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Bibs & bobs — 11 November 2019

By Mums At The Table 1 min read

When does leaving a child home alone become neglect? | The link between gut health and autism | Your baby may be a maths genius. Here's why

When does leaving a child home alone become neglect?

A majority of social workers surveyed believe children should be at least 12 before being left home alone four hours or longer, and they are more likely to consider a home-alone scenario as neglect if a child is injured while left unsupervised, according to research being presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2019 National Conference & Exhibition. When the scenarios included the conditions where a law made it illegal to leave a child at home alone or a child was injured, social workers were significantly more likely to consider it a case of child neglect at eight, 10, 12 and 14 years of age.American Academy of Pediatrics

The link between gut health and autism

Mice treated with antibiotics to reduce their microbial populations, or that were bred to be germ-free, showed a significantly reduced ability to learn that a threatening danger was no longer present. The study implies that our gut health may have an influence on human neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. "Brain chemistry essentially determines how we feel and respond to our environment, and evidence is building that chemicals derived from gut microbes play a major role," said Dr Frank Schroeder, a professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute and in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at Cornell Ithaca.—Weill Cornell Medicine

Your baby may be a maths genius. Here's why

Babies who are years away from being able to say "one", "two" and "three" actually already have a sense of what counting means, researchers have discovered. The findings reveal that very early on, years earlier than previously believed, babies who hear counting realise that it's about quantity. "Research like ours shows that babies actually have a pretty sophisticated understanding of the world—they're already trying to make sense of what adults around them are saying, and that includes this domain of counting and numbers," said senior author Lisa Feigenson, a cognitive scientist at Johns Hopkins who specialises in the development of numeric ability in children.—Johns Hopkins University