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To Solve School Problems, Study Bugs!

We recently reported on a lot of strange traits in cockroaches. In its ability to learn, the cockroach is a moron in the morning and a genius in the evening (some of us are that way too, especially if we don't get enough sleep). This is why scientists are studying these bugs.

The few studies that have been done with mammals suggest their ability to learn also varies with the time of day. For example, a recent experiment with humans found that people?s ability to acquire new information is reduced when their biological clocks are disrupted, particularly at certain times of day. Similarly, several learning and memory studies with rodents have found that these processes are modulated by their circadian clocks. One study in rats associated jet lag with amnesia. There are many humans who would agree that it does this to them too.

When it comes to learning, it pays to figure out which time works best for you, because both education and income can determine whether a person will remain healthy, but those who stay in school longer have the best chance, because education so strongly influences income. And it will help you to GET that education you need if no one in your family smokes!

Researcher Pamela Herd says, "Those with less education are more likely to develop health problems and those with low incomes who already have health problems are more likely to see their health worsen." Her team discovered that compared with those with a college degree, the odds of having health problems were 81% higher for those without a high school diploma and 56% greater for those with a high school diploma.

Herd says, "Policy makers tend to focus on individual behaviors, such as smoking and obesity, to address health disparities in the population. While it is clear that smoking and being obese are bad for one's health, a far more effective strategy is to go the actual source of the problem. Improving access to education can address numerous intermediary causes of poor health."

But smoking IS bad for you?so bad that teens exposed to secondhand smoke at home are at increased risk of test failure in school. Researcher Bradley Collins says, "Our study suggests that in adolescents, secondhand smoke exposure could interfere with academic test performance."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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