Science Round-Up: ‘Baby talk’ is a universal phenomenon and similar across languages, study shows

A joint study from and the University of York shows that the way of communicating with babies and toddlers, child-directed-speech (CBT), is a global phenomenon with many identical aspects that are shared by many languages.

What is known as CBT generally involves high-pitched, slow-paced and animated speech.

PhD student Christopher Martin Mikkelsen Cox, who led the study, found that CBT is similar and even close to identical across 36 different languages.

When speaking to infants, adults appear to use a higher pitch, more melodious phrases, and slower articulation across countries.

Minor differences can be recognized between languages
Despite these common aspects across all languages ​​studied, the researchers still discovered some differences across countries in how excessively CBT is used.

For example, English-speaking countries scored the highest when it comes to how loud baby talk is and also how clearly vowels are pronounced to infants.

and Denmark also scored high for the use of loud language, but at the same time Denmark scored low for how clearly the vowels are pronounced.

Read more about the results here (in Danish) or here (English).

Denmark’s youngest female professor ever appointed at the University of Copenhagen
Isabelle Augenstein went from associate professor to professor a few days ago and is therefore the youngest ever appointed female professor at the Danish universities. Augenstein, 33, who is part of the Department of Computer Science, started her career as a research assistant at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and went on to the University of Sheffield and University College London before joining Copenhagen University Computer Science. Institute in 2017. Her research specializes in automated analysis and language models, including automated fact-checking.

New tool that can help fight resistant bacteria
Researchers from DTU have discovered a ‘Wikipedia’ for resistant bacteria, which contains an overview of more than 200,000 microbiome samples. The platform, which will be freely available, shows different types of resistant bacteria worldwide and should help find patterns and connections between them. Based on this, the aim is to create a catalog of resistant bacteria and develop guidelines on how to combat their resistance in different parts of the world. Especially after the , the importance of spotting patterns across resistant bacteria – which can spread between animals, humans and the environment – ​​seems more important than ever. Read more about the results here (English).

Danish researchers are working on developing a malaria vaccine for pregnant women
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have received DKK 75 million in support to work on the development of a new malaria vaccine for pregnant women. Together with African universities, they will work on the development of the vaccine over the next few years. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa as well as and , malaria is a huge problem for pregnant women. Each year, more than 100 million women become infected with the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes, and about 50,000 women die from it, while 200,000 lose their babies to malaria. Read more here (English).

University and industry set a milestone for further research into ’s effect
Good news for patients: Together with , the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University is investigating measures to improve the effect of insulin in the body. While it was already clear that insulin lowers blood sugar, research did not yet know how insulin is recognized by the body’s cells and how insulin creates the signal that tells the cells to take up sugar. Now it is understood how insulin is bound and recognized. It turns out that not only the insulin receptor, but also insulin itself, changes its three-dimensional structure when it binds, and that the insulin receptor simultaneously acts as a switch that turns on the insulin signal inside the cell. Read more here (in Danish).

Experimental drugs can suppress the HIV virus, study shows
A new Danish study from Aarhus University has found that experimental drugs can boost the body’s ability to fight HIV. In the study, the researchers examined two types of experimental trial drugs among people who have recently been diagnosed with HIV. Results show that newly diagnosed people with HIV who receive antibodies along with standard HIV drugs see a drop in HIV cells after starting treatment and develop better immunity to HIV. The theory behind the trial is that the antibodies given help the to recognize and kill the infected cells. The startling results are an important step towards finding a cure. Read more about the study here (in Danish).

Why longer maternity leave can benefit infants’ well-being
When parents choose to have longer maternity leave and postpone their children’s introduction to formal childcare services, it benefits the children’s general well-being in the long term. By the time they reach the teenage years, they are more self-disciplined and emotionally more stable and have a better sense of well-being in general. These are the results of a study from the Department of Economics at Aarhus BSS at Aarhus University, which is currently under and is therefore currently a working paper. The study indicates that a restriction on maternity leave can have negative consequences for children. You can read more about the study here (in Danish).

Danes buy electric cars primarily for economic reasons
A new study by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark examined Danish consumers’ attitudes towards electric cars and found the results alarming. Consumer motives for purchasing electric vehicles are predominantly driven by external motivational factors, such as economic reasons. Around 57 percent of the surveyed electric car users stated that external motives such as financial savings were the main motivation for them to buy an electric car. Researchers summarize that it could become a problem if we want more people to buy electric cars in the future. This means that we may risk seeing a drop in demand for electric cars, for example if a political decision is made to stop financial incentives to buy an electric car in the future. Find the detailed results here (in Danish).

Source: The Nordic Page

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