Health Buzz: Study Identifies More Genes Tied to Autism

5 ways to exercise safely in the heat; 5 risky teen behaviors parents should know about.

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Study Identifies More Genes Tied to Autism

New findings from a genetic study of nearly 1,000 children with autism identified more gene variations unique to people with autism that play a role in the disorder, which could help researchers better understand why autism develops. The study is the largest ever done on the genetics of autism. Not only did children with autism have rare genetic variations, they didn't share those variations with their parents, meaning that the variations were not inherited, U.S News contributor Nancy Shute reports.

But if you're the parent of a child with autism, news like this that doesn't include a cure, better treatments, or even a clear-cut cause doesn't sound so exciting, Shute writes. Not so, says Stanley Nelson, a geneticist at the University of California-Los Angeles. Finding more autism genes could make it easier to identify the causes of autism and discover potential treatments. According to Nelson, however, this biggest-ever study, published online in Nature, explains the genetic basis of only about 3 percent of diagnosed cases of autism. [Read more: To Help Cure Autism, Share Your DNA.]

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  • 5 Ways to Exercise Safely in the Heat

    With climbing temperatures and endless sunshine, summer is the perfect time to take your workout outdoors. But exercising al fresco does have its caveats, U.S. News's Hanna Dubansky writes. Distances seem longer and hills appear steeper. In the heat, a simple jog can be a grueling test of endurance with potentially fatal consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke kills approximately 300 people each year.

    A recent study from New Zealand appears to have a solution. Researchers found that all you may need to beat the heat is an ice-cold slushie, available right at your local convenience store. When young male recreational athletes downed one of these tasty treats they added an average of 10 minutes to their usual water-only 40-minute runs. [Read more: 5 Ways to Exercise Safely in the Heat.]

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    • Risky Teen Behaviors: The 5 Biggies Parents Should Know About

      When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked teenagers if they had ever used a prescription drug that wasn't prescribed to them, 23 percent said "Yes." That was the big news in the CDC's new Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which anonymously polled 16,000 high school students in 2009 about whether they had been drinking, smoking, using illegal drugs, or indulging in other risky behaviors.

      Twenty-three percent may sound like a lot, but it's not a big surprise to researchers, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute writes. Teenage abuse of ADHD drugs, like Adderal, has risen 76 percent in the past eight years, according to a study published last year in Pediatrics. And opioid drugs like OxyContin, which are widely prescribed to adults for pain relief, are the third-most-popular drugs of abuse for teenagers. Both ADHD medications and OxyContin are easy to find in medicine cabinets and teenagers figure most parents will never notice if one or two pills go missing. [Read more: Risky Teen Behaviors: The 5 Biggies Parents Should Know About.]

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