Pink link to autism
FAMILY history of mercury poisoning has emerged as a significant risk factor for developing autism, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Researchers surveyed 522 Australian survivors of Pink disease (infantile acrodynia) and found 1 in 25 of their 398 grandchildren aged 6 to 12 years had an autism spectrum disorder. The study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found that the prevalence was six times higher than in the general population.

MS genes identified
A STUDY of 27 000 people worldwide has helped to identify 57 genes linked to multiple sclerosis, a massive increase on the two genes that were known of 4 years ago, The Age reports. The study, published in Nature, included 1000 Australians. It showed that multiple sclerosis is primarily a disorder of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency could also be an important factor.

Red meat risks
EATING 50 g of processed red meat every day increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 51%, while eating 100 g of unprocessed meat raises the risk by 19%, the Herald Sun reports. The risks were reduced if meat was substituted with healthier proteins such as nuts, white meat, low-fat dairy or whole grain proteins, the study, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found.

Inequality of smoking
WOMEN have a significant 25% increased risk for coronary heart disease conferred by cigarette smoking compared with men, BBC News reports. The study, published in The Lancet, analysed 75 datasets produced by studies between 1966 and 2010. The researchers admitted the explanation for the increased risk was “unclear” but suggested there could be differences in the way women smoke.

Shared ADHD and autism genes
SEVERAL genetic variants are common to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and those with autism, Fox News reports. Over a 5-year period, researchers collected DNA and behavioural data from 248 children with ADHD and from 349 children with autism. The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, found that the two groups shared several genetic characteristics.

Posted 15 August 2011

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