Healthbeat


In September the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services partnered with the Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc. to develop the statewide health Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP). The idea is to provide a customer governed and nonprofit health coverage opportunity to small business owners and the public In October the CO-OP was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony in anticipation of increasing wellness through high quality health care.
 


The Alliance for a Healthier Generation awarded a bronze level National Recognition award to Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School. The School Based Health Center and student-led Wellness Council worked together to make strides in the healthy habits of physical activity and education in nutrition and health. By receiving this recognition, Bonnabel has proved the success of the school’s health initiatives, including a vegetable garden used and kept up by the students, a wide array of exercise opportunities found in classes and clubs, wellness and health screenings and the requirement of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in school meals. Bonnabel is only the third school in Louisiana to be awarded this recognition.


Despite the fact that language and speech impediments affect millions of people, not much is known about the neural mechanisms that are responsible for these impairments because they are difficult to study in humans. Along with a research team, Dr. Xiaoching Li at LSU Health Sciences Center used Zebra Finches as models to study the connections between the vocal learning methods of birds and the neural workings for speech development in humans. This study has uncovered new information that reveals how two microRNA molecules, directed by the social situation of spoken conduct, control a gene that’s used in speech and autism disorders. The microRNA molecules in the Zebra Finch brain were necessary in vocal learning and the regulation of social song behavior, confirmed by male birds singing undirected songs. The microRNA in humans adjusts the levels of the FOXP2 gene, a gene that if mutated has been linked to autism. A specific amount of FOXP2 is required for a successful growth of the neural circuits that process language, so the findings gained during the study of Zebra Finches should be very helpful in the understanding of human disorders.

 


 

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