Friday, April 29, 2011

5-Minute Screen for Signs of Autism Works in 1-Year-Olds

In Study, Screen Detected Signs of Autism, Other Developmental Problems 75% of the Time

April 28, 2011 -- A simple checklist completed by parents can help doctors screen for signs of autism as early as the child’s first birthday, according to new research.

''I am hoping it will become the standard of care," researcher Karen Pierce, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, tells WebMD.

She recently tested the screen, asking 137 pediatricians throughout San Diego County to take part. At the 12-month well baby visit, the doctors asked the parents to answer the 24-item checklist. The questions ask about their child's emotions, eye gaze, communication, gestures, and other behaviors.

The screen found suspected autism, autism spectrum disorder, language delays, or other developmental problems about 75% of the time, Pierce says.

"One of every four times, it will be wrong," she says. "The price to pay for that is actually very tiny" compared to the benefit of early intervention.

Currently, 5.7 years is the median age (half older, half younger) at which children receive an autism diagnosis, according to a 2009 study.

About one in 110 children in the U.S. has autism or autism spectrum disorder, a group of developmental disabilities that cause social, behavioral, and communication challenges.

The new study is published online in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Baby Development: 12 Ways to Help Your Infant Learn & Grow

Screen for Autism: A Closer Look
The screen used is already published and is available online for free download. It is called the CSBS DP IT checklist (Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile Infant-Toddler).

The questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete, Pierce says.

Among the questions:

Do you know when your child is happy and when your child is upset?
Does your child do things just to get you to laugh?
Does your child string sounds together, such as uh oh, mamma, gaga, bye-bye?
When you call your child's name, does he/she respond by looking or turning toward you?
Does your child wave to greet people?
Does your child smile or laugh while looking at you?

"This is not an autism-specific screen," Pierce tells WebMD. "It's a screen to catch autism and other developmental delays."

The doctors screened 10,479 infants. Of them, 1,318 children failed. Pierce evaluated 184 of the children who failed the screen and were evaluated for autism, autism spectrum disorder, language delays, or other developmental delays. The researchers also tracked 41 of the 9,161 children who passed the checklist, who served as a comparison group.

To date, 32 of the children got a final or provisional diagnosis of autism or autism spectrum disorder, which encompasses a wider spectrum of developmental problems. Another 46 received a false-positive diagnosis of autism, uncovered with evaluation.

Five babies who tested positive for ASD later no longer met the criteria. Fifty-six were diagnosed with learning disabilities, nine with developmental problems, and 36 with "other" developmental problems.

It is critical, Pierce says, that a doctor who uses the screen has access to a center where he can refer patients for more evaluation.

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report introducing universal screening for autism at ages 18 months and 24 months.

Original Article.

Containing Costs for Pet Care

Happy Royal Wedding Day! I will admit i didn't really watch the royal wedding , not really something that interest me, but what does interest me is what everyone was wearing, the hats the outfits, how the church was decorated, and it was all gorgeous!
now on to my next thing, if your an animal lover like i am, then this article is for you, we all have had to take our pets to the pet ER at least once and the prices are not cheap!!

DEBORAH NOCELLA, a 43-year-old mother in Park Slope, says she feels as if she takes the family’s two dogs to the vet almost as often as she takes them to the neighborhood dog run.

Last year the Nocella family adopted two puppies, a pit bull mix named Pokie and a “puggle” named Browny. Since then, Ms. Nocella estimates, the family has spent as much as $5,000 on veterinarian bills.

The dogs have had routine checkups and shots, of course. But then there were unexpected costs: Pokie arrived with a bad case of worms and kennel cough; some strange bumps on her paws turned out, after $700 worth of tests, to be warts. Browny has severe allergies and requires frequent trips to the vet.

Last November, Pokie swallowed Advil pills, which are toxic to dogs. She went into renal failure and required emergency treatment overnight in a nearby animal hospital. The treatment was successful and Pokie is fine, but the incident set the Nocellas back $2,300.

Pet owners like Ms. Nocella are spending more on veterinarian bills than ever before. The American Pet Products Association estimates that Americans will spend $12.2 billion on veterinary care this year, up from $11 billion last year and $8.2 billion in 2006.

Advances in veterinary medicine mean more extensive, and expensive, treatments are available for animals, but even ordinary costs like flea and tick protection can add up quickly. Here are some ways to curb those costs while still giving your pet the best of care.

LOW-COST ALTERNATIVES Local shelters often offer free or low-cost spaying and neutering for dogs and cats, said Dr. Louise Murray, vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York and author of “Vet Confidential.” To find a shelter near you, check the A.S.P.C.A. Web site at

Shelters where pets can be adopted may offer low-cost vaccinations and checkups. Mobile clinics, usually sponsored by local governments or animal protection agencies, also provide routine pet care for far less than a traditional vet would charge.

Veterinarian schools are another good source of low-cost care. Students are carefully supervised by qualified veterinarians, so pets receive quality care — everything from heartworm tests to major surgery, often for as little as a third of the price at a veterinarian’s office.

THE RIGHT VACCINES Keeping up with a pet’s shots will save money, not to mention misery, in the long run by preventing many serious illnesses. But that does not mean a pet needs every vaccine available.

“A corgi who lives on the Upper East Side doesn’t need the same protocol as a Labrador in Connecticut,” Dr. Murray said. “Your veterinarian should customize a vaccine plan that fits your pet.”

A HEALTHY DIET Many vets sell prescriptions and high-quality pet food, but the same brands are sold for much less at many pet supply stores or Web sites. Still, do not skimp on quality.

“Cats, for example, are carnivores and aren’t meant to eat carbohydrates,” Dr. Murray said. “Feeding them only the cheap dried food can lead to diabetes or blockages that will cost you a lot more in the long run than the price you’ll pay for the right food.”

DRUG DISCOUNTS If a pet needs regular medication, discount chains such as Costco can be cheaper than a regular drug store or the vet’s office, said Dr. Sharon Friedman, a veterinarian at the Berkley Animal Clinic in Berkley, Mich. But consult a veterinarian first, she advised, to be sure to buy the right medicine at the right dosage.

On the other hand, do not assume that tick and flea treatments or heartworm medications are cheaper at the big discount chains. Manufacturers want to distribute these medicines through veterinarians’ offices, so they often offer promotions and discounts there that are not available elsewhere.

“One company recently offered two free tick and flea treatments if you bought six doses. That worked out to be less expensive than PetMeds, a popular online store, or Costco,” Dr. Friedman said. “It often pays to ask.”

Many Web sites sell high-quality pet medications at good prices, but a recent Food and Drug. Administration. investigation caught some sites selling counterfeit, unapproved or expired drugs. Beware of any site that sells medications without requiring a veterinarian’s prescription.

The F.D.A. also recommends that consumers look for sites accredited as a Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site, part of a voluntary accreditation program.

CONSIDER INSURANCE Pet health insurance is a booming industry, growing more than 20 percent every year, although only an estimated 3 percent of pet owners have bought policies. While Ms. Nocella has never seriously considered buying pet insurance, she does acknowledge it might have come in handy the day Pokie ate the Advil.

But like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can be complicated and highly restricted. Some policies will not cover older pets or genetic conditions that certain breeds are known to have, such as hip dysplasia in retrievers.

Others limit coverage to only one treatment per illness. So if your dog develops asthma, for instance, some policies will cover just the first trip to the vet although treatment will require multiple visits.

Prices for pet insurance can range from $12 to $50 a month, depending on the type and age of the pet and any pre-existing conditions. In almost all cases the pet owner pays up front, then files a claim for reimbursement.

Costs are higher to insure older, sicker pets, or for policies that cover preventive care, such as vaccines and veterinarian office visits.

Many pet owners prefer to save for unexpected vet expenses in an emergency fund instead of paying premiums for coverage they may not use. Dr. Murray suggested putting away a little each week until savings reach $2,000 to $3,000.

“That’s the minimum you’ll need if a serious situation arises and your pet needs lifesaving care,” she said.

Oriiginal Article.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pregnant Woman's Diet Affects Child's Obesity Risk

In a Nursing class i once took, i remember my Professor saying that all the weight you really need to gain during your pregnancy is about 25 to 30 pounds, and to be completely honest that's completely fine,its just hard controlling the cravings, and as much as i want to try to stay within that weight group once I'm pregnant i know it will be easier said then done.

What a woman eats when she is pregnant can affect her child's risk of obesity, regardless of how fat or thin she is, and what her baby weighs at birth, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes recently.

The British Heart Foundation said the study provides strong evidence of the need to help women of child-bearing age follow a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Led by Southampton University in the UK, and including members from New Zealand and Singapore, the international team of researchers found that a process called epigenetic change alters the function of an unborn baby's DNA in response to changes in the mother's diet.

These changes can be detected by sampling the umbilical cord at birth for "epigenetic markers" of obesity risk.

Using these epigenetic markers, the researchers were surprised to find they could predict 25% of the variation of fatness in the 300 children when they reached the age of 6 or 9 years.

The children were born to mothers who had participated in two longitudinal studies based in Southampton.

Previous studies on animals had already shown that the mother's diet in pregnancy affects offsprings' body composition, and results in epigenetic changes in genes that control metabolic processes, but until this study, it was not clear whether this also happened in humans.

Study leader Keith Godfrey, Professor of Epidemiology and Human Development at the University of Southampton, told the press this was the first time a study has shown that it is not just genes and lifestyle that affects our risk of obesity, but also what happens while we grow in our mother's womb, including what she ate.

"A mother's nutrition while pregnant can cause important epigenetic changes that contribute to her offspring's risk of obesity during childhood," said Godfrey.

Epigenetic changes, which affect how DNA is expressed without actually changing the coding sequences passed down to the child from its biological parents, also influence how our bodies respond to lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.

For example, epigenetic changes can affect how DNA instructions are interpreted in the creation of cells, proteins and other building blocks in the body.

One process that changes the expression of DNA is methylation, and the researchers in this study scanned the methylation status of 68 locations (called CpGs 5′) on 5 candidate genes in the umbilical cord tissue DNA of the children at birth.

They replicated the results with a second independent cohort.

For the study, the researchers used childhood adiposity or amount of fat mass as a measure of obesity rather than BMI.

They found that the epigenetic markers explained at least 25% of the variance in childhood adiposity or fatness, and in the first cohort, methylation of a gene called RXRA and another called eNOS were independently linked to childhood fat mass.

Original Article.

Mixing Red Bull And Alcohol To Stay Awake At Parties Can Be A Dangerous Combination

How was everyone's weekend! man today for some reason is a glorious day as of now. anyways i found this article last week but i liked the bullying story more but for some reason this one still catched my attention. I have personally never had a red bull and vodak, but one of my best friend loves them and i will be sure to let her know.. we shall see if she actually stops tho.

Believe it or not, your body knows when and how much alcohol you are drinking and sends out cues when you should stop for the evening and get some rest. Many people try to combat this by drinking popular energy drinks with their favorite happy beverage, however a new study shows that when mixing liquor with other substances, such these "rocket fuels," your brain actually shuts off these natural cues that protect you from making mistakes in judgement.

Cecile Marczinski, a psychologist at Northern Kentucky University, found that combining energy drinks such as Red Bull with vodka or other liquors effectively removes any built in checks your body has for overindulging.

"Even with just alcohol alone, young, underage drinkers are bad at deciding how safe a driver they are, but I think this would make that situation far worse."

Drinking can give you a feeling of extreme "happiness," but when you overindulge, your body knows it, and it starts to shut down; you start feeling tired, sleepy and more sedated than stimulated. That spells bedtime. Marczinski also found that people downing the combination of alcohol and energy drinks lost this natural control. Marczinski had volunteers show up at her lab and drink either plain alcoholic drinks; mixed beverages containing alcohol and energy drinks; energy drinks alone; or a non-alcoholic beverage.

Participants in the study showed that consuming the combination energy alcohol drinks reported twice as much stimulation as those drinking alcohol alone. They tended to report less sedation and fewer symptoms like tiredness or sleepiness.

Marczinski continues:

"The disconnect between what you feel and how you act is what is the problem here. Stimulation may not be a good thing when you're drinking because you may drink longer, decide to stay at a party where you're drinking longer, and drink far more than you originally intended."

You might also think that the caffeine in these drinks is what is to blame for the reduction in judgment, but turns out it's the mix of other awakening ingredients in the beverages that may be contributing to the enhanced alcohol high.

"I always thought that it was a marketing thing when they mention the other things they put in like taurine, glucose and ginseng, but I think they do facilitate that stimulation; it's not just the caffeine."

All of the popular energy drinks out there have different variations of caffeine, and most of these drinks are not considered healthy for the human body. Most of these energy drinks should be watched carefully because of the ingredients and how powerful they can be. Just because they are powerful, does not always mean good.

Most energy drinks stimulate and trigger reactions towards us that can help boost our blood pressure and heart rate, which again isn't always the best thing for us. These can often prevent sleep if taken at the wrong time, dehydrate your body, and that just is not what we intended to do with our energy drinks we purchase.

Often times, the main reason why people turn to energy drinks for their solution, are for school, work outs or on the job tiredness. You should not use energy drinks while exercising as the combination of all the stimulants and other ingredients in energy drinks can result in a loss of fluid from sweating and cause dehydration

Original Article.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bullying Pushes 7-year Old To Opt For Plastic Surgery On Her Ears

Such a sad story today.. i couldn't help and ignore it so i decided to share it with you guys. Is bullying really effecting children all that much that a 7 year old had to have plastic surgery!! come on! Pretty sure there could have been other steps taken. A 7-year old South Dakota girl, who has been a victim of bullying because her ears stick out, underwent an otoplasty - plastic surgery to reshape and pin back the outer ear. Samantha Roselle's mother told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the surgical procedure was chosen as a preventative measure, to stop the bullying.

Cami Roselles, Samantha's mom, said "Kids are mean. That's just how they are."

The operation, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, was successful, according to Dr. Steven Pearlman, the surgeon who performed the operation. He told ABC "Her ears look great!"
Otoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure aimed at reconstructing deformities or correcting defects of the pinna (outer ear).

Surgery may be performed to:
Correct an underdeveloped pinna (microtia)
Deal with an absent pinna (anotia)
Reduce disproportionate ears
Bring the ear (pinna) closer to the head, known as ear pinback. This is what Samantha had done.
The surgeon moves, reshapes and/or augments the pinna's cartilage structure which has a covering of very thin skin.

An Otoplasty is typically done by a(n):
Oro-maxilofacial surgeon - surgeon who specializes in the mouth, jaw and face
Plastic surgeon
Otolaryngologist - ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist

Original Article.