The Ew Factor
Why You Should Drop the 5-Second Rule Immediately
Think that banana is safe for your baby to eat because you scooped it off the floor so quickly? Just toss it. Contamination takes less than one second, according to Rutgers University scientists, whose latest study is the ultimate reality check for sloppy eaters, servers, and, of course, you know who, too).
In a series of experiments, Rutgers researchers used four different types of food (watermelon, dry bread, buttered bread, and gummy candies) and four different types of flooring (stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood, and carpet) to evaluate bacteria growth on edibles at 1, 5, 30, and 300 seconds.
All in all, they gathered more than 2,500 measurements.
Turns out that the 5-second rule is a “significant oversimplification” of the floor-to-food transmission, researchers said, adding that bacteria can contaminate food “instantaneously.” The wetter the food, and the longer the food stayed on the floor, the more bacteria it collected.
Based on these findings, you may want to ditch the old rule and try this one: if food goes from the counter to the floor, it goes in the garbage.
Game vs. Game
To Hike STEM Skills, Give Kids Blocks to Play With
Here’s something to think about: structured block-building games may boost kids’ spatial abilities more than board games and other activities, according to a new study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
The study is the first to use brain scans to track the effects of block-building games on kids’ brain activity, said Sharlene Newman, professor at the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Indiana.
In the experiment, researchers looked at the impact of a structured block-building game and a word-spelling board game on the spatial processing in 28 eight-year-old children. Spatial processing involves visualizing in the mind what an object will look like after it is rotated.
We know. At the moment you are probably asking yourself: And I care about this, why?
Well, research elsewhere suggests spatial thinking is a key predictor of success in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math—hot careers of the 21st century.
"Block play changed brain activation patterns," Newman said.
“It changed the way the children were solving the mental rotation problems; we saw increased activation in regions that have been linked to spatial processing only in the building blocks group,” she added. Researchers used two games to conduct the experiment: Blocks Rock! and Scrabble.
Timing Is Everything
Good News About Video Games (If Your Kids Spend an Hour a Week or Less Playing Them)
Research recently published in the Annals of Neurology suggests playing video games for about an hour a week may provide kids with benefits, but more time playing video games may be detrimental.
Investigators at the Hospital del Mar in Spain said that in a study involving more than 2,400 seven- to eleven-year-old children, playing video games for about an hour a week was associated with better motor skills and greater school achievement scores in the study children, but those gains were not seen in kids who spent more than two hours a week playing video games.
Gaming for nine hours a week or more was associated with problems involving conduct, peer relations, and social abilities. Researchers said there is nothing inherently good—or bad—about video games. The issue seems to be how much time your kids spend playing them.