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Growing interest in publicly funded programs for young children has drawn attention to whether and how Head Start and other early childhood programs should be asked to prove their worth.

Congress asked the National Research Council for guidance on how to identify important outcomes for children from birth to age 5 and how best to assess them in preschools, child care, and other early childhood programs.

The Research Council's new report concludes that well-planned assessments can inform teaching and efforts to improve programs and can contribute to better outcomes for children, but poor assessments or misuse of the results can harm both children and programs. The report offers principles to guide the design, implementation, and use of assessments in early childhood settings.

Shark researchers from the University of New South Wales, Newcastle University, NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries (Australia) and University of California (USA) reveal unprecedented information about the feeding habits of the great white shark by analysing anatomical and biomechanical data from their skull and muscle tissues.

They generated 3-Dimensional models the skull of a 2.4-metre male great white shark on the basis of multiple x-ray images generated by a computerized tomography (CT) scanner.

Using novel imaging and finite element analysis (FEA), the team reconstructed the great white's skull, jaws and muscles, remodelling them as hundreds of thousands of tiny discrete, but connected parts.

COLD-fX, a patented extract of North American ginseng, discovered by a team of 25 University of Alberta scientists, is Canada's top selling cold and flu remedy for adults. It has been approved by Health Canada for use by adults and the FDA has cleared its sale as a new dietary ingredient (NDI) for adults in the U. S.

Positive findings of a safety study involving children and COLD-fX show promise for its future development for kids as a Canadian cold and flu remedy. The results appear in the August, 2008 issue of Pediatrics.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled Canadian trial which was conducted in collaboration with the University of Alberta in Canada was designed to measure the safety and tolerability of COLD-fX for treatment of cold and flu in children.

It's a Catch-22 of the highest order. People with alcohol problems often use alcohol to get to sleep -- but it actually keeps them from getting good-quality sleep all night long.

At the same time, they're highly likely to suffer from full-blown chronic insomnia that keeps them from getting enough sleep night after night – and that condition has been shown to cut their chances of getting sober again.

Meanwhile, their doctors aren't likely to prescribe them insomnia medications, because most sleeping pills can be habit-forming or have adverse effects due to an alcohol-damaged liver.

The world's smallest species of snake, as thin as a spaghetti noodle and small enough to rest comfortably on a U.S. quarter, has been identified on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The species, with adults averaging just under four inches in length, was discovered by Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Penn State. They list the discovery in the journal Zootaxa.

Hedges found the new snake -- a type of threadsnake -- in a tiny forest fragment on the eastern side of Barbados. He believes the species is rare because most of its potential habitat has been replaced by buildings and farms. "Habitat destruction is a major threat to biodiversity throughout the world," he said. "The Caribbean is particularly vulnerable because it contains an unusually high percentage of endangered species and, because these animals live on islands, they have nowhere to go when they lose their habitat."


Thid past week the “Klinikum rechts der Isar” of the Technical University of Munich saw the first transplant of complete arms after several years of preparatory work.

The patient's name was not released, and all that is known about the the identity of the arm donor is that it was a young person who died shortly before the surgery.

The patient, doing well given the circumstances, was operated on by the Clinic for Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery (Director Prof. Hans-Günther Machens). The procedure, with a team of 40 people participating, was headed by PD Dr. Christoph Höhnke (Head of the transplant team, Senior Physician of the Clinic for Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery) and Prof. Edgar Biemer (long-standing ex-board member of the plastic surgery division).