Beth Newhart

Beth Newhart

Reporter, Technology and Mind & Behavior

@bethbylines

Beth Newhart, based in Chicago, covers Mind & Behavior and Technology for The Academics Times. Beth is a journalist with experience covering culture, business, tech, finance, food, beverage and more. Her work has been featured in international publications, including BeverageDaily, DairyReporter, Crain Communications and Time Out Group. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola University Chicago.

Children and adults can understand speech better in noisy settings when high-frequency voice cues are present. (Shutterstock)
Children and adults can understand speech better in noisy settings when high-frequency voice cues are present. (Shutterstock) Children generally hear high-frequency sounds better than adults do, but they are not as good as adults at filtering out background noise while listening to speech. Now, scientists have found that both groups can detect and understand speech in noisy settings better when they can hear the various components of a talker's voice, including extended high frequencies.

Female lawyers face higher risks of career hazards. Pexels/Sora Shimazaki
Female lawyers face higher risks of career hazards. Pexels/Sora Shimazaki The legal profession already has a reputation for overworking practitioners and causing chronic stress, burnout and substance use, but new research shows that its negative psychological impact may also be gendered: More women than men contemplate leaving the law because of mental health stressors, and female lawyers are much more likely to engage in hazardous or risky drinking behaviors because of their work.

Computers are getting closer to being able to read our writing. (Unsplash/Ben Mullins)
Computers are getting closer to being able to read our writing. (Unsplash/Ben Mullins) In a key breakthrough for communication by people with impaired speech or motor skills, Stanford researchers have developed software that decodes neural activity from a device implanted in a person's brain while the person imagines writing letters and words by hand, realizing the fastest typing speed for any type of brain-computer interface at 90 characters per minute with over 94% accuracy in real time and over 99% accuracy when paired with autocorrect.

Childhood weight issues and sleep are likely connected. (Unsplash/Neonbrand)
Childhood weight issues and sleep are likely connected. (Unsplash/Neonbrand) For years, observational studies of children have documented an association between weight and sleep habits. New research has begun to clarify this association, showing for the first time that children genetically predisposed to have higher body mass indices also had shorter average sleep times.

The part of our brain that helps us figure out where we are also helps with navigating social situations. (Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com)
The part of our brain that helps us figure out where we are also helps with navigating social situations. (Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com) Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered that the brain regions involved in processing spatial information are also involved in inferring social relationships and hierarchies, as they navigate attention shifts in both social knowledge situations and external spatial knowledge.

Setting up lunch dates aren't the best use for text messages anymore. (Pexels/Tim Samuel)
Setting up lunch dates aren't the best use for text messages anymore. (Pexels/Tim Samuel) Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania's Behavior Change for Good Initiative sent "text-based nudges" to patients with primary care doctor's appointments reminding them to get a flu shot, leading to increased vaccination rates and lending support to a similar texting system for similar interventions, including COVID-19 vaccines.

The chemical composition of our tears can say a lot about our mental state. (Unsplash/Luis Galvez)
The chemical composition of our tears can say a lot about our mental state. (Unsplash/Luis Galvez) The tears of people with major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, have a different chemical composition than the tears of nondepressed people, according to a recent study that highlighted tear fluid's potential for the simple, rapid diagnosis of mood disorders.

A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
A new automated system might help track kids' speech development. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) Children struggling with speech development currently rely on in-person evaluation sessions with speech-language pathologists to track progress and identify impairments, but U.S. researchers have invented a more efficient, automated method of monitoring speech through digital platforms based on a new machine-learning algorithm.

A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University)
A new transistor gets computers closer to thinking like humans. (Northwestern University) Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong have created an electrochemical transistor that mimics brain synapse functions to form a circuit made of soft plastic, ultimately producing a novel device capable of learning by association in much the same way as our brains.

This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller)
This image shows lymphocytes (purple) among blood vessels (orange), and the calcium signalling (green) that results from noradrenaline neurotransmitter release and causes immune cells to stop moving. (Scott Mueller) In a finding that could have key implications for cancer and viral infections in human patients, Australian researchers induced sickness in mice and then stressed them out, showing for the first time that the rodents' white blood cells effectively lost the ability to move, potentially leading to a slowed immune response and an increased vulnerability to further infection.

New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova)
New capsules might replace the scratch-and-sniff test currently used for COVID-19 diagnosis. (Unsplash/Kate Hliznitsova) A new smell testing device developed by U.K. researchers, which uses breakable capsules filled with scented oils, has the potential to replace the "gold standard" scratch-and-sniff tests and help diagnose both chronic neurological conditions and acute respiratory infections that involve an impaired sense of smell, including COVID-19.

Parents might be willing to give their kids medications normally prescribed for ADHD in hopes of improving their school performance. (Unsplash/James Paul)
Parents might be willing to give their kids medications normally prescribed for ADHD in hopes of improving their school performance. (Unsplash/James Paul) Incentives such as money and success, along with certain personality traits such as Machiavellianism, could make parents hypothetically more willing to give their children medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when they don't need it.