Third-trimester fetuses can recognize facelike patterns of light shown to them in the womb, according to a new study. Researchers say the study indicates that babies are neurologically prepared even before birth to recognize faces. The study was published in Current Biology. Researchers presented 39 fetuses with a facelike pattern projected through their mothers’ abdomen, along with an inverted pattern. The 34-week fetuses preferentially turned in the direction of the facelike stimulus, which corresponded to two eyes and a mouth. When inverted, the pattern failed to evoke that response.

Texts can help lower blood sugar levels

Text messages can help motivate Type 2 diabetics to lower their blood sugar levels, according to a new paper. Researchers randomly assigned 126 people whose blood sugar levels were not well controlled into two groups, one that received standard care and a second that received up to three motivational diabetes-related text messages per day for six months. At the end of the period, those who received the texts had reduced their “A1C” blood glucose levels from 9.5 percent to 8.5 percent. Those who received standard care saw only a 0.2 percentage point decrease.

Chronic pain may be tied to dementia risk

Chronic pain may be linked to an increasing risk for dementia. Researchers interviewed 10,065 people over 62 in 1998 and 2000, asking whether they suffered “persistent pain.” Compared with those who reported no pain problems, people who reported persistent pain in both 1998 and 2000 had a 9 percent more rapid decline in memory performance. Moreover, the probability of dementia increased 7.7 percent faster in those with persistent pain.

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