Instead of telling children with hyperactivity and attention problems to sit still, perhaps we should encourage them to wriggle at will, according to a study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The study, in Child Neuropsychology, found that children with ADHD concentrate much better when they fidget than when they don’t.

Could hyperactivity play a role in the thinking and behavior of children with attention problems, possibly even a beneficial one? In a small study involving one type of cognitive test, Julie Schweitzer, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, and her colleagues investigated the relationship between hyperactivity and children’s concentration problems and found that fidgeting aided concentration.

“I know it’s difficult to accommodate hyperactivity,” Schweitzer said, but it may really help children whose fidgeting bodies seem to contribute to calmer, more focused brains.

 

High hopes for cholera vaccine

An inexpensive, little-known cholera vaccine appears to work so well that it can protect entire communities and perhaps head off epidemics like the one that killed nearly 10,000 Haitians in 2010.

A major study in the Lancet found that the vaccine gave individuals more than 50 percent protection against cholera and reduced life-threatening episodes of the infection by about 40 percent in Bangladesh, where the disease has persisted for centuries.

In a result that surprised researchers, the vaccine worked far better than supplying families with chlorine for their water and soap for hand-washing.

 

Hot spots for colon cancer

Although the risk of death from colorectal cancer in the United States has dropped dramatically in recent decades, there are three “hot spots” in Appalachia and the rural South where death rates are “unnecessarily high,” researchers said.

The highest colon cancer death rates are in the lower Mississippi Delta, where rates were 40 percent higher than the rest of the country during 2009 to 2011, according to a study published Wednesday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The quickest fix is increased screening, which she said was the main reason that the death rate fell 27 percent across the United States between 2000 and 2010.

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