Mercury in Vaccines Does Not Cause Autism, Study Says
Earlier this year, a federal court ruled that there was no link between thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative in many vaccines, and autism, much to the chagrin of parents and advocacy groups who believe otherwise. New research sides with the court. Thimerosal-containing vaccines do not increase the risk of autism, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 1,000 children, including 256 diagnosed with autism, and found that babies exposed to high levels of thimerosal—whether in the womb or during the first 20 months of life—were no more likely to develop autism than those who were not exposed. "This study should reassure parents about following the recommended immunization schedule," study author Frank Destefano told Reuters.
- Study: Early Childhood Vaccines Don't Damage Kids' Development
- Parents' Vaccine Safety Fears Mean Big Trouble for Children's Health
Common Asthma Drug Could Benefit Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Albuterol—a common, inexpensive asthma drug—could help patients with multiple sclerosis, new research suggests. When combined with conventional treatments, like drug therapy, alberturol seems to ease MS symptoms and delay flare-ups—perhaps because it suppresses the activity of harmful chemicals in the immune system, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Neurology. About 40 patients with relapsing-remitting MS—attacks followed by periods of remission—were involved in the study by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Half took the MS drug glatiramer coupled with albuterol, while the other half took glatiramer and a placebo. During the year they were followed, those who took both drugs had fewer relapses and experienced their first relapse later than did those in the placebo group, Reuters reports. Ten patients relapsed over the course of the study: two in the albuterol group, and eight in the placebo group. MS treatments are often expensive, so an affordable, generic drug like albuterol could prove important to patients, according to Reuters.
Basketball Injuries: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Safe
Basketball is America's most popular team sport, but 375,000 children end up in emergency rooms each year after playing hoops, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute. The number of traumatic brain injuries suffered by children playing basketball rose 70 percent from 1997 to 2007, according to a new study in Pediatrics, even though the total number of basketball injuries declined over that time.
Part of the increase in traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, is no doubt due to increased awareness that a concussion, which is a mild traumatic brain injury, can lead to permanent brain damage if an injured child continues to play a contact sport like basketball without having time to heal. But the authors of the new study, conducted at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, speculate that the increase in concussions and other TBIs may also be due to rougher, more competitive play at ever-younger ages.
Fortunately, TBIs are still relatively rare in basketball, accounting for approximately 4 percent of injuries that brought children to the ER, the researchers found. Sprains and strains were the most common, accounting for 45 percent of injuries, followed by dislocations and fractures, at 22 percent. But the proportion of injuries that were TBIs doubled for boys and tripled for girls during that time period. And TBIs can be the most devastating of all the injuries listed, since they can cause lifelong cognitive problems. [Read more: Basketball Injuries: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Safe.]
- Concussions Pose a Long-Term Health Threat to Young Athletes
- How to Reduce the Risks of Sports Concussions in Young Athletes
Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- 5 Reasons That May Explain Why Type 1 Diabetes Is on the Rise
- Gaining a Pound a Year After Age 20 Nearly Doubles Women's Breast Cancer Risk
- Concerned About Your Cholesterol? 10 Ways to Lower LDL and Raise HDL
- Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?
- Birth Control Pill Turns 50: 7 Ways It Changed Lives
- 6 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Diabetes