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Stress affects teenagers | Pakistani IT education

Home stress affects academic performance: Study
Islamabad, July 09: A stressful situation at home can affect teenagers' performance at school for days, according to a new study.

Researchers found the negative effects of stress at home linger and affect teenagers' academic performance at school for up to two days.

Meanwhile, stress over grades and other demands at school may also spill over into the home life of teens. "The findings from this study indicate that there are indeed short- and long-term consequences of daily stress that should not be overlooked," says researcher Lisa Flook, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a news release, BBC Radio Reported.

"By the same token, the two-directional process of spill over between family and school identified here suggests that reducing stress in the family may have benefits for adolescents' school adjustment and vice versa."

In the study, published in Child Development, researchers surveyed an ethnically diverse group of 589 ninth-graders in the Los Angeles area from three schools.

The teens were asked to report their daily school and family experiences in a diary every day for two weeks. The diary included a checklist that measured conflict with parents, family demands, learning difficulties, school attendance, and other potentially stressful issues.

The results showed that when the teens experienced family stress at home they had more problems at school with attendance and learning the next day. The reverse was also true.

When teens had school stress, they experienced more problems at home the next day. Those stress spill over effects lasted for two days after the initial stress.

In a separate analysis among 503 teens who participated in the study in both the ninth and 12th grade, researchers found those who had higher levels of family stress and school stress at the start of high school had poorer academic performance by their senior year.

Also, students with higher levels of academic problems in ninth grade had greater levels of family stress in 12th grade.

Researchers say the findings suggest that reducing stress could have both short- and long-term effects on teens' well being and academic achievement.

Vegetable protein linked to lower BP
A new study has shown that consuming an amino acid commonly found in vegetable protein is associated with lower blood pressure.

The study, conducted by Jeremiah Stamler, M.D., lead author of the study, and colleagues, showed that a 4.72% higher dietary intake of the amino acid glutamic acid as a per cent of total dietary protein correlated with lower group average systolic blood pressure, lower by 1.5 to 3.0 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Group average diastolic blood pressure was lower by 1.0 to 1.6 mm Hg, BBC reported.

In the study, researchers examined dietary amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Stamler, professor emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill, said that glutamic acid is the most common amino acid and accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of the protein in vegetable protein and almost one fifth (18%) of animal protein.

In the study, researchers analysed data from 4,680 middle-age people participating in an international population study on the effects of dietary nutrients on high blood pressure. Participants were from the US, UK, China, and Japan.

The results showed that a nearly 5% higher intake of glutamic acid as a per cent of total protein in the diet was linked to lower average blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure was lower by an average of 1.5 to 3.0 points and diastolic blood pressure was lower by 1.0 to 1.6 points.

Stamler said that the study might help explain on a molecular level why the Dieatary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet lowers blood pressure. The DASH eating pattern, developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health are rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat and non-fat dairy products as well as whole grains, lean poultry, nuts and beans.

Online games influence kid's food choices: Study
Computer games can influence kids' food choices whether toward healthy snacks or unhealthy products.

Advergames-online computer games developed specifically to promote a brand, often featuring logos and characters-are present on many food and beverage Web sites, BBC reported.

Tiffany A. Pempek, Ph.D., and Sandra L. Calvert, Ph.D., of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., conducted a study involving 30 low-income, African American children age 9 to 10 years.

One group played a game, based on Pac-Man that rewarded them for having their computer character choose bananas, orange juice and other healthy foods and beverages.

A second group played a different version of the same game that instead rewarded consumption of soda, candy bars, cookies and bags of potato chips.

These two groups were instructed to select a snack from among options featured in the game after playing, whereas a third, control group selected a snack and beverage before playing the healthy version of the game.

The children reported liking both versions of the game and played for an average of 9 minutes and 32 seconds.

Children who played the healthy version before selecting a snack were significantly more likely than those playing the unhealthy version to choose a banana and orange juice instead of soda and potato chips.

"With only 10 minutes of exposure, our results revealed that children selected and ate whatever snacks were being marketed by the advergame, healthy or not," the authors said. The findings suggest that online games could be used to promote nutritious foods. The Nation

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Pakistani IT education project wins recognition
Islamabad: A Rs37.6 million Pakistani education project that aims for introduction of a new method of teaching software engineering to undergraduate students based on open software has been recognised and acknowledged by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI).

The 'Integration of Open Source Software Projects in IT Education' is an innovative software engineering project that is gradually achieving its objectives by training and allowing students to learn good programming practices and by getting feedback from professionals through open source. It is also sequentially helping the software industry by providing them with a workforce that has worked on industrial strength projects.

The project is funded by the National ICT R&D Fund, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, and is executed by a team of researchers at the Software Engineering Research Centre (SERC) at the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (FAST-NU), Lahore.

SERC has implemented an innovative strategy to enhance student participation and learning in developing open source software. This could ideally be achieved by involving students in realistic projects. SERC has turned to open source software to allow students, in collaboration with companies such as Openbravo ERP and OrangeHRM, to get hands-on experience on projects used in the industry.

The project has also found a mention in the newsletter of GUNI, which states: "If successful, this model has the potential to revolutionise software engineering education by addressing the fundamental issue of exposing students to real-life projects and help the software industry without adding any extra overhead on the faculty."

GUNI is composed of Unesco Chairs in Higher Education, research centres, universities, networks and other institutions committed to innovation in higher education. More than 100 institutions from around the world are GUNI members and are working towards the reinforcement of higher education by application of the decisions of the World Conference on Higher Education. GUNI supports several activities such as Higher Education in the World, International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education and Universities and Social Commitment Observatory.

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QPGMC has new dean
Islamabad: The Ministry of Health Wednesday announced the appointment of Prof. Dr. Ghazala Mehmood as dean of Quaid-i-Azam Post-Graduate Medical College (QPGMC) in place of Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Hassan.

It may be recalled that Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Hassan, being the senior-most professor of the faculty, was made dean of QPGMC in October 2008 after the retirement of Prof. Wajahat Bangash. Within less than a month of his appointment, he was replaced by Prof. Ghazala Mehmood, who held the said portfolio for just five days, after which Dr. Mumtaz was reinstated as dean.

Following the ministry's latest directive, Dr. Ghazala has once again been assigned charge of the post of dean QPGMC in addition to her own duties as head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology. It is worth mentioning here that the seniority of both the professors has been under legal recourse; the appointment of Dr. Ghazala, in fact, stands contrary to the decision of the Federal Services Tribunal.

Meanwhile, the mid-level management of PIMS has also been reshuffled. Dr. Mutahir Shah has been posted as director administration in place of Dr. Minhaj-us-Siraj, who has been posted as deputy executive director. Other than that, Dr. Zulfiqar Ghouri has been appointed deputy director Out-Patient Department in place of Dr. Mutahir. The News

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