Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Influence of Having Breakfast on Cognitive Performance and Mood in 13- to 20-Year-Old High School Students: Results of a Crossover Trial

METHODS."A crossover trial was performed in boarding schools, involving 104 students between 13 and 20 years of age. The participants were randomly assigned to 2 equal-size groups on the morning of the first testing day. One half of the total sample received a standardized breakfast, whereas the other half received no breakfast. Seven days later, the treatment order was reversed. Measurements of cognitive function included standardized tests of attention and concentration, as well as tests of verbal and spatial memory. In addition, mood was rated with a self-administered questionnaire covering the dimensions of positive and negative affect, information uptake, arousal, and alertness. Statistical analysis consisted of repeated-measures analysis of variance."

RESULTS. Breakfast had no effect on sustained attention among high school students. Visuospatial memory was improved in male students. Self-reported alertness improved significantly in the entire study population. Male students reported feeling more positive after consuming breakfast, compared with the fasting condition.

CONCLUSIONS. This crossover trial demonstrated positive short-term effects of breakfast on cognitive functioning and self-reported alertness in high school students.
Source: PEDIATRICS Vol. 122 No. 2 August 2008, pp. 279-284 (doi:10.1542/peds.2007-0944)

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

HUD Reports Drop in the Number of Chronically Homeless Persons

From Press Release: "Last year, nearly 32,000 fewer persons lived on the nation's streets and in emergency shelters. That's according to a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that points to a 15 percent average yearly reduction in chronic homelessness since 2005." Source: U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development

Download full pdf report: HUD Annual Homeless Assessmsent Report to Congress | Link to Press Release

Change in wages and salaries in constant dollars, June 2007-June 2008

"Employment Cost Index – June 2008,"

"After adjusting for the changes in the prices of consumer goods and services, wages and salaries for private industry workers decreased 1.8 percent for the 12-month period ended June 2008, compared to a 0.7-percent increase for the 12-month period ended June 2007."

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The China trade toll

Widespread wage suppression, 2 million jobs lost in the U.S.

The growth of U.S. trade with China since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 has had a devastating effect on U.S. workers and the domestic economy. Between 2001 and 2007 2.3 million jobs were lost or displaced, including 366,000 in 2007 alone. New demographic research shows that, even when re-employed in non-traded industries, the 2.3 million workers displaced by the increase in China trade deficits in this period have lost an average $8,146 per worker/year. In 2007, these losses totalled $19.4 billion.1

The impacts of the China trade deficit are not limited to its direct effects on the jobs and wages of those displaced. It is also critical to recognize that the indirect impact of trade on other workers is significant as well. Trade with less-developed countries has reduced the bargaining power of all workers in the U.S. economy who resemble the import-displaced in terms of education, credentials, and skills. Annual earnings for all workers without a four-year college degree are roughly $1,400 lower today because of this competition, and this group constitutes a large majority of the entire U.S. workforce (roughly 100 million workers or about 70% of all workers, Bivens (2008a)). China, with nearly 40% of our non-oil imports from less-developed countries, is a chief contributor to this wage pressure.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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America's Four Middle Classes

:There isn't one American middle class; there are four. Each is different from the others in its attitudes, outlook and financial circumstance--sometimes in ways that defy traditional stereotypes of the middle class, according to an analysis of a recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project." Source: Pew Research Center

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Inflation Staggers Public, Economy Still Seen as Fixable

The public continues to be extremely downbeat about the national economy. Just 10% say the economy is in good shape, while 72% say the economy is either in a recession (54%) or a depression (18%). On a personal level, concerns about rising prices have surged. Beyond widespread anxiety about energy costs, a growing number of Americans say it is difficult for them to afford food.

The percentage of Americans who cite rising prices as the nation's most important economic problem has nearly doubled since February - from 24% to 45%. Nearly two-thirds (64%) now say their incomes are not keeping up with the rising cost of living, which also is up substantially from February (58%). The number saying it is difficult to afford food has followed a similar upward path; 38% say that now, compared with 27% five months ago. Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Disconnected: A Community and Technology Needs Assessment of the Southeast Los Angeles Region (SELA)

This technology needs assessment report of populations living in the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) region addresses the root causes and dilemmas of the “digital divide” problem. This study addresses the central question: how can the Southeast Cities Technology Collaborative (SCTC) structure a regional intervention project that spearheads development in the productive use of information technology and benefits a low-income population with low educational attainment in Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) cities?

The study first provides a regional survey of the fiscal, institutional, and technological challenges facing this demographic region. The SELA region is a sub-section of Los Angeles County and comprised of eight cities and one unincorporated district: Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon, Walnut Park, and the Florence-Firestone area. The demographic survey identifies that the SELA region has strong indicators of digital divide inequality.

The study further provides an assessment of existing digital divide intervention efforts in the SELA region: public access to computers and the internet at public schools, public libraries, nonprofit and community-based organization, city-initiated programs, and private for-profit services. The study takes account of community impressions and provides specific recommendations for institutional changes than can better integrate the population into a positive development process.

The study finds that investment in coordinating the integration of human capacity and technical infrastructure to network social service providers and users will support the social and economic advancement of the region. Investment in training school-age children, youth, and adults to harness the productive uses of information and telecommunications technology will yield the greatest benefits for future generations.
Source: Center for Latino Policy Research. Policy Reports and Research Briefs: Paper GordoArandaMasonRuiz2008.

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