Infant mortality rates in Texas vary dramatically from one zip code to the next

Infant mortality rates in Texas vary dramatically even across neighboring zip codes, according to a new analysis and mapping tool from researchers at The University of Texas System and UT Health Northeast. The analysis and searchable map, which are the first of their kind in Texas, use data from Texas Vital Statistics Linked Birth and Death Records from 2011-2014.

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College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students’ university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products — such as “fan cans,” store displays, and billboard ads — that pair beer with university colors, mascots, and logos. Research published in the January 2018 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that such campaigns may enhance the motivational significance of marketed beer brands, especially for students who identify strongly with their university. The researchers conclude that this effect could potentially increase underage students’ alcohol consumption.

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A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice.

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Heart health at risk for Latinas over worries about deportation

A recent study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) found that worry about deportations was associated with multiple cardiovascular health risk factors in Latinas from California’s Salinas Valley, an area with a large immigrant community. The study was published in the journal, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, on January 9.

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Girls’ social camouflage skills may delay or prevent autism diagnosis

On parent-reporting measures, girls with autism seem to struggle more than boys with performing routine tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk, even when the study group is normalized to meet similar basic clinical diagnostic criteria across sexes. The findings add to the growing evidence that girls with autism may show symptoms differently than boys, and that some of the social difficulties experienced by females with autism may be masked during clinical assessments.

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Food cues undermine healthy eating choices

Obesity has become a major health issue due to the current ‘obesogenic’ environment in which unhealthy food is both easy and cheap to purchase. As a result, many (government) organisations encourage healthy eating habits among the general public by providing information on healthy diets. Nevertheless, when people encounter stimuli that they have learned to associate with certain snacks, they tend to choose those products, even when they know these are unhealthy. This is the finding of research carried out by psychologists Aukje Verhoeven, Poppy Watson and Sanne de Wit from the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

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Study: High-stakes tests a likely factor in STEM performance gap

Male students tend to do better on high-stakes tests in biology courses, but it’s not because they are better students. Gaps in performance change based on the stakes of the test. A new study published in PLOS ONE confirms this, finding that performance gaps between male and female students increased or decreased based on whether instructors emphasized or de-emphasized the value of exams.

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