Dr. Maria Iacovou Shows Feeding On Demand Makes Babies Smarter

Researchers from Essex and Oxford Universities recently published the results of a study in the European Journal of Public Health that showed that moms should keep feeding those little babies on demand if they want their children to have higher IQs than their routinely scheduled friends.

The researchers looked at three types of mothers and babies – those who were fed on a strict schedule, those who were supposed to be fed on a schedule but weren’t really and those who were fed on demand.

The data came from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children that looked at over 10,000 children who were born in the Bristol area in the early 1990s.

The researchers were able to isolate that babies fed on demand showed higher IQ scores, by four to five points, at the age of 8; they performed better on national curriculum tests at the ages of 5, 7, 11 and 14.

Interestingly enough, the findings related to both bottle fed and breast fed babies, as reported by Dr Maria Iacovou from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University.

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The researchers found a definite trade off, as mothers who fed on a schedule got more sleep and seemed to enjoy parenting more, while those who fed on demand had children who performed better on IQ tests.

Dr Iacovou cautioned people not to be too excited by this information just yet.  As she said,

‘Nonetheless, this is the first and only study of its kind, and further research is needed before we can say categorically that how you feed your baby has a long-term impact on his or her IQ and academic attainment, and before we can say definitively what the mechanisms are by which this relationship comes about.’

A Pill A Day Keeps the Racism Away

In an unusual study from Oxford University published in the journal Psychopharmacology, scientists appear to have isolated an unusual side-effect in a common heart disease drug – it minimizes racism.  Volunteers who took the beta-blocker appears, on a standard psychological test, to be less racist than did those who were given the placebo.

Goodbye Racism

The racism the test looked at was racism at an “implicit” level and what the scientists believe they are showing is that much of racism is based on fear and emotional responses.  Beta blockers suppress fear and can also be used to treat anxiety and panic.  Experimental psychologist Dr. Sylvia Terbeck from Oxford University said, “We wanted to study the neurobiology of prejudice. Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias.”

She continued,

“Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”

During the study, two groups of 18 white participants took a “racial Implicit Association Test” one or two hours after they took either the propranolol or the placebo.

The researchers discovered that it took placebo volunteers longer to associate pictures of black people with positive words than it took to associate white people’s faces with positive words.
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Professor Terbeck explained to the Mail Online that,

“We think this test reveals what a person feels. It looks at the automatic emotional attitude. We found those who took the placebo had a negative racial emotional bias.”

Creating Controversy

The results of the study have definitely stirred up controversy. Co-author Professor Julian Savulescu from the Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy said that the results raise the “tantalizing possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis. However, Dr. Chris Chambers, from the University of Cardiff’s School of Psychology, countered that the results need to be viewed with a great deal of caution.

He said,

“We don’t know whether the drug influenced racial attitudes only or whether it altered implicit brain systems more generally. And we can’t rule out the possibility that the effects were due to the drug incidentally reducing heart rate. So although interesting, in my view these preliminary results are a long way from suggesting that propranolol specifically influences racial attitudes.”

Emma Watson to Star in New Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson, the much-loved actress who played Hermione in all 8 Harry Potter films, has already begun to broaden her career. As the new face of Lancome and the one of the leads in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the 21 year old has grown in the industry very quickly.

A New Beauty and the Beast

Her latest project is a new version of Beauty and the Beast. Unlike the recent ‘Beastly’, the film is to be directed by Guillermo Del Toro who is known for his more mysterious, dark films like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Warrior Princess

In the past Watson has expressed her preference of playing strong women, which adds to the theory that this film will indeed stand out from previous versions. “I feel like young girls are told they have to be this kind of princess and be all this sweet stuff,” she said before stating that that is ridiculous. “I identify with more of being a warrior princess, so if I had to be a princess, I’d have to kick some ass first. That would have a lot of people terrified.”

Don’t Forget Her Academic Career

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With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II out in theaters and making more than half a billion dollars, Watson has decided to return to her academic career as well. She told People Magazine that she plans in spending next year at Oxford University.

“I’m still a student at Brown,” she said. “It’s just that I’ll spend my third year abroad- at Oxford. Then I’ll return to Brown to complete my last year.”