From Birth, Engage Your Child With Talk
( New York Times )

I recently stopped to congratulate a young mother pushing her toddler in a stroller. The woman had been talking to her barely verbal daughter all the way up the block, pointing out things they had passed, asking questions like “What color are those flowers?” and talking about what they would do when they got to the park.

This is a rare occurrence in my Brooklyn neighborhood, I told her. All too often, the mothers and nannies I see are tuned in to their cellphones, BlackBerrys and iPods, not their young children.

I am not the only one alarmed by modern parental behavior. Randi Jacoby, a speech and language specialist in New York, recently told me in an e-mail message: “Parents have stopped having good communications with their young children, causing them to lose out on the eye contact, facial expression and overall feedback that is essential for early communication development.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・barely かろうじて、わずかに
・verbal 言葉の、言葉で表した、言語能力の
・occurrence 起ること、出来事(動詞:occur)
・overall 全般的な、総合的な

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アルコールは体にいい? 科学者に疑問の声

Alcohol’s Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It
( New York Times )

By now, it is a familiar litany. Study after study suggests that alcohol in moderation may promote heart health and even ward off diabetes and dementia. The evidence is so plentiful that some experts consider moderate drinking ― about one drink a day for women, about two for men ― a central component of a healthy lifestyle.

But what if it’s all a big mistake?

For some scientists, the question will not go away. No study, these critics say, has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower risk of death ― only that the two often go together. It may be that moderate drinking is just something healthy people tend to do, not something that makes people healthy.

“The bottom line is there has not been a single study done on
moderate alcohol consumption and mortality outcomes that is a ‘gold standard’ kind of study ― the kind of randomized controlled clinical trial that we would be required to have in order to approve a new pharmaceutical agent in this country,” said Dr. Tim Naimi, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・ward off〜 〜を避ける、防ぐ
・mortality 死すべき運命、死亡数・率(形容詞:mortal)
・pharmaceutical 製薬(上)の、薬剤の(pharmacy:薬(剤)学、薬局)
・agent 代理人、動因、作因、剤
・epidemiologist 疫学(epidemiology)者

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Cigarettes Without Smoke, or Regulation
( New York Times )

During 34 years of smoking, Carolyn Smeaton has tried countless ways to reduce her three-pack-a-day habit, including a nicotine patch, nicotine gum and a prescription drug. But stop-smoking aids always failed her.

Then, having watched a TV infomercial at her home here, Ms. Smeaton tried an electronic cigarette, which claimed to be a less dangerous way to feed her addiction. The battery-powered device she bought online delivered an odorless dose of nicotine and flavoring without cigarette tar or additives, and produced a vapor mist nearly identical in appearance to tobacco smoke.

The reaction of medical authorities and antismoking groups has ranged from calls for testing to skepticism to outright hostility. Opponents say the safety claims are more rumor than anything else, since the components of e-cigarettes have never been tested for safety.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・dose (薬の)一服
・additive 付加の、添加物
・vapor (水)蒸気
・mist 霧
・skepticism 懐疑主義
・hostility 敵意、敵対行為
・Opponent 敵、反対者
・component 要素、成分

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In That Tucked Tail, Real Pangs of Regret?
( New York Times )

If you own a dog, especially a dog that has anointed your favorite rug, you know that an animal is capable of apologizing. He can whimper and slouch and tuck his tail and look positively mortified ― “I don’t know what possessed me.” But is he really feeling sorry?

Could any animal feel true pangs of regret? Scientists once scorned this notion as silly anthropomorphism, and I used to side with the skeptics who dismissed these displays of contrition as variations of crocodile tears. Animals seemed too in-the-moment, too busy chasing the next meal, to indulge in much self-recrimination. If old animals had a song, it would be “My Way.”

Yet as new reports keep appearing ― moping coyotes, rueful monkeys, tigers that cover their eyes in remorse, chimpanzees that second-guess their choices ― the more I wonder if animals do indulge in a little paw-wringing.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・slouch うつむく、かがむ
・mortify 屈辱を感じさせる、(気持ちを)傷つける
・pang 苦痛、劇痛
・scorn 軽蔑する
・skeptic 懐疑的な(人)
・recrimination 非難し返すこと
・mope ふさぎこむ、気を腐らす

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Drinkers’ Red Face May Signal Cancer Risk
( New York Times )

People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report.

The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry ― Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.

The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation in the body of a toxin called acetaldehyde. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.

But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.

【 まずは準備運動 】

・nausea 吐き気、むかつき
・enzyme 酵素
・trait 特色、特徴
・accumulation 集積、蓄積
・toxin 毒素
・aversion 反感、嫌悪

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