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Technology and Child Development: Evidence from the One Laptop per Child Program

This paper presents results from a large-scale randomized evaluation of the One Laptop per Child program, using data collected after 15 months of implementation in 318 primary schools in rural Peru. The program increased the ratio of computers per student from 0.12 to 1.18 in treatment schools. This expansion in access translated into substantial increases in use of computers both at school and at home. No evidence is found of effects on test scores in math and language. There is ...

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Contribution of snacks to dietary intakes of young children in the United States

Nutritional quality of children’s diets is a public health priority in the fight against childhood obesity and chronic diseases. The main purpose of this study was to determine contribution of snacks to energy and nutrient intakes and to identify leading snack food sources of energy, total fat, and added sugars amongst young children in the United States. Using the 2005–2012 NHANES data, dietary intakes of 2- to 5-year-old children were analysed from a parent-reported 24-hour dietary recall (n = 3,429). Snacking occasions ...

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Making the Case for Playful Learning

Play is one of the natural strengths of childhood through which children acquire and also practice critical language, cognitive, and socio-cognitive abilities. This long-standing belief has widely shaped curriculum in early childhood, mainly in the form allotting time and space for free play. However, lately the effectiveness of play for early childhood development and consequently its place in the early childhood curriculum are under attack especially in the USA. Policy makers are substituting playtime with didactic instruction aimed at imparting ...

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Effect of a Text Messaging Intervention on Influenza Vaccination in an Urban, Low-Income Pediatric and Adolescent Population

Influenza infection results in substantial costs, morbidity, and mortality. Vaccination against influenza is particularly important in children and adolescents who are a significant source of transmission to other high-risk populations, yet pediatric and adolescent vaccine coverage remains low. Traditional vaccine reminders have had a limited effect on low-income populations; however, text messaging is a novel, scalable approach to promote influenza vaccination.

Among children and adolescents in a low-income, urban population, a text messaging intervention compared with usual care was associated with ...

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Imaging brain development: The adolescent brain

The past 15 years has seen a rapid expansion in the number of studies using neuroimaging techniques to investigate maturational changes in the human brain. In this paper, I review MRI studies on structural changes in the developing brain, and fMRI studies on functional changes in the social brain during adolescence. Both MRI and fMRI studies point to adolescence as a period of continued neural development. In the final section, I discuss a number of areas of research that are just ...

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Decision-making in the adolescent brain

Adolescence is characterized by making risky decisions. Early lesion and neuroimaging studies in adults pointed to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and related structures as having a key role in decision-making. More recent studies have fractionated decision-making processes into its various components, including the representation of value, response selection (including inter-temporal choice and cognitive control), associative learning, and affective and social aspects. These different aspects of decision-making have been the focus of investigation in recent studies of the adolescent brain. Evidence ...

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Research on Positive Youth Development in Boys of Color: Implications for Intervention and Policy

Boys of color (BOC) face unique challenges related to the intersection of being male and an ethnic minority in our society. There is an urgent need for a more balanced view of psychosocial functioning in BOC that highlights positive developmental trajectories. In response to this need, the current chapter provides an overview of the research on positive youth development (PYD) in BOC with a focus on implications for programs and policies. The chapter presents an historical overview and the theoretical ...

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Adolescent impulsivity phenotypes characterized by distinct brain networks

The impulsive behavior that is often characteristic of adolescence may reflect underlying neurodevelopmental processes. Moreover, impulsivity is a multi-dimensional construct, and it is plausible that distinct brain networks contribute to its different cognitive, clinical and behavioral aspects. As these networks have not yet been described, we identified distinct cortical and subcortical networks underlying successful inhibitions and inhibition failures in a large sample (n = 1,896) of 14-year-old adolescents. Different networks were associated with drug use (n = 1,593) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ...

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Adolescent Stress–Induced Epigenetic Control of Dopaminergic Neurons via Glucocorticoids

Environmental stressors during childhood and adolescence influence postnatal brain maturation and human behavioral patterns in adulthood. Accordingly, excess stressors result in adult-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. We describe an underlying mechanism in which glucocorticoids link adolescent stressors to epigenetic controls in neurons. In a mouse model of this phenomenon, a mild isolation stress affects the mesocortical projection of dopaminergic neurons in which DNA hypermethylation of the tyrosine hydroxylase gene is elicited, but only when combined with a relevant genetic risk for neuropsychiatric ...

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Worldwide application of prevention science in adolescent health

The burden of morbidity and mortality from non-communicable disease has risen worldwide and is accelerating in low-income and middle-income countries, whereas the burden from infectious diseases has declined. Since this transition, the prevention of non-communicable disease as well as communicable disease causes of adolescent mortality has risen in importance. Problem behaviours that increase the short-term or long-term likelihood of morbidity and mortality, including alcohol, tobacco, and other drug misuse, mental health problems, unsafe sex, risky and unsafe driving, and violence ...

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