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Children's refusal to swallow liquid medication, or even vomit it back up, can be an important public health problem that means longer or more serious illness for thousands of kids each year.

In a report presented today at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Julie A. Mennella, Ph.D., described how knowledge from basic research on the chemical senses explains why a child's rejection of bitter medicine and nutritious but bitter-tasting foods like spinach and other green vegetables is a reflection of their basic biology.

She says that children are born with a much stronger preference for sweet flavors, naturally attracting infants to mother's milk. This heightened preference for sweets continues even in their teenage years. By late adolescence, kids start to outgrow their sugary predilection.


A group at the University of Washington has developed software that for the first time enables deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to use sign language over a mobile phone. UW engineers got the phones working together this spring, and recently received a National Science Foundation grant for a 20-person field project that will begin next year in Seattle.

This is the first time two-way real-time video communication has been demonstrated over cell phones in the United States. Since posting a video of the working prototype on YouTube, deaf people around the country have been writing on a daily basis.

"A lot of people are excited about this," said principal investigator Eve Riskin, a UW professor of electrical engineering.

As the American Presidential election approaches, pollsters are scrambling to predict who will win. A team of researchers at The University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the University of Padova, Italy say they can give pollsters a new way to determine how the undecided will vote - even before the voters know themselves.

Senior author Bertram Gawronski, Canada Research Chair in Social Psychology at The University of Western Ontario, explains that sometimes, people have already made up their minds at an unconscious level, even when they consciously indicate they are undecided.

Atypical characteristics of children’s linguistic development are early signs of the risk of developing reading and writing disabilities, or dyslexia. New research points to preventive exercises as an effective means to tackle the challenges children face when learning to read. The results achieved at the Centre of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research were presented at the Academy of Finland’s science breakfast on August21st.

Headed by Professor Heikki Lyytinen at the University of Jyväskylä, the research delved into how to predict and prevent difficulties in learning to read and write. The study involved a 107 children with a dyslexic parent and a control group of children without a hereditary predisposition to dyslexia. The researchers followed the development of the predisposed children, from birth through school age.

Unusually high levels of physical exertion do cause oxidative stress, but this does not result in any long-term damage to DNA, say the results of a new research project.

As part of the project, 42 male athletes took part both in a triathlon and an extensive biomedical study, which examined numerous physiological values parameters during the period from two days before to 19 days after the triathlon.

The range of personal views on the benefits - or otherwise - of physical activity covers everything from "sport is good for you" to "sport is a killer" - not very scientific.

There is no doubt that regular sporting activity has physiological benefits but there is no evidence that there are benefits of extreme endurance sports.

Dr Zane Andrews, a neuroendocrinologist with Monash University's Department of Physiology, says he has discovered key appetite control cells in the human brain degenerate over time, causing increased hunger and potentially weight-gain as we grow older.

Dr Andrews found that appetite-suppressing cells are attacked by free radicals after eating and said the degeneration is more significant following meals rich in carbohydrates and sugars.

"The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged, and potentially you consume more," Dr Andrews said.