Neural Interactions Aid Observational Learning

Observational LearningThere are many ways that a person can learn. Many believe that learning by experience is the best way to learn. Observing other people’s experiences may actually be an even more effective way to learn. This type of learning is known as observational learning. Recently, researchers at MIT discovered the brain circuit that is responsible for allowing you to learn through observations.

How Observational Learning Works

Everything you learn on a day-to-day basis is through observation. This is because learning through experience isn’t always possible. For example, learning what not to eat because it’s poisonous and will kill you is not something you can learn through experience, but only through observation.

The brain circuit responsible for observational learning is different from the network that’s used to learn from firsthand experiences. The observational learning circuit of the brain actually relies on information from a part of the brain that’s responsible for interpreting social cues.

This circuit was discovered as a result of brain scanning studies. Previous studies identified two parts of the brain known as the ACC (Anterior Cingulate Cortex) and the BLA (Basolateral Amygdala) that became active when an individual was watching someone else. It’s the ACC that helps to interpret social cues, while the BLA helps the individual process emotions.

The way they work together to create observational learning was discovered through studies performed using mice. The reaction of mice watching other mice receive shocks in response to certain cues was recorded. The mice that did not receive the shock would still develop fear when confronted with that same cue later on.

Essentially, researchers found that the ACC becomes more active when you experience something happening to someone else. The information gathered by the ACC is sent to the BLA, which then forms an association between the cue and what happened.

Observational learning is one of the main ways that we learn, and researchers recently figured out what makes observational learning possible within our brains. For all the latest scientific news and updates, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

7 Facts About Sleep Positions

Sleep PositionsMost people know that a good night’s sleep is important to their mental and physical health; however, not everyone realizes the way you sleep can have a big impact on your overall health as well. Not to mention that the position you sleep in can say a lot about your personality! The following are seven facts that you should know about sleep positions:

  1. Sleeping on your stomach is more likely to cause you to have a restless night sleep. Not only can it be difficult to get the rest you need, but the stomach sleep position can cause strain to both your neck and lower back.
  2. Sleeping on your back can cause back pain, especially if you already have back issues. It can also aggravate any issues you might have with sleep apnea or snoring.
  3. If you sleep on your stomach but with your arms wrapped around a pillow below your head, then according to some research, you are likely to have an outgoing and sociable personality. Unfortunately, you may not be as open to criticism as others.
  4. If you sleep with your arms down and close to your body, then you’re likely to have a quieter personality.
  5. If you sleep with your arms and legs spread out, then you’re probably a good listener and are less likely to want to be the center of attention.
  6. If you sleep in a fetal position, then your personality is probably going to be more on the friendly and sensitive side. The fetal position is also the most common position for women to sleep in and they are twice as likely to sleep this way than men.
  7. If you sleep on your side but with your arms out in front of you, then research shows that you’re likely to be openminded but stubborn about changing your mind once you’ve come to a decision.

These are seven facts about sleep positions that you probably didn’t know about. Find out more about how sleeping can affect your health and for health advice in general, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

4 Facts About Pet Vaccinations

Pet VaccinationsPeople are often worried about getting vaccinated – as they should be. It’s one of the reasons August was named National Immunization Awareness Month; to make sure everyone remembers to get their vaccinations. Vaccinations can help prevent serious illnesses.

In addition to ensuring you and your family get properly vaccinated, don’t forget to do the same for your pets. People forget that their pets are susceptible to illness as well. Use August to make sure their vaccinations are current. To help improve awareness of pet vaccinations, here are four facts about pet vaccination you should know:

  1. Pet vaccines don’t protect pets; they protect people as well. For example, rabies kills more than 55,000 people around the world every year. If your pets become infected, rabies is one of the diseases they can spread to your family. You will want to get your pets vaccinated against this deadly disease.
  2. Diseases once killed thousands of pets every year. Vaccinations helped nullify the impact these diseases had – but they haven’t necessarily died out. Without proper vaccinations, pets are still susceptible to many of the diseases that may not be as prevalent anymore.
  3. Pets are required to get vaccinated at a young age. If you have puppies or kittens, you should bring them to the vet to determine when they need their shots. Throughout the first six months, puppies will need to be vaccinated for distemper, measles, parainfluenza, DHPP, and rabies. Kittens will need shots for distemper, rabies, and feline leukemia.
  4. Both dogs and cats need regular booster shots every one to three years depending on the vaccine. For example, rabies shots should be administered every year. Rabies is often fatal for dogs, which is why it’s so important to keep to their vaccination schedule.

These are a few important facts about pet vaccinations that you should keep in mind so you’ll remember to stick to your pet’s vaccination schedule. For more general advice about the health of your pets and your family, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

August Is Children’s Eye Safety Month

eye safetyWhen it comes to children’s safety, eye care is often overlooked. One of the reasons for this is that people just assume eyesight is something that isn’t affected until old age. Then if it is, it can be improved with eyeglasses. Poor eyesight is something that can often be avoided, which is why eye safety is so important. And why August is eye safety month.

Increasing Eye Problems

According to a study done in 2009 by the National Eye Institute, nearsightedness has increased significantly since the 1980s. From 1979 to 2009, nearsightedness among Americans increased over 66 percent. Children are more at risk of developing eye problems in this day and age due to the prevalence of digital screens; computers, tablets, smartphones, portable video game systems…

The reasons constant exposure to these screens could hurt their eyesight is because they emit high-energy visible blue light, which can damage the retinal tissue over the long-term.

Improving Eye Safety

It’s important that you pay attention to the eye safety of your children since they typically don’t keep track of their time staring at a screen. They are also very adaptable; they may not notice that their eyesight is worsening.

There are a few ways you can help protect the health of your children’s eyes. First of all, monitor how often they use digital screens. Limit their recreational use. You should get them into the habit of taking frequent breaks. If they are in front of the computer doing homework for hours, encourage them to get up for five or ten minutes after every hour.

You should also make sure that they get a professional eye exam at the age of six months, three years, and five years. If you see that they are having issues, such as constant squinting or eye-rubbing, schedule a checkup as soon as possible.

For more health advice, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

What Is Hepatitis?

What Is HepatitisHepatitis is a condition that affects many people every year. Hepatitis A is the most common and affects over 150,000 Americans every year. Every year, 250,000 Americans contract Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C, which is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer, is by far the most dangerous. In 2016, there were 3,000 reported cases in the U.S. However, the CDC estimates that there may have been as many as 41,000 total cases. It’s become an emerging public health threat, which is why May was named Hepatitis Awareness Month.

What Is Hepatitis C?

Although Hepatitis C can be incredibly dangerous, it can be cured. The CDC estimates that over 3.5 million Americans have the disease and don’t even realize it. In fact, people can be infected for more than three decades without knowing, which is why the disease is often referred to as “the silent epidemic.” Roughly 70 to 80 percent of the people that catch it won’t experience any symptoms. Symptoms may be limited to feeling nausea or fatigue.

Getting tested for it is important for these very reasons. Baby Boomers, in particular, should get tested since they are five times more likely to have it than other generations. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine that will effectively prevent it because there are so many different strains of it.

However, anyone that has contracted this type can take medication that will cure it. In fact, there is a 95 percent chance that the drugs developed to cure Hepatitis C will cure you completely, thereby eliminating the risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis.

There are many steps you can take to help prevent it as well, including avoiding risky behaviors, such as sharing needles or personal items that might have blood on them. Even though there is a cure for the disease, many people are living with the disease and don’t realize it. Be sure to get checked this year.

For more health news, visit us at The Benefits Store today.