Why Children Need Movement in the Classroom

Why Children Need Movement in the Classroom

We at MightyDNA believe that children need movement. There is a link between physical activity and school learning which is why we designed our 7 DNA test to help your student-athlete child excel at both activities. This linked was discussed in 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine which concluded that children who are more active “show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.” And a study released in January by Lund University in Sweden shows that students, especially boys, who had daily physical education, did better in school.

“Daily physical activity is an opportunity for the average school to become a high-performing school,” said Jesper Fritz, a doctoral student at Lund University and physician at the Skane University Hospital in Malmo who was the study’s lead author.

Activity helps the brain in so many ways by stimulating more blood vessels in the brain to support more brain cells. And there is evidence that active kids do better on standardized tests and pay attention more in school.

John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” said: “Movement activates all the brain cells kids are using to learn, it wakes up the brain.”

“Plus,” he added, “it makes kids want to come to school more — it’s fun to do these
activities.”

How Exercise Alters and Improves the Brain

Physical activity is good for our brains. A wealth of science supports that idea. But precisely how exercise alters and improves the brain remains somewhat mysterious.

For years, scientists have known that the brains of animals and people who regularly exercise are different than the brains of those who are sedentary. Experiments in animals show that, for instance, exercise induces the creation of many new cells in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain essential for memory and learning, and also improves the survival of those fragile, newborn neurons.

Researchers believe that exercise performs these feats at least in part by goosing the body’s production of a substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or B.D.N.F., which is a protein that scientists sometimes refer to as “Miracle-Gro” for the brain. B.D.N.F. helps neurons to grow and remain vigorous and also strengthens the synapses that connect neurons, allowing the brain to function better. Low levels of B.D.N.F. have been associated with cognitive decline in both people and animals. Exercise increases levels of B.D.N.F. in brain tissue.

Now we know the why and how working out improves our brain, do you want to know how genetically adept your are to running a marathon or competing in a 40 yard dash. Find out with our fast or slow twitch muscle genetic test.

Did MIT found the language gene– – Foxp2?

Did MIT found the language gene-- - Foxp2?

At MightyDNA.com we were able to design a test to determine your child’s language ability. The science behind this test was made possible by researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology who have shown that the human version of a gene called Foxp2 makes it easier to transform new experiences into routine procedures. When they engineered mice to express humanized Foxp2, the mice learned to run a maze much more quickly than normal mice.

The findings suggest that Foxp2 may help humans with a key component of learning language — transforming experiences, such as hearing the word “glass” when we are shown a glass of water, into a nearly automatic association of that word with objects that look and function like glasses, says Ann Graybiel, an MIT Institute Professor and a senior author of the study.

All animal species communicate with each other, but humans have a unique ability to generate and comprehend language. Foxp2 is one of the several genes that neuroscientists believe contribute to the development of these linguistic skills. The gene was first identified in a group of family members who had severe difficulties in speaking and understanding speech, and who were found to carry a mutated version of the Foxp2 gene.

The protein produced by Foxp2 gene is a transcription factor, meaning that it turns other genes on and off. In this study, the researchers found that Foxp2 appears to turn on genes involved in the regulation of synaptic connections between neurons. They also found enhanced dopamine activity in a part of the striatum that is involved in forming procedures. In addition, the neurons of some striatal regions could be turned off for longer periods in response to prolonged activation — a phenomenon known as long-term depression, which is necessary for learning new tasks and forming memories.

Given the function of this gene was discovered at MIT, are you curious if your child possess this mutated version of Foxp2? At MightyDNA.com we can help you answer this curiosity.