Study links music instruction in childhood to future success

Music and Children's IQ

Parents who want their children to grow up to become well-rounded adults may encourage them to participate in a wide range of activities from a young age. Music instruction and other artistic endeavors are especially popular options, and a new study from Michigan State University reveals that such experience could lead to professional success in adulthood.

MSU researchers reached this conclusion after making a connection between participation in arts and crafts activities in childhood and businesses and patents created in adulthood, according to a press release from the University.

"If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you're more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published," said Rex Lamore, director of the University's Center for Community and Economic Development.

Some MSU students, such as sophomore Nick Verbanic, agree with the study's findings. The chemistry major told The State News that he has been playing music since he was in sixth grade and is better able to express himself because of it. He cites music instruction and his ability to play an instrument as the reason why he can be more creative and inventive.

In addition to music instruction, the results of an IQ test for kids may be able to reveal signs of children's potential.

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Brain abnormalities present in former football players

Football and IQ Score

Anyone who has ever watched a game of tackle football knows how easily head injuries can occur in this rough-and-tumble sport. While athletes typically receive medical treatment following a serious injury on the field, they may not realize how long complications from blows to the head can linger.

New research from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London provides insight into the types of brain abnormalities that could be present in former professional football players. In the study, researchers worked with data from 13 former professionals from the National Football League, as well as 60 healthy volunteers.

Participants took a test and had their brain activity measured. This allowed researchers to observe unusual patterns in the brains of the former football players.

"The critical fact is that the level of brain abnormality correlates strongly with the measure of head impacts of great enough severity to warrant being taken out of play," said Adam Hampshire, the study's lead author. "This means that it is highly likely that damage caused by blows to the head accumulate towards an executive impairment in later life."

Based on these findings, individuals who injure their head more than once may want to take an IQ test to see if there have been any long-term effects in terms of their cognitive abilities.

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Personality changes can follow brain surgery

Brain surgery and personality change

It is not uncommon for individuals with brain tumors to experience changes to the way they think or behave. The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center states that changes can vary from forgetting important events to sudden outbursts of anger.

While personality changes are common before individuals undergo brain surgery to remove brain tumors, they can surface after an operation as well. This was the case with one woman who had surgery to remove a pituitary tumor about 30 years ago, according to the Deseret News. It was after the procedure that her husband began to notice changes to his wife's personality. He told his story on The Loveumentary podcast.

"My wife and I have been married more than 40 years, that's a long time," Jim said in the podcast. "And over the years, I think because of the surgery, she's had some of the traits that we really appreciated from her, have gone by the wayside. ... There are many characteristics that she has currently that she didn't have when we got married. … She's a different person." 

While not everybody will go through the same experience following brain surgery, those who have received a procedure of this nature may want to take a personality test to see if their behavior has undergone significant changes.

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Study reveals new proof of physical activity's impact on brain health

Brain health and exercise

Mood improvements, more energy and better weight control are just three possible benefits of regular physical activity, according to the Mayo Clinic. Past studies have also identified a link between exercise and cognitive improvements. New research from Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has revealed even more evidence to back up this claim.

In a study, the results of which appear in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers found that endurance exercise elevated FNDC5, a molecule, and irisin, its cleavage product, in mice brains. Irisin is important, as it has the power to activate genes that play a role in cognition. The end result is improved brain health.

"Our results indicate that FNDC5/irisin has the ability control a very important neuroprotective pathway in the brain," said Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, who led the researchers.

Of course, exercise does not benefit mice alone. If individuals work out on a regular basis, they may want to take an IQ test. Whether they run or lift weights, their hard work may have had a positive effect on their cognitive abilities.

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Time in an ICU linked to cognitive impairment

Time in an ICU linked to cognitive impairment

If the findings of a recent Vanderbilt University study are correct, individuals may want to take an IQ test after receiving treatment from an intensive care unit. The research, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, reveals that signs of cognitive impairment often appear following time in an ICU.

Members of the University's ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Group conducted the study, which involved 821 patients who had cardiogenic shock, respiratory failure or septic shock. Of these individuals, 74 percent developed delirium over the course of treatment in a hospital's ICU.

This is significant, as delirium has not only been linked to a higher risk of mortality, but long-term cognitive impairment as well. The fact that patients can enter an ICU with no signs of cognitive problems is also important.

"As medical care is improving, patients are surviving their critical illness more often, but if they are surviving their critical illness with disabling forms of cognitive impairment then that is something that we will have to be aware of because just surviving is no longer good enough," said Pratik Pandharipande, a professor of anesthesiology and critical care and the study's lead author.

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Unconventional ways of finding work

Ways to find work

There are the conventional ways people find employment opportunities, such as through networking and online job postings, and there are the more unorthodox ways. It is these latter, more unpredictable methods of finding work that may give frustrated job seekers hope.

CBS MoneyWatch recently highlighted a few of the unconventional ways people have found jobs. For instance, Simon Tam of Portland, Ore., a freelance digital and social media marketing specialist did not always work in this field. He was once the manager and bassist in a band called The Slants. After some time on the road, building the group's brand while entertaining crowds, Tam caught the attention of an Oregon college that ended up hiring him.

"I showed how I took a brand new brand - my group - to international levels of attention within a few months and no marketing budget to speak of, just by finding the right message and audience," Tam told the news source.

Other individuals who spoke to the news outlet found out about job opportunities by attending someone else's school reunion and bartending.

According to, blogging, tweeting and even renting a billboard could all yield positive employment outcomes. However, job seekers may want to try more conventional strategies, such as taking an aptitude test, before they consider putting their face on a billboard.

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Omega-3s may not be as helpful as people assume

Omega-3s and IQ Test

People who want to stay sharp may have heard that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has the potential to boost their cognitive skills. For this reason, they may dine on fish like salmon and tuna, or snack on walnuts. However, new research reveals that these foods may not be as helpful as people think.

In a University of Iowa study, researchers looked at data from 2,157 women between the ages of 65 and 80 who had their memory and thinking skills tested annually for six years. These individuals also underwent blood tests, so the researchers knew the amount of omega-3s the study participants were consuming.

The researchers identified no noticeable changes in the subjects' memory test results as they changed their omega-3 intake. The same was true of how quickly their thinking skills declined over the course of the study.

"There has been a lot of interest in omega-3s as a way to prevent or delay cognitive decline, but unfortunately our study did not find a protective effect in older women," said Eric Ammann, the study's author. "In addition, most randomized trials of omega-3 supplements have not found an effect."

Of course, this is just one study, and its results should not persuade individuals to stop eating foods rich with omega-3s. Anyone who is curious to see how much these fatty acids affect their own thinking skills may want to take an IQ test.

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The chance of TBIs raises the risks of playing sports

The chance of TBIs raises the risks of playing sports

People of all ages could sustain a traumatic brain injury at any time. A child could slip out of his or her parent's arms and receive a head injury, or someone skiing could lose balance and hit a tree. TBIs are especially a problem for athletes young and old.

Dangerous games
Football, hockey and other sports are both fun to play and to watch. However, they can also be quite dangerous if players are not careful.

In 2009 alone, an estimated 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. This figure represented an increase of almost 95,000 over the previous year's injury total.

Between 2008 and 2009, the number of head injuries caused by baseball and softball, basketball, cycling and water sports all increased.

TBI complications
A severe TBI has the potential to change someone's life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that short- and long-term changes to thinking, sensation, language and emotion can all follow a blow to the head.

This means that a TBI could cause people to have a harder time recollecting memories, tasting certain foods, expressing themselves or acting as they did before they sustained their injury. If someone were to take a personality test before and after an accident, the results from the two assessments may seem as though they are from different people. At the same time, the results of an IQ test might show a significant loss in IQ points, depending on the severity of the TBI.

Providing protection
As it is no secret that rough-and-tumble sports like football can cause injuries, there are those who are taking steps to protect players from TBIs. For example, such schools as Brown University, Dartmouth College and Virginia Tech have purchased high-tech football helmets for their student players, The Prescott Daily Courier reported.

These helmets feature built-in sensors and alert monitors. When a player sustains a head impact that goes beyond a predetermined threshold, trainers on the sideline are alerted. This allows players to be pulled out of the game to receive immediate medical attention if they require it.

As long as athletes know the risks associated with playing sports, they can take the proper measures to ensure the safety of their head.

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How people can stay ready for the job search, even when employed

How people can stay ready for the job search, even when employed

Employed individuals never know when they will have to dust off their resume and start looking for a new job. If recent years have taught workers anything, it is how quickly the economy - and their lives - can change. For this reason, it is not a bad idea for workers to always be prepared to restart their employment search at a moment's notice.

In addition to taking an aptitude test, here are a few things people can do to ensure they are ready to start searching for new job opportunities at any moment:

A resume is never finished
When job seekers come across a great job opportunity online, they want to apply right away. However, if their resume has not been updated since before their last job, they could end up spending the next few hours looking up information to help them redo their resume. In the time it takes for job seekers to do this, someone else could be submitting an application and up-to-date resume that secures them the position.

Job seekers can avoid this scenario entirely by keeping their resume updated at all times. On the job, workers are constantly picking up new skills and collecting accolades. They should all be reflected on a resume.

If individuals do not have the time to update their resume regularly, The Daily Muse recommends keeping a Word document for the purpose of jotting down accomplishments as they come up. When the time comes to update a resume, job seekers can easily pick and choose items from the Word document.

Always have a networking state of mind
Receiving a job offer from a company should not be an excuse to stop networking. Workers never know when meeting someone new will open a door to new career opportunities.

U.S. News & World Report states that effective networking begins before the job search begins. Individuals should be willing to establish long-lasting relationships with other professionals that are built on trust and the exchange of mutually beneficial information.

Keep using social media
Today, many individuals are finding job opportunities on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For this reason, it is important for workers to keep using these websites, even when they are not searching for open positions.

At the same time, the information they share online should reflect their professional accomplishments. This means their LinkedIn profile should be updated as frequently as their resume.

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Gifted sister passes away

Gifted sister passes away

After taking an IQ test, those who receive a high score could go on to brag about their intelligence or remain humble about it. Gifted individuals could certainly learn a lesson from Sister Mary Alban Bouchard of Canada's Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, who recently passed away at the age of 81, the Toronto Star reported. Rather than seeking attention or fame, Bouchard dedicated her life to making the world a better place.

Sister Rita Marie McLean, one of Bouchard's friends, remembers how intelligent the late sister was.

"She really had a high IQ," McLean told the news source. "One of the sisters who taught us said she was one of the smartest students she had ever taught. She was multi-gifted. She wrote stories and poetry and music. She would perform. She could even paint."

Long ago, Bouchard recognized the growing division in the world and the danger of the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Bouchard became a more active figure in the peace movement and organized workshops on peace education and non-violence. The sister even fasted for 30 days in Washington, D.C.

Just last month, Pax Christi Toronto presented Bouchard with the Teacher of Peace Award - the first of its kind, according to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto's website. Bouchard received this honor in recognition of a lifetime of work spreading peace in locations such as Canada and Haiti.

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Family moves for better gifted education opportunities

Family moves for better gifted education opportunities

Gaining entry into Mensa, the high IQ society, is no small feat. After all, not just anybody can join. According to Mensa International's website, members have to have an IQ that is in the top 2 percent of the population to join the organization, which is comprised of around 110,000 Mensans.

Elizabeth, Kate and Victoria Wilson, who are triplets, understand this, as their IQs meet this requirement and, as a result, they qualify to join Mensa, ABC News reported. The brainy 9-year-old triplets are currently adjusting to their new life in New Jersey, where they recently moved to for educational purposes.

Although the Wilson family had been living in Florida, Jeffrey Wilson, the triplets' father, felt his daughters would have better academic opportunities in the Northeast. The goal is to find the girls an environment where their gifts will be nurtured and not ignored.

"If you've got a smart kid you don't want them to be bored," Victoria Liguez, marketing manager for Mensa's American branch, told the news source. "We want all children to be engaged, especially the smart ones."

Parents who think their children could be as bright as the Wilson triplets may want to have them take an IQ test for kids before they begin their search for the right gifted education programs.

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Regular personalities take a vacation on holiday

Personality Vacation Test

When people take a vacation, there is a profound impact on their mental health, Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist, told Inside Science. This action can provide them with a better perspective on life and foster greater motivation, she said.

However, that's not all a vacation can do. According to, a website dedicated to comparing the best travel deals in the U.K., people's personalities change when they take a holiday, The Daily Mail reported.

Overall, 51 percent of British tourists believe they experience personality changes when they go away on vacation. Of travelers who are in a relationship, 42 percent said they witness a change in their partner's personality. This caused 32 percent of individuals to recognize a difference in their relationship while away from home.

As for the types of changes people go through on vacation, 24 percent believe their partner becomes more demanding. Meanwhile, 23 percent of tourists said their partner seems more willing to take charge.

If individuals notice a major change in their behavior following a vacation, they may want to take a personality test and see how different they really are.

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National unemployment rate continues to decline

National unemployment rate continues to decline

The nation's unemployment rate has come a long way since the beginning of last year. Whereas 2013 began with a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, this figure was down to 7.3 percent this past August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With this information in mind, those who have been putting off their employment search may want to update their resume, sit for an aptitude test and take other steps toward landing a job. Overall, 169,000 jobs were added last month.

Of course, job prospects in certain sectors were better than they were in others. Despite the ups and downs of the economy, the health care industry has stayed strong, with 33,000 new jobs added in August. Within this sector, most of the growth was related to ambulatory care services.

Retail trade created 44,000 new positions, while there were 23,000 new jobs in the area of professional and business services. In July, the number of motor vehicle and parts manufacturing positions may have dropped by 10,000, but in August, there were 19,000 new jobs.

Employment opportunities will depend on the area job seekers reside in, but being prepared for the employment search could be one way to gain a career advantage.

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Glassdoor highlights the nation's best places to work

Glassdoor highlights the nation's best places to work



While everyone has his or her own ideal employment situation, there are certain companies that have a reputation for landing on lists highlighting the nation's best places to work. Just knowing that certain organizations are considered to be more popular places to work than others can help potential candidates overcome the competition they are sure to face.

For example, individuals can read about Facebook, which landed in the top spot on Glassdoor's Best Places to Work list for 2013, and take an aptitude test to see if they have what it takes to work for the social media giant. Facebook was one of 50 employers selected for the list, which was created based on feedback from the individuals who work for them.

Right behind Facebook was McKinsey & Company, which allows workers to have an "impact on the world," according to one employee review. McKinsey & Company is no stranger to these types of lists, as it also earned the second-place spot on Universum's list of preferred employers for MBA students.

Riverbed Technology, Bain & Company and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center rounded out Glassdoor's top five best places to work.

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14-year-old needs visa to go to college

IQ Test for Children

With the right mix of brains and drive, Arjun Singh, a resident of Kowloon City, Hong Kong, has the potential to become a stellar college student. According to the South China Morning Post, there is only one thing standing in his way - a visa.

Arjun is only 14 years old and, as a result, is too young to receive a student visa and attend King's College London in the U.K. Despite high grades and the fact that he was accepted to the College's physics program, Arjun is being blocked from pursuing his academic dreams, which would involve the study of high-energy particle physics.

"I want to try to contribute something to the physics community, so we can progress further," Arjun told the news source.

Currently, Arjun and his mother are weighing all their options in an effort to help him achieve his collegiate goals. If Arjun makes it to the College, he would be the youngest international student ever to attend the school.

However, Arjun would not be the first adolescent to pursue a college degree. For example, 21-year-old Sho Yano graduated from the University of Chicago last year with a Doctor of Medicine degree, the Chicago Tribune reported. To accomplish this, however, Yano had to begin his postsecondary studies at the age of 9.

If parents think their children are just as bright as Sho or Arjun, they should consider having them take an IQ test for kids. With the information they receive, parents will be better able to plan for their children's future.

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Unemployment rate drops to its lowest level since 2008

Aptitude Test for Unemployed

This past July, the national unemployment rate fell from 7.6 percent one month prior to 7.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the drop may seem small, it is actually rather significant, as it is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008's 7.3 percent.

With this in mind, individuals who have been putting off their employment search may want to start researching potential opportunities online or take an aptitude test to figure out what type of work is best for them.

Although it depends on job seekers' area of expertise, they may be able to find employment opportunities sooner than they expect. Many companies want people to know they are hiring - and not just a few new workers.

AT&T, for example, recently announced in a press release that it plans to fill nearly 200 positions throughout Tennessee. Almost 100 of these jobs are new.

If job seekers have an interest in working for automotive manufacturers, they may face better odds in their employment search. According to data from WANTED Analytics, the number of automotive positions experienced a 9 percent year-over-year increase in hiring.

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Lead exposure in childhood linked to school suspensions

Lead exposure in childhood

If parents know their children were exposed to lead at a young age, it may be a good idea for these kids to sit for a personality test. The results of this assessment could signal signs of troubling behavior that could jeopardize students' academic success.

Using a combination of medical data and fourth-grade disciplinary records from nearly 4,000 children who were exposed to lead, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found a link between this metal and kids' behavior. Overall, children who were exposed to lead were almost three times more likely than those who were not to be suspended when they reach the fourth grade.

"We knew that lead exposure decreases children's abilities to control their attention and behavior, but we were still surprised that exposed children were so much more likely to be suspended," said Sheryl Magzamen, a public health researcher who worked on the study.

While these findings may be troubling, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states that lead exposure is considered to be a preventable poisoning children face. Kids' behavior could remain unaffected if parents start by removing all sources of lead from the home.

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Hot cocoa can keep the body warm and the mind sharp

Hot cocoa can keep the body warm and the mind sharp

If senior citizens only treat themselves to hot cocoa on chilly days, they could be missing out on this warm beverage's cognitive benefits. New research from Harvard Medical School reveals that drinking hot cocoa daily may help older adults prevent neurological problems from developing, CBS News reported.

More specifically, the study, which appears in "Neurology," found that consuming two cups of this drink for one month led to better thinking and memory test results among seniors. Over the course of this study, the 60 dementia-free participants were instructed not to eat any other chocolate.

Dr. Farzaneh Aghdassi Sorond, an associate neurologist at Harvard Medical School, as well as the study's author, believes there is a link between consuming hot cocoa and better blood flow in the brain.

"As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow," said Sorond, as quoted by the news source. "This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's."

Hot cocoa is not the only warm drink that has been linked to better brain health. According to a 2012 study from China's Third Military Medical University, epigallocatechin-3 gallate, an organic chemical found in green tea, can have a positive impact on learning and memory.

Whether seniors drink hot cocoa or green tea on a regular basis, they may be able to see what kind of cognitive influence these beverages are having on them by taking an IQ test.

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Too much television may hamper kindergartners' success

Too much television may hamper kindergartners' success

A strong start to students' academic careers in kindergarten could lay the foundation for long-term school success. However, the amount of television children are exposed to in their early years could derail their chances of excelling in kindergarten, according to a recent University of Montreal study.

Based on research involving 1,006 boys and 991 girls in Canada, watching more television than is recommended at 29 months of age is linked to weaker academic skills in kindergarten. For the purpose of this study, the researchers followed the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations that infants should not watch any television, while kids over 2 years old should avoid spending more than two hours in front of the screen.

Exceeding these recommendations by as little as one hour was associated with less classroom engagement and diminished vocabulary and math skills among kindergartners.

Of course, problems in school are not all overexposure to television can cause. The AAP states that too much television may also enhance the likelihood of attention problems, as well as sleep and eating disorders.

Parents who are concerned about the impact their children's interest in watching television could have on their academic success may want them to take an IQ test for kids. Using the results of this assessment, parents can decide if it is time to turn off the tube.

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IQ can take a hit during teenage fights

IQ can take a hit during teenage fights

If teenagers have been in their fair share of fights, it may be time for them to take an IQ test for kids. Based on new research from Florida State University, IQ, in addition to the body, can take a hit during violent scuffles.

The researchers behind this study set out to see if fight injuries affected teenagers over a period of five to six years. They found that both boys and girls' cognitive abilities can be impacted by fights.

For boys, each injury led to an IQ loss of 1.62 points. On average, girls' IQ dropped by 3.02 points following a physical fight. These findings are troubling, as every year, about 4 percent of high school students engage in a fight that results in injury.

"We tend to focus on factors that may result in increases in intelligence over time, but examining the factors that result in decreases may be just as important," said Joseph A. Schwartz, the FSU doctoral student who conducted the study. "The first step in correcting a problem is understanding its underlying causes. By knowing that fighting-related injuries result in a significant decrease in intelligence, we can begin to develop programs and protocols aimed at effective intervention."

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