Breast-Feeding and Intelligence Linked? / Americans on the Internet / Design a Traveling AIDS Medical Center for Africa

This is Sarah Long. And this is Bob Doughty with SCIENCE IN THE NEWS, a VOA Special English program about recent developments in science. Today, we tell about a link between breast-feeding and intelligence. We tell about how Americans use the Internet computer system. We tell about a new crew for the International Space Station. And we tell about a competition to design a traveling medical center.

A new study is adding more evidence to the connection between breast-feeding and intelligence. The study links intelligence in adults to how long they were fed their mother's milk as a baby.

It found that babies who were breast-fed for nine months grew up to be more intelligent than those breast-fed for less than one month. Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark carried out the study. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported the findings.

Other studies have examined the link between mother's milk and intelligence in children. Organizers of the new study say theirs is the first to show a link between breast-feeding and adult intelligence. The organizers say their study also examined other considerations, such as a mother's education and economic situation.

The study involved more than three-thousand young Danish men and women. They were born in Copenhagen between nineteen-fifty-nine and nineteen-sixty-one. When the children were one year old, the mothers were asked how long they had breast-fed their babies.

In the nineteen-seventies and nineteen-eighties, researchers used two tests to measure the intelligence of those children. One test was given to almost two-thousand-three-hundred men when they entered the Danish military. Their average age was nineteen. A different test was given to about nine-hundred-seventy men and women. Their average age was twenty-seven.

The Danish and American scientists found that babies who had been breast-fed for nine months did better on the intelligence tests as adults. Breast-feeding longer than nine months had no additional effect on the test results.

It is not clear why breast-fed babies may perform better in intelligence tests as adults. However, the scientists note that mothers' milk contains substances not found in cow's milk or milk products for babies. For example, breast milk contains two fatty acids that appear to support brain development. They are among hundreds of nutrients found in breast milk and not in other milk products.

The scientists say the physical and emotional relationship between a mother and child that develops during breast-feeding also might be important. They say women who breast-feed their babies may spend more time with them.

Reports say more than ninety-million Americans use the Internet computer system at home. A new study shows that Americans are using the Internet to make important decisions. They use it to make decisions about health care, education, changing jobs, investments and major purchase. About forty-five percent of Internet users said the Internet influenced a major event or decision in the past two years.

The Internet is the world's biggest system linking computers. Almost anyone who has a computer can send and receive electronic mail through the Internet. Internet users can get many kinds of information. And they can use the system to purchase products or services.

An American organization called the Pew Research Center organized the new study. Researchers spoke by telephone with more than one-thousand-four-hundred American Internet users in January. The researchers asked the Internet users if they had experienced fifteen major decisions or events in the past two years. Then the researchers asked about their use of the Internet and its effect on their decisions.

Many of those questioned said Internet use was important in improving their education or work skills. The study estimates that fourteen-million Americans used the Internet to get more education or training. It also estimates that fourteen-million Americans examined information from the Internet before buying a car.

An estimated eleven-million Americans used the Internet to help a family member deal with sickness. More than four-million Americans used it to deal with their own struggle with a major disease. Eleven-million Americans used the Internet to choose a school or college for themselves or for their child. The Internet was also important in making decisions about a major investment, changing jobs or finding a new place to live.

The American space agency NASA says the Space Shuttle Endeavour will carry the next crew to the International Space Station. The Endeavour is expected to be launched this Thursday, May thirtieth, from the Kennedy Space Center in the southern state of Florida.

Endeavour will be carrying the fifth crew to live and work on the International Space Station. They are Russian Cosmonauts Valeri Korzun and Sergei Treschev, and American Astronaut Peggy Whitson. The fourth crew will be returning to Earth from the space station on Endeavour. They are cosmonaut Yury Onufrienko and Astronauts Carl Walz and Dan Bursch. They have been in orbit for six months.

The Endeavour will also carry more than two tons of supplies and experiments to the space station in a device built in Italy. The Leonardo Multi Purpose Logistics Module is similar to a truck that carries supplies. It will be linked to the space station. The Endeavour and the Space Station crews will unload the experiments and supplies from Leonardo. They will then use Leonardo to take completed experiments and unneeded equipment back to Earth.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour will also carry the equipment needed to complete the space station's Canadian Mobile Service System. The Mobile Service System uses a mechanical arm to move and lift objects. It will also be used to link new parts of the space station when they arrive. The large mechanical arm moves to different parts of the space station on a device similar to a railroad track.

An American organization called Architecture for Humanity has announced an international competition to design a traveling medical center. The organization says the medical center will be used to fight AIDS in Africa, especially in areas far from cities. The vehicle will carry equipment to test and treat people with the disease. Medical experts will also use the vehicle to provide information about AIDS and the H-I-V virus that causes it.

Cameron Sinclair launched Architecture for Humanity in nineteen-ninety-nine. The organization supports using design to solve social and humanitarian problems around the world. Mr. Sinclair says the competition is not restricted to just building designers. Anyone can enter a plan.

He says the goal is to design a health center that medical experts could drive around Africa. Builders should be able to make the vehicle with materials found in Africa. The medical center should also be designed to help meet other health care needs of the population. For example, officials may also use the centers to treat people with malaria and tuberculosis.

Proposals must be received by Architecture for Humanity by November first. A team of health experts, building designers and research officials will judge the proposals. They will announce the winning plan in New York City on World AIDS Day December first. Then, an example of the vehicle will be developed before a final version is built in Africa. In time, officials hope the traveling medical centers will be reproduced in other parts of the world.

There is no prize for winning this competition. Instead, Mr. Sinclair says the winner will have the honor of creating a modern medical center that could save millions of lives.

This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS program was written by George Grow, Paul Thompson and Jill Moss. It was produced by George Grow. This is Sarah Long. And this is Bob Doughty. Join us again next week for more news about science in Special English on the Voice of America.

Voice of America Special English

Source: SCIENCE IN THE NEWS - May 28, 2002: Breast-Feeding and Intelligence Linked? / Americans on the Internet / Design a Traveling AIDS Medical Center for Africa
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