Mild Farsightedness Linked to Poor School Performance

Farsighted preschoolers and kindergartners have a harder time paying attention and that could put them at risk of slipping behind in school according to a new study by researchers at OSU.

An estimated 4 to 14 percent of preschoolers have moderate farsightedness, or hyperopia, but it often goes undetected in younger children. When moderate farsightedness is found, glasses aren’t always recommended because there’s disagreement about whether vision correction is appropriate for these children.

But an increasing body of evidence is showing that moderately farsighted 4- and 5-year-olds are at risk of struggling with the building blocks of learning. In the new study, which appears this month in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, researchers tested children with and without farsightedness to evaluate their attention, visual perception and the ability to integrate visual perception and motor skills.

Overall, the children who were moderately farsighted based on results of eye exams performed at the start of the study were significantly more likely to have poorer scores on the attention-related tests.

Though this study didn’t look specifically at the link between attention and learning, previous research has established that difficulties with attention can stand in the way of greater success in the classroom.

The researchers have applied for funding to do a follow-up study to determine the effect of glasses to correct farsightedness on these deficits. Until that work is complete, it remains unclear whether prescribing glasses to children in this age group will help with the setbacks the researchers have discovered.

OSU Researchers get to see electrons leave atoms for first time

Researchers have glimpsed, momentarily, an electron’s-eye view of the world.

They have succeeded for the first time in tracking an electron leaving the vicinity of an atom as the atom absorbs light. In a way akin to taking “snapshots” of the process, they were able to follow how each electron’s unique momentum changed over the incredibly short span of time it took to escape its host atom and become a free electron.

In the journal Nature Physics, the researchers write that following electrons in such fine detail constitutes a first step toward controlling electrons’ behavior inside matter—and thus the first step down a long and complicated road that could eventually lead to the ability to create new states of matter at will.

The technique the researchers used is called RABBITT, or Reconstruction of Attosecond Beating By Interfering Two-photon Transitions, and it involves hitting the atoms in a gas with light to reveal quantum mechanical information. It’s been around for nearly 15 years, and has become a standard procedure for studying processes that happen on very short timescales.

One immediate consequence is that researchers can now classify the quantum mechanical behavior of electrons from different atoms.

OSU Find Positive Correlation Between Exercise and Lupus Symptom Relief

OSU researchers compared mice against a related pilot study in humans and its showing how regular activity and stress reduction could lead to better health in the long run for lupus sufferers.

In the mouse model of lupus, researchers from found that moderate exercise significantly decreased inflammatory damage to the kidneys. While 88 percent of non-exercised mice had severe damage, only 45 percent of the treadmill-exercised animals did.

Researchers believe several biomarkers known to drive inflammation plummeted in the exercise group. Previous studies have supported the idea that physical activity is good for lupus patients, but hard scientific evidence explaining why has been scarce.

Researchers hope to change that through their work and help lupus sufferers relieve some of their pain through this new information on the benefits of exercise and lupus related inflammation.

OSU Studies Folks Who “Trust Their Gut”

People who tend to trust their intuition or to believe that the facts they hear are politically biased are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs, a new OSU study suggests. And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptions about high-profile scientific and political issues.

Previous research has shown connections between belief in conspiracy theories and education level, religious fundamentalism and party affiliation. In this study, a belief that truth is political was the strongest predictor of whether someone would buy into conspiracy theories. Garrett also found that those who rely on intuition to assess the truth had a stronger tendency to endorse conspiracies.

They examined data from three nationally representative surveys that included anywhere from 500 to almost 1,000 participants. Their aim was to better understand how people form their beliefs and how that might contribute to their willingness to accept ideas with little or no evidence to support them.

The researchers compared how participants’ approach to deciding what is true was related to their beliefs about hot-button topics. The study included questions about the debunked link between vaccines and autism and the science-based connection between human activity and climate change.

The researchers evaluated survey respondents’ tendency to agree with seven well-known conspiracy theories. More than 45 percent said they didn’t buy that John F. Kennedy was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald alone; 33 percent agreed that the U.S. government was behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and 32 percent said Princess Diana’s death was orchestrated by the British royal family.

However, researchers said it’s important to acknowledge that our beliefs aren’t based solely upon political predispositions.

Want to “rebound” from failure?

If you want to “rebound” from failure, focus on your emotions, not your failure, says new OSU study.

Researchers found that people who just thought about a failure tended to make excuses for why they were unsuccessful and didn’t try harder when faced with a similar situation. In contrast, people who focused on their emotions following a failure put forth more effort when they tried again.

While thinking about how to improve from past mistakes might help – this study didn’t examine that – the researchers found that people who reflect on a failure do not tend to focus on ways to avoid a similar mistake. When asked to think about their mistakes, most people focus on protecting their ego. They think about how the failure wasn’t their fault, or how it wasn’t that big of a deal, anyway.

Researchers stated that in most real-life situations, people probably have both cognitive and emotional responses to their failures. But the important thing to remember is not to avoid the emotional pain of failing, but to use that pain to fuel improvement.