Passive exposure alone can enhance the learning of foreign speech sounds

Ability to understand and subsequently speak a new language requires the ability to accurately discriminate speech sounds of a given language. When we start to learn a new language the differences between speech sounds can be very difficult to perceive. With enough active practice the ability to discriminate the speech sounds enhances.

This type of learning is called perceptual learning. As a consequence of learning, new memory traces are formed in the brain. In contrast, in early infancy passive sound exposure is enough to enhance auditory discrimination during so called sensitive period, according to Science Daily.

Diabetes starts to SHRINK our brains in middle age before reducing our mental capacity in retirement, study suggests

Diabetes starts to shrink the brain in middle-age and causes accelerated mental decline in retirement, research suggests.

Scientists found elderly people with type 2 diabetes experienced a significant decline in memory and verbal fluency over a five-year period, according to Daily Mail.

Alarmingly, they found the participants – who were aged 68 on average at the beginning of the study – were already showing signs of damage to their brains which they believe had started many years before.

The findings have major implications for the 3.7million people who have diabetes. 

Children who spend seven hours or more on smartphones and tablets are changing the structure of their brains

Children who use screens for seven hours or more a day are showing signs that their brain cortex is thinning prematurely.

The findings show that children are at risk of deteriorating memory function, perception skills and cognitive abilities, according to Daily Mail. 

Researchers made the early findings by scanning the brains of 4,500 children. 

Scientists are in the process of following more than 11,000 nine to ten-year-olds over the course of a decade.

Drinking orange juice could slash your risk of dementia by 50 per cent as it protects the brain, study finds

Drinking a glass of orange juice every day could significantly lower your risk of getting dementia, a study suggests.

Researchers tracked almost 28,000 men for two decades to examine how their fruit and vegetable consumption affected their brain power, according to Daily Mail.

They found men who drank a small glass of orange juice were 47 per cent less likely to have difficulty remembering, following instructions or navigating familiar areas.

Lapses in memory, understanding and episodes of confusion can be early signs of brain decline which can ultimately lead to life-threatening dementia.

Brushing your teeth lowers your risk of hypertension

Women with poor dental hygiene are 20% more likely to develop high blood pressure

Brushing your teeth could stave off high blood pressure, according to new research.

A study of more than 36,500 older women found those who had lost teeth were 20 percent more likely to develop the condition according to Daily Mail.

Improving dental hygiene may reduce the risk of a serious disorder that affects over a quarter of adults, say scientists.

It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and other potentially fatal illnesses.

One possible explanation for the link is as people lose teeth they may change their diets to softer and more processed foods, so they chew less and have decreased blood flow.