How Much TV does your child watch?

TVTV is a ubiquitous part of modern living for everyone – including your average toddler. The amount of TV even our smallest children watch may surprise you. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF):

· two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of 2 hours a day

· kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day, primarily TV and videos or DVDs

· kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games

How much should they be watching? And how can you transform their screen time into a learning experience? More on that in future postings.

Memory for Faces, Best After Age 30

New research has discovered the talent for remembering faces peaks late, between the ages of 30 to 34. According to a report which will appear in the newest edition of the journal Cognition, the skill of recognizing unfamiliar faces is best done at a somewhat later age than most other cognitive skills.

Most experts believe that word skills, memory and other intellectual functions achieve peak performance in the early 20s of a person’s life. This the moment of full maturity, but before brain cell death begins to take its toll. Consistent with this belief is the fact that when tested for the ability to remember names and upside down faces, (a task which demands remembering of general visual patterns) people seem to do best at ages 23 or 24, according to Laura Germine of Harvard University, the leader of a team of psychology graduate students there.

But in a surprise result, the brain seems to need an additional ten years to get really good at face recognition, to being the best that it can be.
“Specialized face-processing in the brain may require an extended period of visual tuning during early adulthood to help individuals learn and recognize lots of different faces,” Germine says.

Four Basic Skin Care Tips

skinMost good skin care can be broken down into a four-step regimen which, if followed, will give you a strong likelihood of maintaining healthy skin. These four steps are:

1. Cleansing – never use soap on your face. On the other hand, you don’t need to spend a lot of money either. The drugstore will provide you with the right cleanser, a creamy one for dry skin or a clear one for oily skin. Never over-clean your face.

2. Exfoliation will make a big difference so don’t skip this step. Once a week, make use of a good facial scrub or micro-dermabrasion kit.

3. Moisturize – everyone should moisturize, even people with oily skin (unless you have acne). But do be careful not to over-moisturize as this can clog pores.

4. Apply sunscreen. Yes, that’s right, sunscreen is just as important as a moisturizer for healthy, young-looking skin, as sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles. Use sunscreen from a young age, even on cloudy days. Your best bet is to buy two moisturizers, one for night, and one for day with UV protection.

Aspirin May Reduce Cancer Risks

A new Oxford University study has shown that a small amount of aspirin (75mg), taken daily, can greatly reduce cancer death rates. Professor Peter Rothwell, who directed the research, explained that healthy households should not start taking aspirin as if it were a vitamin, although the new discovery “tips things towards it being well worth it.”

The results were described as “promising” by Cancer Research UK, and family health expert Ed Yong said that they “encourage anyone interested in taking aspirin on a regular basis to talk to their GP first.” The full results of the study were publicized in the Lancet Medical Journal.

Explaining Saturn’s Rings

SaturnSaturn has been admired since ancient times for its beautiful, mysterious rings, giving it the appearance of a lovely jewel hanging in the heavens above. Many theories have been proposed for the formation of these wonderful rings, the latest of which being that the rings are the remnants of an ancient moon.

The theory suggests that Saturn was orbited by a large moon which lost its icy outer layer before its rocky inner part went plunging into the surface of the giant planet. These icy fragments continued to circle the solar system’s second largest planet, eventually spewing off small moons of its own. The estimate for the date of this event is said to be about 4.5 billion years ago.

Robin Canup is a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Ms. Canup explains the logic of the theory in the following way. “Not only do you end up with the current ring, but you can also explain the inner ice-rich moons that haven’t been explained before.”

Canup is the author of the paper detailing particulars of the theory which appears on the December 12th internet edition of the journal Nature.