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Friday, April 3, 2015

Pediatric Research: Number of childhood cancer survivors increasing ♦ New genetic clues to pediatric seizure disorders ♦ Element of surprise helps babies learn

The prevalence of childhood cancer survivors is estimated to have increased, and the majority of those who have survived five or more years beyond diagnosis may have at least one chronic health condition
Cognitive psychologists have demonstrated for the first time that babies learn new things by leveraging the core information they are born with. When something surprises a baby, like an object not behaving the way a baby expects it to, the baby not only focuses on that object, but ultimately learns more about it than from a similar yet predictable object.
Researchers have identified a new genetic mutation at the heart of a severe and potentially deadly seizure disorder found in infants and young children. The finding may help scientists unravel the complex biological mechanism behind these diseases. Epileptic seizures are the result of bursts of electrical activity in the brain caused when groups of neurons fire in an abnormal pattern.
A study of 4,500 U.S. children over 20 years has identified a single test that can predict which kids will become nearsighted by the eighth grade: a measure of their current refractive error. The refractive error, or eyeglasses prescription, results from mismatches in the size and optical power of the eye that lead to blurry vision

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