New Research Analyzes Children's Original Diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder
A new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Child Psychology hints that children diagnosed with autism could grow out of the disorder. University of Connecticut researchers analyzed 34 children who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder early on, but who no longer met the criteria for the disorder and lost all its symptoms. They used cognitive and observational tests to compare these 34 children with 34 classmates who were not autistic, reports the BBC. The result? The two groups of kids were nearly indistinguishable, and those who were at one point diagnosed with autism showed no signs of issues with language, face recognition, communication, or social interaction. The autistic children's original diagnoses were accurately reported, researchers found, leading them to believe that these children may have grown out of their disorders, or perhaps were compensating for their autism-related struggles, reports the BBC. The research is not conclusive, and there are many theories for the children's outcomes. "Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes," Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told BBC.
8 Unhealthy Vices to Extinguish Now
How are those resolutions going, two weeks in? Only 300-something days left to drop 30 pounds or quit smoking or become happier. While these positive, long-term goals are well intended—and we trust you can pull them off—why not tackle a couple short-term resolutions this month? Consider these seemingly-innocent health habits you can (and should) start crossing off your list:
Habit: Chewing on ice
Why it matters: "Pica" is a condition that causes people to crave and chew non-foods, like paper and ice. It's sometimes triggered by nutritional issues, such as iron-deficiency anemia, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chewing ice could also signal emotional troubles like stress or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. Not to mention: That crunching is likely annoying your nearby co-workers.
How to stop: Make and order your beverages ice-free to avoid temptation. Bring it up with your doctor, too. She can determine if you have a nutritional deficiency, and if so, help you overcome it. If she suspects it's an anxiety issue, she may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.
Why it matters: When you're stooped over as you stand, or slouched so far down in your seat that you're nearly falling off, your back muscles and ligaments have to work harder to keep you balanced. This struggle in your muscles can lead to back pain, fatigue, and headaches, among other issues.
How to stop: Practice makes perfect, and posture is no exception. When standing, check that your shoulders are back and relaxed, your chest is high, and your knees are relaxed—not locked. [Read more: 8 Unhealthy Vices to Extinguish Now]
Stomach Flu Survival Guide: Family Edition
It's high season for the so-called "stomach flu"—a viral form of gastroenteritis that causes vomiting as well as diarrhea, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman.
Of note, the stomach flu is a misnomer: it's not actually caused by an influenza virus at all, but rather from an assorted variety of other viruses. Gastroenteritis caused by a rotavirus is more likely to affect kids, whereas both adults and kids are equally susceptible to gastroenteritis caused by highly-contagious noroviruses.
Health authorities across the country have been reporting that a new and particularly nasty strain of norovirus has been swiftly making its rounds throughout North America this year, affecting both adults and young children in equal measure. As a dietitian and mom whose entire family recently succumbed to this wretched 48-hour virus (all at once, I might add), I offer the following tips for survival.