There was a lot of science related news for parents to digest last week, and I’m only getting around to posting about them on Sunday.
Day care and Asthma – Oh shoot. Science has a pesky way of changing it’s mind when better evidence comes along. Why can’t it be more stubborn and dogmatic? I had previously written that day care seemed to protect against asthma, but a new study by scientists at Erasmus University shows that the original research was perhaps interpreted prematurely.
ADHD and the Brain
A new study by the Institute of Drug Abuse in maryland may shed new clues on the chemical origins of ADHD. It seems that adults with ADHD are deficient in dopamine. This study confirms others that have been trending in this direction.
School Grades and Age – After I read “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell, I felt a bit more confident that my daughter would be at an advantage as one of the older students in her class. Gladwell surprised me by pointing to research that proved a statistical academic boost of students who were older than their peers.
Now, I’m reading “Nurture Shock” (which I will review at a later date), and the authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman have written an article that challenges Gladwell’s interpretation that the age of a student is linked to his academic achievement. A closer look at the data shows that older kids are actually more likely to have affluent parents (for reasons unknown); it seems more likely to Merryman and Bronson that a child’s heritage is the factor that actually affects their grades, not the fact that they’re the oldest. I think the success of older students is more likely a combination of both affluence and age, but this might be a case of the wealthy controlling the sample by planning pregnancies and/or being savvy about red shirting .