Daily Orbit – Bedtimes and Brainpower

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,554
    7-9-13: On this episode of the Daily Orbit, regular bedtimes for kids help their cognitive development, earthworms help track Earth’s climate history, and we’re seeing the future of IVF.

    Emerald Robinson: Babies, bedtimes, and brainpower? Scooping some poo for climate history. A little cosmo detective work. And we are winning on today's Daily Orbit!


    Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I'm Emerald Robinson. Okay, parents, here's a valid excuse for putting the kids to bed at 7:30. A new UK study followed kids from ages 3-7 to study the effects of bedtimes and brainpower, specifically what affect having the same bedtime each night has on a child's brain. 


    Irregular bedtimes when kids were three years old were associated with lower scores in reading, math, and spatial awareness in both boys and girls when they reached the age of seven. But irregular bedtimes at the age of five were not associated with poorer brainpower, suggesting that the age of three is a sensitive time period in cognitive development. 


    The study authors said that irregular bedtimes could disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, which affects the brain's ability to learn and retain information. So in short, put your kids to bed on time for their brain and for a little new time. 


    Well, scientists are always looking for new ways to research climate history to provide insight of future climate models but this one is a crock of - haha -- gotcha. Notice I didn't say it. But for real, scientists are using earthworm poo to look at Earth's climate history. Earthworms excrete balls of calcium carbonate crystals - a chalk-like material. These balls retain a memory of the temperature at which they were created, offering a window into past climates. Scientists are gathering thousands of samples to study and say earthworm poo offers more accuracy than other techniques for studying climate. And that's no b.s.


    A 135-year-old cosmic mystery may have been solved. Way back in 1877 one scientist noticed small, glassy spheres, called chondrules, embedded in chondrites, the largest class of meteorites. But how did the spherical chondrules even get there? 


    A new theory proposed by a cosmochemist is that planetesimal impacts could have generated "rapidly heated, relatively high-pressure, water-rich vapor plumes containing high concentrations of dust and droplets" which created environments favorable for formation of chondrules. He plans to collaborate with other scientists to see if they can recreate these chondrule-forming conditions. How cool would it be when someone asked you so what do you do? to be like, I'm a cosmochemist. How about you?


    Come on baby, come on, come on, momma need some money. Oh my God! I won, I won!!!!!! Wait? How much did I really win exactly? A new study looked at how celebration sounds of slot machines may mislead casino patrons. Celebration sounds are given off during a win, but also when a player wins less than initially wagered, which is not "winning" as Charlie Sheen would say. 


    The study found that players enjoyed playing more with sounds than without but also that sounds caused players to overestimate their number of wins. They added that the enjoyment and misperceptions of winning could contribute to gambling problems. 


    Researchers say sounds may be an integral part of the disguise in losses disguised as wins. You casinos might be trying to trick us into spending more money by thinking we are winning...no?!


    And a new in vitro fertilization technique might soon have infertile couples winning in the baby jackpot. The first baby was born in Philadelphia using the new technique called Next Generation Sequencing or NGS. This in vitro technique guarantees the chromosomal integrity of an embryo before it is returned to the mother. 


    IVF typically has few guarantees often resulting in abnormalities that prevent a full-term pregnancy. Using NGS, doctors sent off 13 eggs to a lab for sequencing of which 3 were found to be viable and one returned back to the mother resulting in the birth. NGS could dramatically increase the pregnancy rate from IVF, driving costs down and making many hopeful wanna-be parents' baby dreams come true.


    And that's all for the Daily Orbit. Hope you hit your jackpot today! Cha-Ching!