon:

Sometimes even when people know they are receiving a placebo, they get better.

Excerpts from a fascinating article about the research of  Ted Kaptchuk. Neuroscience research studies are showing that actual changes in brain chemicals similar to medication effects, take place from placebo treatments.

a repost from

"Researchers have found that placebo treatments—interventions with no active drug ingredients—can stimulate real physiological responses, from changes in heart rate and blood pressure to chemical activity in the brain, in cases involving pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and even some symptoms of Parkinson’s."

"The results were not surprising: the patients who experienced the greatest relief were those who received the most care. But in an age of rushed doctor’s visits and packed waiting rooms, it was the first study to show a “dose-dependent response” for a placebo: the more care people got—even if it was fake—the better they tended to fare."

"The study’s results shocked the investigators themselves: even patients who knew they were taking placebos described real improvement, reporting twice as much symptom relief as the no-treatment group."

Read the entire article at: