Tuesday, January 12, 2016
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Please contact SIRRI
to reserve your seat(s).
If you are unable to attend,
please call for a free
*Please Note: SIRRI will be closed
January 1st-10th for remodeling.
Study Provides Strongest Evidence Yet of a Link Between Breakfast Quality and Educational Outcomes
November 16, 2015
|A direct and positive link between pupils' breakfast quality and consumption, and their educational attainment, has for the first time been demonstrated in a ground-breaking new study carried out by public health experts at Cardiff University.|
The study of 5000 9-11 year-olds from more than 100 primary schools sought to examine the link between breakfast consumption and quality and subsequent attainment in Key Stage 2 Teacher Assessments 6-18 months later.
The study -- thought to be the largest to date looking at longitudinal effects on standardised school performance -- found that children who ate breakfast, and who ate a better quality breakfast, achieved higher academic outcomes.
The research found that the odds of achieving an above average educational performance were up to twice as high for pupils who ate breakfast, compared with those who did not.
Eating unhealthy items like sweets and crisps for breakfast, which was reported by 1 in 5 children, had no positive impact on educational attainment.
Pupils were asked to list all food and drink consumed over a period of just over 24 hours (including two breakfasts), noting what they consumed at specific times throughout the previous day and for breakfast on the day of reporting.
Alongside number of healthy breakfast items consumed for breakfast, other dietary behaviours -- including number of sweets and crisps and fruit and vegetable portions consumed throughout the rest of the day -- were all significantly and positively associated with educational performance.
Social scientists say the research, published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, offers the strongest evidence yet of a meaningful link between dietary behaviours and concrete measures of academic attainment.
Hannah Littlecott from Cardiff University's Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPher), lead author of the study, said: "While breakfast consumption has been consistently associated with general health outcomes and acute measures of concentration and cognitive function, evidence regarding links to concrete educational outcomes has until now been unclear.
"This study therefore offers the strongest evidence yet of links between aspects of what pupils eat and how well they do at school, which has significant implications for education and public health policy -- pertinent in light of rumours that free school meals may be scrapped following George Osborne's November spending review.
"For schools, dedicating time and resource towards improving child health can be seen as an unwelcome diversion from their core business of educating pupils, in part due to pressures that place the focus on solely driving up educational attainment.
"But this resistance to delivery of health improvement interventions overlooks the clear synergy between health and education. Clearly, embedding health improvements into the core business of the school might also deliver educational improvements as well."
Professor Chris Bonell, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University College London Institute of Education, welcomed the study's findings. He said: "This study adds to a growing body of international evidence indicating that investing resources in effective interventions to improve young people's health is also likely to improve their educational performance. This further emphasises the need for schools to focus on the health and education of their pupils as complementary, rather than as competing priorities. Many schools throughout the UK now offer their pupils a breakfast. Ensuring that those young people most in need benefit from these schemes may represent an important mechanism for boosting the educational performance of young people throughout the UK."
Dr Graham Moore, who also co-authored the report, added: "Most primary schools in Wales are now able to offer a free school breakfast, funded by Welsh Government. Our earlier papers from the trial of this scheme showed that it was effective in improving the quality of children's breakfasts, although there is less clear evidence of its role in reducing breakfast skipping.
"Linking our data to real world educational performance data has allowed us to provide robust evidence of a link between eating breakfast and doing well at school. There is therefore good reason to believe that where schools are able to find ways of encouraging those young people who don't eat breakfast at home to eat a school breakfast, they will reap significant educational benefits."
Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales also welcomed the findings. She said: "Public Health Wales welcomes this important work. It increases our understanding of the link between health, in this case what we eat, and educational outcomes. We need to understand more about how eating breakfast helps to improve educational outcomes but this work will certainly support the case for schools to consider measures to improve diet for children -- to benefit not just their immediate health but also their achievement."
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, grated or chopped finely
2 T. (28 g) coconut oil
2 T. ground flax seed
3 T. almond milk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup (43 g) almond flour
1/4 cup (28 g) gar-fava flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. xanthan gum
About 1/3 cup powdered palm sugar (I made mine by whizzing palm sugar in a coffee grinder)
Preheat oven to 325°.
In the top of a double-boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil. While that is melting, whisk together flax seed and almond milk in the large bowl. When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and pour into the flax seed mixture. Add the palm sugar and vanilla and beat well.
In a small bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients, except the powdered palm sugar. Whisk well.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined.
Form dough into small balls. Place the balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, roll them in the powdered palm sugar. (Yes, they’ll be hot. You can do it!) Once completely cooled, roll them one more time in the powdered palm sugar.
Keeping Emotions Under Control with Neurofeedback
By Sissa Medialab
December 2, 2015
Childhood and adolescence are ages of constant change and crucial experiences. At times the emotional weight can be difficult to manage and may lead to psychological issues in adulthood. Neurofeedback is a method that helps individuals to keep their brain activity (for example a response to an emotional event ) under control. While routinely used on adults, a new study published in NeuroImage demonstrates that the technique shows promise for young people as well.
Difficulty handling emotions and keeping them under control can cause various psychological issues and even lead to full-blown psychiatric problems (in cases of emotionally catastrophic events). This is especially true in childhood. Trauma experienced in youth can contribute to later problems such as depression, anxiety and even more serious conditions. There are various techniques for helping people control their emotions, including neurofeedback, a training method in which information about changes in an individual's neural activity is provided to the individual in real-time and this enables the individual to self-regulate this neural activity to produces changes in behaviour. While already in use as a treatment tool for adults, until now the methodology had not been used on young people who are more vulnerable and could thus benefit from more efficient control of their emotions.
The new study used real time fMRI-based neurofeedback on a sample of kids. "We worked with subjects between the ages of 7 and 16," explains SISSA researcher and one of the authors of the study, Moses Sokunbi. "They observed emotionally- charged images while we monitored their brain activity, before 'returning' it back to them." The region of the brain studied was the insula, which is found in the cerebral cortex.
The young participants could see the level of activation of the insula on a "thermometer" presented on the MRI projector screen and were instructed to reduce or increase activation with cognitive strategies while verifying the effects on the thermometer. All of them learned how to increase insula activity (decreasing was more difficult).Specific analysis techniques made it possible to reconstruct the complete network of the areas involved in regulating emotions (besides the insula) and the internal flow of activation. In this way, scientists observed that the direction of flow when activity was increased reversed when decreased.
"These results show that the effect of neurofeedback went beyond the superficial- simple activation of the insula- by influencing the entire network that regulates emotions," explains Kathrine Cohen Kadosh, Oxford University researcher and first author of the study. "They demonstrate that neurofeedback is a methodology that can be used successfully with young people."
"Childhood and adolescence is an extremely important time for young people's emotional development," says Jennifer Lau, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London, who has taken part in the study. "Therefore, the ability to shape brain networks associated with the regulation of emotions could be crucial for preventing future mental health problems, which are known to arise during this vital period when the brain's emotional capacity is still developing."
Children Who Take ADHD Medicines Have Trouble Sleeping, New Study Shows
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
November 23, 2015
|Stimulant medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) cause sleep problems among the children who take them, a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln concludes.|
The study addresses decades of conflicting opinions and evidence about the medications' effect on sleep.
In what's known as a "meta-analysis," researchers from the UNL Department of Psychology combined and analyzed the results from past studies of how ADHD medications affect sleep.
In a study published online by the journal Pediatrics, the Nebraska researchers found children given the medicines take significantly longer to fall asleep, have poorer quality sleep, and sleep for shorter periods.
"We would recommend that pediatricians frequently monitor children with ADHD who are prescribed stimulants for potential adverse effects on sleep," said Katie Kidwell, a psychology doctoral student who served as the study's lead author.
About 1 in 14 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with ADHD, a chronic condition that includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. In the most common form of ADHD treatment, about 3.5 million are prescribed stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.
Many research articles have been written in the past 30 years on whether ADHD medications harm the ability to sleep. Some researchers have found that the drugs do interfere with sleep, particularly if taken later in the day. Others maintain the medications improve patients with ADHD's ability to sleep, by relieving symptoms and reducing resistance to bedtime. Indeed, some suggest that sleep problems are caused by the medication wearing off near bedtime, creating withdrawal symptoms.
"One reason we did the study is that researchers have hypothesized different effects, and there are some conflicting findings in the literature," said Timothy Nelson, an associate professor of psychology involved in the study. "This is when a meta-analysis is most useful. By aggregating and previous research in a rigorous and statistical way, we can identify the main findings that we see across all these studies. It's essentially a study of studies."
After screening nearly 10,000 articles, Kidwell and her colleagues reviewed 167 full texts before selecting nine studies of sufficient rigor for their analysis. Tori Van Dyk and Alyssa Lundahl, also psychology doctoral students, assisted in the effort.
Studies chosen for the analysis were peer-reviewed, randomized experiments. The studies did not rely on parental reports of their children's sleeping patterns, instead requiring objective measures obtained through clinical sleep studies or wristband monitors used at home.
The researchers found that both methylphenidate medications like Ritalin and amphetamines like Adderall cause sleep problems, without identifying differences between the two. Although they were unable to determine whether varying dosage amounts changed the effect on sleep, they found that more frequent dosages made it harder for children to fall asleep.
They found that drugs tend to cause more sleep problems for boys. The problems dissipate, but never completely go away, the longer children continue to take the medication.
"Sleep impairment is related to many cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences, such as inattention, irritability and defiance," Kidwell said. "Sleep adverse effects could undermine the benefits of stimulant medications in some cases. Pediatricians should carefully consider dosage amounts, standard versus extended release, and dosage frequencies to minimize sleep problems while effectively treating ADHD symptoms."
She also recommended considering behavioral treatments, such as parental training and changes to classroom procedures and homework assignments, to reduce ADHD's negative consequences.
"We're not saying don't use stimulant medications to treat ADHD," Nelson said. "They are well tolerated in general and there is evidence for their effectiveness. But physicians need to weigh the pros and cons in any medication decision, and considering the potential for disrupted sleep should be part of that cost-benefit analysis with stimulants."
The highest compliment
we can receive
is the referral
of your friends, family,
SIRRI offers these services
for both children & adults:
- Neurofeedback & Biofeedback
- QEEG / Brain Mapping
- Cognitive Retraining: memory, processing & problem solving skills
- Attention, Concentration & Focus Training
- Auditory & Visual Processing
- Reading Development: fluency & comprehension
- Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
- Stress & Anxiety Management
- Peak Performance