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One in 68 kids has autism: US study

One in 68 children has autism, a 30 percent rise over the last estimate released in 2012, US health authorities said Thursday. The latest US data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the "proportion of children with autism and higher IQ (is) on the rise," said a CDC statement. Previously, as many as one in 88 US children were known to have autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a developmental disorder that recent research suggests may originate in the womb.

Researchers find abnormality in brain layers of autistic children

By Gene Emery NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers say they have uncovered key abnormalities in some of the layers of the brains of children with autism, an indication that the foundation for the problem is laid early in fetal development. Using a unique collection of molecular tags applied to the brains after the children had died, they found patches along the convoluted surface of the brain where some usual components of cells were missing.

Police, mental health leaders have national conversation on preventing tragedies

TORONTO - It's a national conversation that's finally taking place. Amid growing concern over how police deal with some of society's most vulnerable, law enforcement officials, those who live with mental illness and the people who support them have gathered to discuss what can be done to avert tragedies involving those in crisis. That dialogue — deemed the first of its kind — comes at a time when statistics suggest one in five Canadians experience a mental health illness in any given year.

Brainsway sees growth in depression treatment, looks to new areas

By Ari Rabinovitch JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli medical device maker Brainsway expects strong growth following the launch of its treatment of depression and hopes to access new markets once its system finishes trials in treating a number of other diseases. Brainsway developed a helmet that shoots magnetic pulses into the brain of patients with neurological disorders. The pulses stimulate neurons and improve function in the affected areas, the company says.

Military veteran with service dog says Saskatchewan restaurant turned him away

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - A military veteran who needs a service dog says he was turned away from a restaurant in Saskatchewan. Michael Sharron, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, says he needs the dog, Rylie, with him for medical reasons. Sharron says he and his father-in-law went to a Smitty's restaurant in a Prince Albert mall for lunch on March 3. He says they were greeted by a man, who turned out to be the owner, and who told them that dogs weren't allowed.

Do you 'like' how I look?

By Shereen Jegtvig NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Social media that emphasizes sharing and commenting on photos and other images may feed the anxieties of young women with eating disorders, according to U.S. researchers. In experiments with a group of female college students, those who logged into their Facebook accounts were more likely to worry about their weight and body shape afterward, compared to women who read online articles about a neutral topic.

ADHD medications tied to teenage weight gain

By Kathryn Doyle NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stimulant medications, rather than the childhood ADHD they are used to treat, could be linked to weight gain during the teenage years, according to a new analysis of medical records. As of 2011, 11 percent of U.S. kids ages four to 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of those kids were taking stimulant medications like Adderall or Ritalin.

Medical staff say services stretched as self-harming teens seek help

Mental health services are strained as a growing number of teens show up at emergency rooms across Canada with self-inflicted injuries and suicidal thoughts, say pediatric psychiatrists. "We're seeing twice as many kids as we were 10 years ago," said Dr. Hazen Gandy, division chief of community-based psychiatry at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. "Commonly it's cutting," he said of kids typically aged 12 to 17 who slash their arms, thighs or bellies with everything from razor blades to the sharp edges of protractors.

Study ties troubled sleep to lower brain volume

By Ronnie Cohen NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who have trouble sleeping tend to have less volume in certain regions of the brain than those without sleep problems, a new study of Persian Gulf War veterans suggests. "People discount the importance of sleep. So many things seem so much more important than a few extra hours of sleep a night," lead author Linda L. Chao told Reuters Health. "The study suggests we shouldn't discount sleep importance," she said.

Video games offer hope for autistic children

The game over, a beaming Sawyer and Michael, both 10, cheer and give each other a high-five. It is a small but significant reaction that experts say shows how children with autism can benefit from playing some computer games. The Steuart W. Weller Ashburn Elementary School in Virginia is one of the specialized centers in the United States testing Microsoft's popular Xbox game console, equipped with "Kinect."
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