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‘Baby talk’ helps infants learn words, study finds

‘Baby talk’ helps infants learn words, study finds

Science
Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Speaking "baby talk" to infants not only helps parents and caregivers connect with the young ones in their charge, but it may also help babies learn to make words, a study published Friday by the journal Speech, Language and Hearing found. Mimicking the sound of a smaller vocal tract clues babies into how words should sound coming out of their own mouths, the researchers said. "It seems to stimulate motor production of speech, not just the perception of speech," study co-author Matthew Masapollo said in a press release. "It's not just goo-goo ga-ga," said Masapollo, an assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The way adults instinctively speak to babies, using a higher pitch, slower speed and exaggerated pr...
Overall risk for global pandemics higher than previously thought, study finds

Overall risk for global pandemics higher than previously thought, study finds

Science
Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The COVID-19 pandemic may be the deadliest viral outbreak since the Spanish flu in 1918-19, but these events may not be as rare as previously thought, according to an analysis published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The assessment of new disease outbreaks over the past 400 years found that the probability of a pandemic with similar impact to COVID-19 in a given year is about 2%, the data showed. This means that a person born in 2000 had about a 38% chance of experiencing a major outbreak by now, the researchers said. That probability is only growing, highlighting the need to adjust perceptions of pandemic risks and expectations for preparedness, they said. "The most important takeaway [of our study] is that large pandemics lik...
Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Survey finds 82% of dead eagles with rat poison in their systems

Science
April 7 (UPI) -- Scientists found rat poison in the systems of 82% of the few hundred dead eagles examined for a multiyear survey between 2014 and 2018. The survey results, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, are a reminder of the lurking threats that face even the most well-protected animals. Advertisement "Generally, bald eagle populations have been thriving in the United States. This is great news and a conservation success story," corresponding author Mark Ruder told UPI in an email. "However, as wildlife health researchers, we are always concerned about the health of wildlife, including eagles. We live in a changing world and the human population puts a lot of pressure on our natural resources," said Ruder, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia's College of Vet...
Majority of e-cigarette users want to quit, study finds

Majority of e-cigarette users want to quit, study finds

Health
April 2 (UPI) -- Just over 60% of e-cigarette users want to quit the habit, according to a study published Friday by JAMA Network Open. In addition, more than 15% of adults who vape reported they have made an attempt to quit in the past year, the data showed. Advertisement The findings highlight that most people who use electronic cigarettes or vaping products want to stop, and that current smoking cessation approaches, designed for smokers of traditional cigarettes, may not be effective for them, researchers said. "Many people may have started vaping as part of an attempt to stop smoking cigarettes," study co-author Benjamin A. Toll told UPI in a phone interview. "What our data shows is that many of them are starting to realize that they are replacing an old habit with a new one that th...
1 in 4 hospitalized patients with most severe form of COVID-19 will die, study finds

1 in 4 hospitalized patients with most severe form of COVID-19 will die, study finds

Health
April 2 (UPI) -- About 23% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 experience the most severe form of the disease and roughly one in four of them will die due to its complications, according to a study published Friday by PLOS ONE. An additional 60% suffer from the "normal" symptoms, but still have serious heart and lung complications that carry a 10% risk for death, the data showed. Advertisement Collectively, COVID-19 patients in these two categories are more than seven times as likely to be hospitalized due to the illness and nearly three times as likely to die from it, compared to the 17% percent of patients with mild infections, the researchers said. "Patients do not suffer from COVID-19 in a uniform matter," researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis wro...