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Childhood is a crucial neurodevelopmental period. We investigated whether childhood reading for pleasure (RfP) was related to young adolescent assessments of cognition, mental health, and brain structure.
We conducted a cross-sectional and longitudinal study in a large-scale US national cohort (10 000 + young adolescents), using the well-established linear mixed model and structural equation methods for twin study, longitudinal and mediation analyses. A 2-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis for potential causal inference was also performed. Important factors including socio-economic status were controlled.
Early-initiated long-standing childhood RfP (early RfP) was highly positively correlated with performance on cognitive tests and significantly negatively correlated with mental health problem scores of young adolescents. These participants with higher early RfP scores exhibited moderately larger total brain cortical areas and volumes, with increased regions including the temporal, frontal, insula, supramarginal; left angular, para-hippocampal; right middle-occipital, anterior-cingulate, orbital areas; and subcortical ventral-diencephalon and thalamus. These brain structures were significantly related to their cognitive and mental health scores, and displayed significant mediation effects. Early RfP was longitudinally associated with higher crystallized cognition and lower attention symptoms at follow-up. Approximately 12 h/week of youth regular RfP was cognitively optimal. We further observed a moderately significant heritability of early RfP, with considerable contribution from environments. MR analysis revealed beneficial causal associations of early RfP with adult cognitive performance and left superior temporal structure.
These findings, for the first time, revealed the important relationships of early RfP with subsequent brain and cognitive development and mental well-being.
The objectives of the research reported in this Research Communication were to compare the variation of hind quarter skin surface temperature pre- and post- milking in dairy cows and to determine the optimal time to capture images by infrared thermography for improving the sensitivity and specificity of mastitis detection in dairy cows. Hind quarter infrared images of 102 Holstein dairy cows were captured from the caudal view by an infrared camera pre-milking and post-milking. The udder skin surface temperature was measured with the help of the image processing software. No significant difference was found between the left and right quarter skin surface temperature pre- and post- milking. The hind quarter skin surface temperature pre-milking was not significantly influenced by milk yield, but exhibited a rising trend along with the increase of milk yield. The hind quarter skin surface temperature post-milking was significantly influenced by milk yield. This leads us to conclude that the sensitivity and specificity of IRT in mastitis detection may be influenced by milk yield and it may be better to capture the infrared images of cow udders pre-milking.
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