News Stories

Use Your Hands

In Italy and Spanish-speaking countries, people tend to "talk with their hands" as well as their voices. If you can't always find the right word, you might want to start doing this too, because new research suggests that gesturing while you talk may improve your access to language. One thing you should definitely do with your hands is wash them often. Doctors think that the reason SARS never reached Japan is that Japan is a nation of hand-washers.

Dr. Elena Nicoladis studied the hand gestures of bilingual children as they told the same story twice, first in one language and then the other. The researchers were surprised by what they saw. Nicolandis says, "The children used gestures a lot more when telling the story in what they considered to be their stronger language?We thought the children would be more inclined to use gestures to help them communicate in their weaker language. What we think is going on here is that the very fact of moving your hands around helps you recall parts of the story?the gestures help you access memory and language so that you can tell more of the story." She thinks this could be a boon to older people who are having ?senior moments."

Nicoladis also discovered that Chinese women who spoke English at a higher level than Chinese men also used more hand gestures when speaking English than the men did. Girls generally use more hand gestures to tell a story than boys do, and it's well-documented that girls develop language skills faster than boys.

Hand washing with soap could cut the incidence of infections in children in developing countries in half, according to The Lancet.

The CDC's Stephen Luby studied side-by-side squatter settlements in Karachi, Pakistan, to measure the health benefits of washing your hands with soap. He studied 36 neighborhoods with a total 600 households. 300 households were told about the benefits of washing their hands regularly, especially after coming home from shopping or visiting friends, and were given soap. Half of these received antibacterial soap and the other half were given plain soap. The other 300 were not informed or given soap, as a control. Fieldworkers visited households once a week for a year to distribute the more soap and remind everyone to wash their hands. During these visits, they recorded the symptoms of everyone in the household. It was found that washing their hands with soap reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 50% in children under 5 and reduced the incidence of diarrhea, which is one of the biggest childhood killers, by 53%. There was no difference between households given antibacterial soap and those given plain soap. In fact, some researchers say that antibacterial soap can be dangerous, because it leads to the formation of superbugs.

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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What's that woman doing in the kitchen? (At least she washed her hands) Is she cooking?or practicing witchcraft?

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