Joan Stoykovich Nelson

Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee
George W. Bush Presidential Center
Republican National Committee
American Legion Auxiliary
Fox News Contributor
Tulsa Republican Club
Heritage Foundation
John Birch Society
Freedom Alliance

 Dear Ms. Nelson:

 Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding abortion. As your voice in Washington, I appreciate being made aware of your views. 

 Throughout my service in public office, I have taken an ardent stand protecting the life of the unborn. Legalized abortion takes the lives of more than one million unborn children each year, robbing this nation of vast potential. Moreover, it destroys some of our nation's most cherished values: family, responsibility, and commitment.

 You will be pleased to know I am a cosponsor of S. 356, the Unborn Child Pain awareness Act of 2013. This legislation ensures that women who seek an abortion are fully aware and informed of the pain their unborn child will experience during an abortion. There has been biological evidence that shows that before a baby is six weeks old it responds to touch. By 20-30 weeks an unborn child has more pain receptors per square inch of the body than at any other time during life. Currently this bill is pending in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

 Additionally, I am a cosponsor of S. 369, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. This bill makes it a crime to knowingly transport a minor across a state line with the intent that the minor obtain an abortion. This legislation has an exception when the abortion is to save the life of the mother. It is important that the Senate act to protect the young women of our country and ensure parents are involved when minors are making decisions that can lead to serious health complications and regret later in life. This bill is still pending in the Committee on the Judiciary. 

 I am also a cosponsor of S. 154, Preventing the Offering of Elective Coverage of Taxpayer-Funded-Abortion Act of 2013 (PROTECT Act). This bill would ban any taxpayer dollars in the "Multi-State Plan" plans created under Obamacare from covering elective abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. This bill is also pending in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

 During the recent Senate budget debates, I voted in favor of two amendments which would have been a step in the right direction regarding abortion. Senator Cruz offered an amendment which would have created an extra hurdle for any taxpayer funds to go to the United Nations while any member nation forces its citizens to undergo involuntary abortions. Senator Rubio also offered a sense of the Senate amendment to enact S. 369. Unfortunately, both amendments failed.

 As your Senator, I will join you in speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I will be a supporter of pro-life legislation as it is brought before the Senate for consideration and will work to defeat pro-abortion legislation. Our government has both a moral and constitutional obligation to protect the sanctity of human life.

 

 

 Babies Learn to Recognize Words in the Womb

 Muffled memories. Brain wave patterns show that babies recognize "pseudowords" they heard in the womb.

Be careful what you say around a pregnant woman. As a fetus grows inside a mother's belly, it can hear sounds from the outside world—and can understand them well enough to retain memories of them after birth, according to new research.

It may seem implausible that fetuses can listen to speech within the womb, but the sound-processing parts of their brain become active in the last trimester of pregnancy, and sound carries fairly well through the mother's abdomen. "If you put your hand over your mouth and speak, that's very similar to the situation the fetus is in," says cognitive neuroscientist Eino Partanen of the University of Helsinki. "You can hear the rhythm of speech, rhythm of music, and so on."

A 1988 study suggested that newborns recognize the theme song from their mother's favorite soap opera. More recent studies have expanded on the idea of fetal learning, indicating that newborns already familiarized themselves with sounds of their parent’s native language; one showed that American newborns seem to perceive Swedish vowel sounds as unfamiliar, sucking on a high-tech pacifier to hear more of the new sounds. Swedish infants showed the same response to English vowels.

But those studies were based on babies' behaviors, which can be tricky to test. Partanen and his team decided instead to outfit babies with EEG sensors to look for neural traces of memories from the womb. "Once we learn a sound, if it's repeated to us often enough, we form a memory of it, which is activated when we hear the sound again," he explains. This memory speeds up recognition of sounds in the learner's native language and can be detected as a pattern of brain waves, even in a sleeping baby.

The team gave expectant women a recording to play several times a week during their last few months of pregnancy, which included a made-up word, "tatata," repeated many times and interspersed with music. Sometimes the middle syllable was varied, with a different pitch or vowel sound. By the time the babies were born, they had heard the made-up word, on average, more than 25,000 times. And when they were tested after birth, these infants' brains recognized the word and its variations, while infants in a control group did not, Partanen and colleagues report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Babies who had heard the recordings showed the neural signal for recognizing vowel and pitch changes in the pseudoword, and the signal was strongest for the infants whose mothers played the recording most often. They were also better than the control babies at detecting other differences in the syllables, such as vowel length. "This leads us to believe that the fetus can learn much more detailed information than we previously thought," Partanen says, and that the memory traces are detectable after birth.

"This is a well-respected group and the effects are really convincing," says Patricia Kuhl, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Combined with previous work, she says, these results suggest "that language learning begins in the womb."

Developmental psychologist Christine Moon, of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, agrees. "I think it is a very good paper with important results," she says, and it points the way to future studies that could break down the learning process in even more detail.

Just because babies can learn while in utero doesn't mean that playing music or language recordings will help the child. Partanen says there is no solid evidence that stimulation beyond normal sounds of everyday life offers any long-term benefits to healthy babies. Moon adds that playing sounds to a fetus with speakers close to the belly could even be risky because this could overstimulate the fetal ear and the rapidly developing brain. Too much noise can interfere with the auditory system and may disrupt the baby's sleep cycles.

Rather than playing recordings for healthy babies, Partanen sees potential treatments for children at risk for dyslexia or auditory processing disorders, if hearing certain sounds in pregnancy turns out to speed up language learning—"but that's a big if." His team's study looked only at babies less than a month old, and it's not clear whether the babies will retain the memories as they get older, or whether in utero learning has an effect on language learning or ability later in life. 

http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2013/08/babies-learn-recognize-words-womb#.UhwKvTXC8eo.facebook

Scientists: Brain Wave Patterns Show Unborn Children Recognize Words in the Womb

 Babies learn to recognize words and sounds in the womb, scientists say. An the baby does so well at recognizing the words that he or she has memories of them after birth, research shows.

From today’s report:

It may seem implausible that fetuses can listen to speech within the womb, but the sound-processing parts of their brain become active in the last trimester of pregnancy, and sound carries fairly well through the mother’s abdomen. “If you put your hand over your mouth and speak, that’s very similar to the situation the fetus is in,” says cognitive neuroscientist Eino Partanen of the University of Helsinki. “You can hear the rhythm of speech, rhythm of music, and so on.”

 A 1988 study suggested that newborns recognize the theme song from their mother’s favorite soap opera. More recent studies have expanded on the idea of fetal learning, indicating that newborns already familiarized themselves with sounds of their parent’s native language; one showed that American newborns seem to perceive Swedish vowel sounds as unfamiliar, sucking on a high-tech pacifier to hear more of the new sounds. Swedish infants showed the same response to English vowels.

But those studies were based on babies’ behaviors, which can be tricky to test. Partanen and his team decided instead to outfit babies with EEG sensors to look for neural traces of memories from the womb. “Once we learn a sound, if it’s repeated to us often enough, we form a memory of it, which is activated when we hear the sound again,” he explains. This memory speeds up recognition of sounds in the learner’s native language and can be detected as a pattern of brain waves, even in a sleeping baby.

The team gave expectant women a recording to play several times a week during their last few months of pregnancy, which included a made-up word, “tatata,” repeated many times and interspersed with music. Sometimes the middle syllable was varied, with a different pitch or vowel sound. By the time the babies were born, they had heard the made-up word, on average, more than 25,000 times. And when they were tested after birth, these infants’ brains recognized the word and its variations, while infants in a control group did not, Partanen’s group reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Babies who had heard the recordings showed the neural signal for recognizing vowel and pitch changes in the pseudoword, and the signal was strongest for the infants whose mothers played the recording most often. They were also better than the control babies at detecting other differences in the syllables, such as vowel length. “This leads us to believe that the fetus can learn much more detailed information than we previously thought,” Partanen says, and that the memory traces are detectable after birth.

Research shows babies can distinguish between their native language and foreign languages when they’re just a few hours old. A study earlier this year found that and suggests they start absorbing language before birth.

The report shows sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing develop by 30 weeks of the gestational age. The study’s authors said the unborn child starts listening to the mother’s voice during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.

“The mother has first dibs on influencing the child’s brain,” said the University of Washington’s Patricia Kuhl, co-author of the study. “The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them.”

“This is the first study that shows fetuses learn prenatally about the particular speech sounds of a mother’s language,” said Christine Moon, lead author. “This study moves the measurable result of experience with speech sounds from six months of age to before birth.”

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/08/27/scientists-brain-wave-patterns-show-unborn-children-recognize-words-in-the-womb/

 Learning-induced neural plasticity of speech processing before birth

 Significance

Learning, the foundation of adaptive and intelligent behavior, is based on changes in neural assemblies and reflected by the modulation of electric brain responses. In infancy, long-term memory traces are formed by auditory learning, improving discrimination skills, in particular those relevant for speech perception and understanding. Here we show direct neural evidence that neural memory traces are formed by auditory learning prior to birth. Our findings indicate that prenatal experiences have a remarkable influence on the brain’s auditory discrimination accuracy, which may support, for example, language acquisition during infancy. Consequently, our results also imply that it might be possible to support early auditory development and potentially compensate for difficulties of genetic nature, such as language impairment or dyslexia.

Abstract

Learning, the foundation of adaptive and intelligent behavior, is based on plastic changes in neural assemblies, reflected by the modulation of electric brain responses. In infancy, auditory learning implicates the formation and strengthening of neural long-term memory traces, improving discrimination skills, in particular those forming the prerequisites for speech perception and understanding. Although previous behavioral observations show that newborns react differentially to unfamiliar sounds vs. familiar sound material that they were exposed to as fetuses, the neural basis of fetal learning has not thus far been investigated. Here we demonstrate direct neural correlates of human fetal learning of speech-like auditory stimuli. We presented variants of words to fetuses; unlike infants with no exposure to these stimuli, the exposed fetuses showed enhanced brain activity (mismatch responses) in response to pitch changes for the trained variants after birth. Furthermore, a significant correlation existed between the amount of prenatal exposure and brain activity, with greater activity being associated with a higher amount of prenatal speech exposure. Moreover, the learning effect was generalized to other types of similar speech sounds not included in the training material. Consequently, our results indicate neural commitment specifically tuned to the speech features heard before birth and their memory representations.

Footnotes