In The News

CBC: Fidget spinner fad may point to deeper problem in the classroom

May 30, 2017

Fidget spinners are the hottest new gadget among school children, and while they're billed as useful tools to help kids focus, a University of Ottawa professor believes schools need to better accommodate students who get fidgety and need to move. The three-pronged, hand-held devices spin smoothly on a central bearing, sometimes creating an optical illusion, and they've become hugely popular. "Part of it is it's satisfying to kind of occupy your hands with something," said Dr. Joel Westheimer, research chair and professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa, on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "There is some research that shows that just like adults might knit during a meeting, or have some other kind of fidgeting tool, that kids also of course benefit from being able to do something with their hands while they're thinking, and it sometimes can help you pay attention." Read the full article here.

Global News: Western University study shows promise for earlier dementia diagnoses

May 30, 2017

Researchers at Western University found that something as simple as walking and talking can be a predictor of dementia. The Gait and Brain Study, led by Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso at the Lawson Health Research Institute, saw researchers ask up to 150 participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to walk while simultaneously performing a cognitively demanding task such as counting backwards or naming animals. The participants were assessed twice a year for six years and the research found that those who slowed down by more than 20 per cent are at a higher risk of dementia. “While walking has long been considered an automatic motor task, emerging evidence suggests cognitive function plays a key role in the control of walking, avoidance of obstacles and maintenance of navigation,” said Montero-Odasso. Read the full article here.