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Smarter Children Through Food Supplements

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the bright-ideas dept.

Science 409

An anonymous reader writes "Baby rats (mmm...baby rats) fed a little extra choline in utero popped out with brain cells dramatically bigger and faster than pups who didn't receive the supplement. Duke University researchers say the implications are profound for humans and the future of learning."

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Carefull..... (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550312)

Careful...... It should also be noted that in neurons in the hippocampus (and elsewhere), when the threshold for firing is decreased, the propensity for epileptiform discharges increases. The authors of the study claim that the neurons are bigger and fire more easily. I suppose that the ease of firing could simply be related to simple cable theory as predicted by Hodgkin and Huxley, but their explanation of increased dendritic count could also explain it nicely. However, other explanations could also be correct such as increased or upregulated glutamatergic channel count or increased receptor count.

researchers say the implications are profound for humans and the future of learning

At any rate, I regardless of the actual model, these sorts of public proclamations are troublesome as there are now going to be thousands upon thousands that will go out and start purchasing choline supplements just like their mass purchasing of melatonin (extracted from bovine pineal gland commonly, prion diseases anyone?), or ephedra (cardiac arrest anyone?), Aristolochia fangchi (kidney damage or cancer anyone?), shark cartilage (simply a lighter wallet anyone?), or any other unproven (not a troll, I am a scientist folks, so I want proof) supplement.

Re:Carefull..... (5, Funny)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550319)



Oh, by the way......all of what I said above and.......First post. :-)

Re:Carefull..... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550386)

Offtopic? No see thats funny because he really did have first post that and hes like a real science dude who makes fun of us on slashdot and all.
MOD PARENT FUNNY

Re:Carefull..... (2, Funny)

after (669640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550419)

How the heck did you write that fast enough to have legible grammar _and_ to make a first post?

you must be a subscriber... right? (10 minutes in advance)

Re:Carefull..... (1)

pcmills (83944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550551)

Probably Author/submitter.

Re:Carefull..... (5, Interesting)

yppiz (574466) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550526)

If someone doesn't mod the parent as funny, I'm going to weep neuronal growth factor (NGF).

More on topic, changing one parameter of complex system that is possibly well tuned for what it does, but not well tuned for parameter changes, may result in a system that is far less efficient or even completely broken.

Imagine if you magically made it possible for signals to travel on ethernet faster than routers could process them. You might see an increase in congestion or in misrouted packets. This in turn could melt down the network, or at least make it impossible for anyone to use it.

I am not trying to say that this is what the researchers have proposed. I'm just pointing out that making one thing better can put stress on or even break the entire system.

--Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu

Re:Carefull..... (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550324)

Oh well, my kid'll be smarter than yours! So where can I get the stuff?

Re:Carefull..... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550379)

yep- totally agree, troublesome indeed. Also, there are plenty of cases where rat (or mouse) studies don't accurately predict human outcome.

imagine the possibilities: "chlorine supplements", while labeled correctly, would still make a fortune.

Re:Carefull..... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550399)

or ephedra (cardiac arrest anyone?),

Careful, Ephedra works exactly the way it's supposed too(As a bronchial dialator and constricting agent). The people that experience negative effects either abuse it(read: take TOO MUCH) or shouldn't be taking it due to a prior condition. Yes, I take ephedra, and have on and off in cycles for 5+ years(now am 24). Do your own due dillgence and see what works for your body.

I can make the smae statment about aspirin: give 10000mg to an 80 yr old with low blood pressure and see what happens....


-k

Re:Carefull..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550421)

This man [nysv.org] can tell you all too well about the negative effects of Ephedra.

Re:Carefull..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550529)

I hate you. I had forgotten the details of the image of the gaping anus.

Warning: Parent is a goatse image (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550537)

nt

Re:Carefull..... (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550446)

I can make the smae statment about aspirin: give 10000mg to an 80 yr old with low blood pressure and see what happens....

So, you have just made the golden argument against dietary supplements and herbal remedies. Namely, there is no control over the industry so one really does not know what they are getting. Am I getting 50mg of the "active ingredient" or am I getting 500mg? There is no way of knowing because there are no controls on the manufacture and no standards that they follow. One manufacturer may provide next to nothing in the pills while another may provide a whopping dose, so how do you know?

By the way, 10000mg of aspirin would likely give anybody problems, not just an 80 year old with low blood pressure. The low blood pressure could actually help out as aspirin is an anticoagulant. So, if one had high blood pressure, there may be a higher incidence of hemorrhage or hemorrhagic stroke with high dosages of aspirin. More likely however for most folks would be an upset stomach, fever and possibly ulcerations and bleeding of the stomach and intestine if you don't puke it all up first.

Re:Carefull..... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550502)

There are a few suppliment companies that follow FDA guidlines in their manufacturing. It just requires a bit of research.

Kids hate choline (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550457)

At least kids around here do.. you can't walk though the mall with out seeing one or two empty boxes of dramamine [erowid.org] .

Dur. (3, Informative)

big_groo (237634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550467)

Thank you Captain Obvious.

How about a recommending a balanced [nih.gov] , healthy diet, with exercise, for pregrant [nih.gov] mothers -- *and* soon-to-be-fathers ?

PS. I'm not a scientist.

Re:Dur. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550516)

PS. I'm not a scientist.

But you are an asshole. The grandparent apparently is aware that from the sales of diet supplements and herbal remedies it appears that a significant portion of the population is not aware of the side effects like this and I for one am glad to have real scientists posting on the Slashdot.

Remember Spain 3/11

Re:Carefull..... (2, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550486)

uninhibits the cell division process in the memory centers of the brain.

Hmmm... doesn't that sound like potential brain cancer?

Re:Carefull..... (1)

krumms (613921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550490)

From what little I can understand of your post, it sounds very insightful.

Not a chemist (2, Interesting)

Kickstart70 (531316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550317)

What does choline come from? Is it part of our foods, so that we could eat more of some weird vegetable?

Re:Not a chemist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550328)

RTFA, idiot.

Re:Not a chemist (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550331)

It's that stuff you put in your swimming pool. I guess if you want smart kids, you should go swimming a lot.

Re:Not a chemist (5, Informative)

mgrassi99 (514152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550346)

from the article:

Choline is a naturally occurring nutrient found in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and other meats as well as in human breast milk. It is the essential building block for a memory-forming brain chemical called acetylcholine, and it plays a vital role in the formation of cell membranes throughout the body.

Re:Not a chemist (0, Offtopic)

Hello this is Linus (757336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550353)

Choline is a naturally occurring nutrient found in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and other meats as well as in human breast milk. ehm, aren't these all also high protein foods?

Re:Not a chemist (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550488)

As well as high fat, and high a number of other things. Corelation does not equal causation. In this case they isolated choline in making the tests, which is at least proper methodolgy.

Oddly enough, working completely from memory (noncholine "supercharged"), human breast milk is the lowest in protein and fat content of any of these, as I recall ( and it's been some years since I specifically looked into this) about the same percentage as is found in brown rice.

Although remarkable omnivores, human beings are still, deep down, essentially grain eaters. It's the Staff of Life. We require far less protein than most other predatious creatures, like cats, dogs and . . . rats. The myth of "complete protein" comes from a study done on rats in the early 1930s, and debunked in the early thirties as well, although the myth has proven nearly impossible to shake. Once something makes it into print it seems impossible to unprint.

I'm naturally sceptical of animal studies applied to human beings, especially when it comes to nutrition. Our physiology is hardly unique, but it seems to have an odd sort of pliablity that gives strength. Like the reed bending in the wind. Unlike most animals we seem to be able to eat nearly anything, anywhere, and so long as it contains at least minimal amounts of the core substances of life, come out of the deal looking and acting basically the same. I'd say this is a prime reason we were able to spread across the earth. Wherever we went, we found food. A chimpanzee in the desert is hosed. A human will turn to snakes and lizards and do just fine. In the semidesert of a prarie, well, we're surrounded by the Staff of Life.

I'm with Mr. Jones on this one. Until such time as there is some real evidence of effect on human development I entirely hold my judgment, and I'm not inclined to hold my breath over it.

KFG

Re:Not a chemist (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550355)

"Choline is a naturally occurring nutrient found in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and other meats as well as in human breast milk. It is the essential building block for a memory-forming brain chemical called acetylcholine, and it plays a vital role in the formation of cell membranes throughout the body."

From the article.

Re:Not a chemist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550411)

Choline is a naturally occurring nutrient found in egg yolks, semen, milk, semen, nuts, semen, fish, semen, liver and other meats as well as in semen.

Re:Not a chemist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550463)

I don't like semen. Do you have anything on the menu that hasn't got semen in it?

Re:Not a chemist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550534)

Isn't that the stuff in pools.... oh wait thats chlorine

Very profound... (3, Funny)

Denyer (717613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550320)

...I predict it'll take, what, three years for the giant intelligent rats to take all of the good jobs? To say nothing of the modifications which will have to be made to accomodate them at the Superbowl.

No, seriously, this does raise interesting issues such as how such a wonder supplement would be rationed to a population; how its absence would hold back the third world even further, and whether the first generation of hyper-intelligent kids would face discrimination at all levels of society.

Re:Very profound... (5, Interesting)

higuy48 (568572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550341)

I would think that some percentage of Slashdotters would understand that a child who isn't challenged by schoolwork could turn into an outcast of some sort or, worse, could refuse to do work altogether. They will think of petty homework and tasks such as character charts and subjects such as The Renaissance as beneath their intelligence. I am going through a personal hell not being able to concentrate in my classes. It's all so uesless to me. Why am I reading this book? Why am I doing this math problem? I'm a writer. I need to write freeform! Anyway, that's basically the mindset of a kid who has given up on school.

Re:Very profound... (4, Interesting)

Denyer (717613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550505)

some percentage of Slashdotters would understand that a child who isn't challenged by schoolwork could turn into an outcast of some sort

Certainly true of some students in schools I've taught in. Many intelligent students adopt the time-honoured creed of "if you're truly smart, the smartest thing you can do is not to let them know how smart you are" as a coping device.

I certainly couldn't envisage sitting through the tedium of school again from a student's point of view... and yet, equally, there are a lot of students who fail to realise that studying a little chemistry or maths now gives them the base to take it further should they choose to later in their educational careers. So, ultimately, my advice would be to stick with it... make an effort to find something enjoyable or worthwhile about every task you're set whilst in education, especially if it involves opportunity to gently subvert the task; more teachers have a sense of humour about such things than you might think.

Re:Very profound... (4, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550350)

No, you don't understand. The white lab mice are already performing experiments on us. In fact, the Earth was created at their behest. We merely form part of the matrix that is meant to determine the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

And once the third world gets their choline... (1)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550452)

We will begin to complain again about outsourcing, since we can no longer compete. Rather than properly analyzing the problem and creating solutions which help everyone.

Re:Very profound... (1)

mjihad (686196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550468)

I predict it'll take, what, three years for the giant intelligent rats to take all of the good jobs?
Don't worry, they'll get offshored.

This news is irrelevant here... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550325)

It's not as if anyone on /. will be having sexual relations with females anyway (or should be). And I'm not even going to get started on the 'female' members of /., if they can indeed be considered that gender.

ah crap (0, Offtopic)

vena (318873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550326)

as if i didn't have enough of a hard time finding a job with those genetically superior south asians walking around.

I feel squeamish! oh so squeamish (1)

mbokhari (749154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550332)

Baby rats (mmm...baby rats) fed a little extra choline in utero popped out with brain cells dramatically bigger and faster than pups who didn't receive the supplement. baby rats...in utero...popped out....bigger and faster... Disturbing, I tell you! Disturbing!

Over excited brains (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550335)

So now we get to find out if overclocking the brain
with choline will lead to nasty side effects?

Re:Over excited brains (2, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550478)

To overlock or underclock, just take uppers and downers. Drugs...gotta love them little pills!

Re:Over excited brains (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550491)

Is there an overheating issue? Will they need fans in the back of their skulls?

There's already a name for highly-clocked people (1)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550532)

We're called GEEKS 8-}

Feeding babies _what_ now? (1)

Qinopio (602437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550339)

Am I the only one who initially read the blurb as "Baby rats (mmm...baby rats) fed a little extra chlorine in utero...?

Re:Feeding babies _what_ now? (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550374)

Mmmm, chlorine..

Little confused about something (2, Interesting)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550344)

What exactly does "reduce the brain's vulnerability toxic insults." mean? Perhaps there is some biological terminology I am not familiar with... Also, how can they claim this will help effects of long term memory loss?

Re:Little confused about something (1)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550356)

Ah-ha !

Finally, An application of Monkey Island to Real Life !!

Re:Little confused about something (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550362)

"toxic insults" i.e. damage due to toxicity(what kind of toxins, I have no idea)

Toxic insults... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550381)

My brain is already resistant to /. trolls...

Re: Little confused about something (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550397)


> What exactly does "reduce the brain's vulnerability toxic insults." mean?

Most insults merely 'sting', but the really good ones are 'toxic'.

If your brain has reduced vulnerability to such insults, you can post to internet forums without getting your feelings hurt.

damnit, damnit, damnit! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550345)

why couldn't they have figured this out 22 years ago?

now if you'll excuse me i have to go fail my calculus final.

But imagine, if you will, for but a moment.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550348)

A Beowulf cluster of these super brainy rats, hopped up on choline, taking the jobs AWAY from the Indians and bringing them back to the USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

Sure, the rats'll have our jobs, but they'll be US rats.

Re:But imagine, if you will, for but a moment.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550538)

That the above post was funny!!

Hmm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550351)

Someone needs to read Brave New World [huxley.net]

Wow, I'm not the only one! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550354)

I never thought anyone but me would think of a tasty treat when baby rats are mentioned.

Thank you anonymous reader, now I know i'm not alone!

GO FUCK YOURSELF (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550549)

fat fucking pig fucking fucker.

Side Effects? (5, Insightful)

dreadlord76 (562584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550361)

Thousands of parents will be rushing out and getting these supplemets, trying to "help" their unborn children.

10 years from now, a crime wave is going to hit. A bunch of Super intelligent, yet hyperactive and ruthless 9 year olds, with ultra fast reflexes and photographic memory, but total lack of self-control and morals, begins their master plan of taking over the world.

Hey, this may be an interesting Movie plot....

People, I recommend against fooling with the brain until we actually know what we're doing. But Parents are insane anyway (looking into a mirror.)

Re:Side Effects? (2, Funny)

namespan (225296) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550407)

Not only that, the worst part is, your kids will know it all!

Re:Side Effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550414)

Damn, look at how high your /. UID is!! Plus, posting at around midnight on a Friday night.

You, sir, are a loser.

Re:Side Effects? (0, Offtopic)

dreadlord76 (562584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550429)

I'm sure you will find someone to love you in this world.

Re:Side Effects? (1)

jjhlk (678725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550540)

Offtopic? It's an implicitly given reason as to my grandparent being an ass.

Re:Side Effects? (4, Funny)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550445)

A bunch of Super intelligent, yet hyperactive and ruthless 9 year olds, with ultra fast reflexes and photographic memory, but total lack of self-control and morals, begins their master plan of taking over the world.

Too bad their diabolical plan is easily foiled by a single dude with a strobe light. (If you read what this did the rat's brain, the rats are probably all epileptic)

I for one welcome our autistic and epileptic overlords.

Re:Side Effects? (3, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550466)

Speaking as someone autistic, I can tell you that choline suppliments made my symptoms worse and increased my ADD when I was experimenting with them several years ago. I was using them as well as Omega-3 fish oil to see if it would help my symptoms or at least dampen my ADD so I could study more effectively.

WIth that, and the study this is becoming interesting indeed.

Re:Side Effects? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550480)

It should also be noted that it was found out later that fish oil contains alot of mercury thanks to power plant pollutants.

It might have been the fish oil instead of the choline since heavy metal poisoning can reproduce the same symptoms.

Re:Side Effects? (3, Funny)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550543)

A bunch of Super intelligent, yet hyperactive and ruthless 9 year olds, with ultra fast reflexes and photographic memory, but total lack of self-control and morals, begins their master plan of taking over the world.

This is different from reality how?

SB

Yippie (1)

nathanhart (754532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550365)

Your tax dollars hard at work

Re:Yippie (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550382)

Creating GATTACA? :( Great, just what I needed... better start hitting the books.

Improving mother nature (2, Insightful)

cybermint (255744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550372)

"Choline is a naturally occurring nutrient found in egg yolks, milk, nuts, fish, liver and other meats as well as in human breast milk."

I remember a study a long time ago that suggestest that children who were fed breast milk as a child, were on average, slightly smarter than those who were fed other substitutes. With so many things, what is natural seems to be beneficial to the body, possibly because we evolved to benefit from our natural surroundings.

Perhaps the time where natural is best is coming to an end. I for one, support this even though it may mean that my natural mind and body may become obsolete. The thought is scary that some day I may find myself left in the dust by a choline fed, geneticly altered, super human. If this is what must be done to better all of humanity; push mother nature aside; finish what God started; then I can only say one thing. May the best man win.

Re:Improving mother nature (1)

www.fuckingdie.com (759660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550403)

Keep in mind that even a good thing, if not taken in moderation, can be hazardous of fatal. I am sure that even if choline were to be proven a wonder supplement, and everyone were to start using it, there would still be those who suffered ill fate due to overuse.

I know many a naturopath who has ended up in the hospital because of the mistaken notion that natural means that there is no such thing as an overdose.

Size doesn't equal smarts.... (4, Interesting)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550376)

Well, the article just says that the baby brains are bigger than normal and the neurons seem to be firing faster, but there hasn't been any testing as to whether these guys are any smarter than the average bear (or rat). It does look interesting, but last I checked, in humans there hasn't been any correlation between hat size and IQ. Elephants and blue whales have the biggest brains on the planet, but nobody's calling them the most intellegent creatures in the world.

Doogie (2, Interesting)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550377)

I remember a while back a scientist bred a mouse strain with altered NMDA receptors, which gave a pretty hefty increase in memory and apparently reasoning. It'd be interesting to find what additional effects this method might have on them.

Re:Doogie (1)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550398)

I remember a while back a scientist bred a mouse strain with altered NMDA receptors

Isn't CA working on a mouse with NDMP receptors?

If this headline was on Fark.com... (1)

Zenmonkeycat (749580) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550378)

"Researchers find way to make smarter babies. Duke sucks."

And 20 years from now:
"Brilliant super-baby drives car into side of White House. Jailarity ensues."

Let's see... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550395)

Duke University researchers say the implications are profound for humans


Let's see, choline grows baby rat brain cells... sounds like great news for the cheese industry!

Side effects not so good (4, Informative)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550396)

"May result in cirrhosis and fatty degeneration of the liver, hardening of the arteries, heart problems, high blood pressure, hemorrhaging kidneys."

I'm not so sure I want too much of that stuff in a human subject.

Adults Suplements Are What We Need (1)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550401)

:-) Else we son't be making any real difference to the world.

Re:Adults Suplements Are What We Need (1)

osewa77 (603622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550501)

On the other hand, even if we could make people smarter just by giving them supplements, is being smartsuch a good thing all the time?

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550406)

welcome our new supra-genius rat overlords.

You didn't think I'd risk my karma on this did you?

We're going to do what we do every night Pinky (0)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550408)

http://www-public.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de/~fischeni/ resource.html

And you thought... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550409)


...your generation found television boring!

Troll, troll, troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550412)

Troll, troll, troll, troll, t-roooollll, Tr011 tR0LL troll troll troll troll T-R-O-L-L!!!

TROLL!

10,000 DIGITS OF PI! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550426)

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 1058209749445923078164062862
08998628034825342117 06798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940 81284811
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6001016552 5637568

10,000 DIGITS OF 1/PI! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550441)

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I ben drinkan a lot of clorox (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550423)

an me way smarter than u!!!11!!! lOlOL arofol

extended warranty? how can i go rong!

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550425)

I, for one, welcome our new bigger, faster, baby rat overlords.

Choline Supplement (5, Interesting)

Jodka (520060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550431)

You can buy choline in almost any of those stores which sell vitamins and nutritional supplements. I live in New York and there is one on every corner.

I read something similar about over a year ago in Science News magazine. Curious and willing to experiment on myself, I bought a jar of choline and started taking one a day.

Here's what I noticed:

First, its it's an intestinal irritant. Its sold in gelatine capusules and if you just swallow one a day, you'll be sorry after a while. I recommend opening the capsules and disolving the choline in something buffered, like milk.

You don't notice anything for a few weeks. And after you stop taking it, the effects persist for weeks.

The stuff is defintely psychoactive. I was constantly locked in deep thought. I finally stopped taking it because I got tired of thinking all the time.

This is great... (0, Troll)

thryllkill (52874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550447)

...if you're unborn. Call me selfish, but I want drugs that make me smarter. Stupid rats!

smarter.... (5, Insightful)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550451)


Smarter children thru:

Playing with them, spending time with them.

Giving them toys, then spending time showing them how the toys work. Toys that challenge them to do something are good - like legos - stay away from "Disney type" toys (yeah, I know, it's a blanket definition. You know what I mean)

Teaching them to read - don't wait for fucking kindergarten, teach them yourself. Added benefit of getting to know your kids better. Books. Lots of books. Share the reading with them. Read to them, with them, and for them.

Answer questions. "Why is the sky blue?" Answer it. If you don't know how to, learn why it is. There are a lot of questions that a kid will ask that will require you to to know at least something about it. The hardest part is translation. I asked that question when I was very young, and my old man told me that it's because it's the color that "comes thru"; later I learned that he wasn't bullshitting me. I really appreciated that. He didn't evade the question, just tried to put it in terms I'd understand.

Which leads to

Don't ever, every lie to your your kids. Don't bullshit them. Not about anything. If they ask you about sex, don't evade the question or bullshit them - they'll find some other avenue to educate themselves, and it will likely be something that's not the best way to learn it. You might have to actually think about it to find some way to explain it to them. Do it. You might learn something, too.

Don't ever, EVER try to bullshit your kids, or evade what they are curious about. You will lose their respect and trust when they find out (and they do, eventually, and that's one of the biggest problems in the US right now, but that's a whole 'nother topic). /rant :(( :(* :)

SB

Re:smarter.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550527)

Answer questions. "Why is the sky blue?" Answer it.

So, you expect my 4-year old niece to understand when I explain light-scattering theory? The sky is blue because light scatter is proportional to the inverse of the 4th power of the wavelength of light.

I didn't learn what exponents were until grade 4 or 5, let alone algebra.

Re:smarter.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8550539)

Get a prism. Show her what white light is made of.
Explain that the blue light bends more and gets bounced all over the sky so that whichever way you look you see the the blue. Yellow and red come straight through so the sun looks yellow. You can simplify without lying to her.

"quotes" (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550454)

Was "anyone" besides me "annoyed" by the superfluos "quotation" markes in this "article".

Babies (0, Redundant)

olrik666 (574545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550458)

In Soviet Russia, babies supplement food!
Or something like that. Anyway.

Magic Serum Makes Rats Smarter (1)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550459)

...but let's just see how Algernon is doing in a couple of months.

Create or Cure? (5, Interesting)

MoggyMania (688839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550465)

This strikes me as a bit bizarre.

Humanity already has a fairly well-known subgroup of people with brains that have more active neuronal structure, greater capacity for memory, a drastic reduction in age-related decline in cognitive/memorizations kills, and heightened sensory reactions. (Which is all wonderful to have, speaking firsthand.)

The response from the community has not been to embrace us. It has been to force us into painful "treatments" from a young age that train us to "act normal" -- to hide all signs that we're different, including strong natural interests in learning and pain at stimuli that doesn't bother sensory-average humans. There are huge organizations decrying how horrible it is that we exist at all, that actively claim it'd be better if we died of cancer, because we don't act just like "normal" people.

It strikes me as bizarrely hypocritical for one wing of science to be fighting to find a way to prevent/cure my kind, while another is attempting to learn how to intentionally create us. We're already here, we tend to reproduce reliably within families, we just need to be accepted rather than terrorized into hiding our abilities.

As an aside (1)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550482)

I wonder if this would make them grow up to carry a certain odour?

Trimethylaminuria ("fish odour syndrome") can be triggered by a kidney or liver infection or the excess intake of the chemical choline, which the body turns into trimethylamine.

BBC article [bbc.co.uk]

Half an hour already... (1)

stevens (84346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550484)

... and no one has said it yet:

I, for one, welcome our new rat overlords!

And since that's best I could do. I need a shot of choline.

Choline (1)

mjihad (686196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550492)

http://www.mycustompak.com/healthNotes/Supp/Lecith in.htm

Are you pondering... (0, Offtopic)

Helios292 (528182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550494)

...what I'm pondering, Pinky?

Enlarge your babies'... (0)

unknown_host (757538) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550545)

I hope this doesn't mean more spam....

Future of learning...(late night buzzed ramble) (2, Interesting)

Erratio (570164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8550546)

Before things are addressed on a chemical level, they need to be addressed on a psychological one. The educational system, at least in the States, has progressed very little in the past century, even though it has been pretty much established that different minds work different ways and the current methods for teaching cater to only a very small percentage of the people. All the choline in the world won't compensate for a lack of utilisation on what's already there, which, as it is, is most often neglected, or used in a way which results in burning out before full potential can be reached.
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