Autism Overdiagnosed? Possibly, Because Many Children Seem To “Outgrow” It

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) come with several neurodevelopmental signs and symptoms which overlap other conditions - it is possible that some early ASD diagnoses are wrong, especially among children who no longer meet the criteria for ASD as they get older, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health wrote in the journal Pediatrics. The authors add that it is not easy for doctors to diagnose between several possibilities early in life. Andrew W. Zimmerman, MD. and team set out to determine what the relationship might be between co-occurring conditions and changes in ASD diagnoses. They gathered information from the National Survey of Children's Health 2007, and found that those who still had a diagnosis of ASD tended to have either severe or moderate learning disability or developmental delays, compared to those whose initial ASD diagnosis was changed when they got older. The authors were comparing children who had had a diagnosis of ASD at age 3 to 5 years with the same children when they were older who still had an ASD diagnosis, and those who did not. Those aged 6-11 years with a current ASD diagnosis - these patients were more likely at an earlier age to have had a speech difficulty, or/and severe or moderate anxiety, compared to their counterparts whose diagnoses subsequently changed. Those aged 12-17 years with a current ASD diagnosis - these patients were found to be more likely to have severe or moderate speech problems or (mild) epilepsy (seizures) compared to those who no longer have an ASD diagnosis. Hearing problems - those with past hearing problems are more likely to still have an ASD diagnosis later on,...

Obesity In Children – Virtually Unchanged In U.S.

Two investigations being published by JAMAreveal that the prevalence of obesity in the United States has not changed considerably. Approximately 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children and adolescents are obese according to data from 2009-2010. The data also revealed that the prevalence of obesity in certain demographics has increased. In order to determine obesity rates in the U.S., Katherine M. Flegal, Ph.D., Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D., M.R.P., and colleagues with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Md., examined data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Rates of obesity among adults were compared with data from 1999-2008. Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The Survey includes the heights and weights of 22,847 adult individuals from a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population in 1999-2008, and 5,926 adult individuals in 2009-2010. After adjusting for age, the average BMI was 28.7 for men and women in 2009-2010. Overall, the age-adjusted obesity prevalence was 35.7%. The prevalence of obesity among men was 35.5%, while the prevalence of obesity within race/ethnicity groups ranges from 38.8% among non-Hispanic black men to 36.2% among non-Hispanic white men. The researchers found that between 1999-2000 to 2009-2010 there was a considerable increase in obesity for men. The prevalence of obesity among women was 35.8%, while the prevalence within race/ethnicity groups ranged from 58.5% among non-Hispanic black women to 32.2% among non-Hispanic white women. Overall, the team found no significant increase in the prevalence of obesity among women over the period from 1999 through 2010, although they discovered that for non-Hispanic black women and Mexican...

Internet Addiction Linked To White Matter Differences In Teen Brains

Researchers in China who compared the brain scans of 18 teenagers diagnosed with Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) with those of 18 non-addicted teenagers found differences in white matter density in over 20 brain regions. A report on their findings was published online in the 11 January issue of PLoS ONE. All the participants had a brain scan from which the researchers assessed the density and structure of the white matter. White matter contains fibers that carry the signals various parts of the brain use to communicate with each another. The researchers, who came from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other research centers in China, also assessed a range of behavioral features such as addiction, anxiety, emotional disorder, social relationships, family functioning and time management and compared the results from the group diagnosed with IAD with the non-IAD group. They found the participants in the IAD group performed less well in some of the behavioral assessments, including an additional measure of addiction, a questionnaire that assesses emotional conduct and problems in relationships, and a measure that screens for anxiety-related emotional disorders. Also, when the researchers compared brain regions they observed to be different between the groups with the results of their behavioral assessments, they found that worse (ie less "healthy") scores on two of the behavioral measures were linked to lower white matter density in two specific brain regions. The researchers conclude that their findings show IAD is "characterised by impairment of white matter fibres connecting brain regions involved in emotional generation and processing, executive attention, decision making and cognitive control". At this point we might mistakenly assume that because the researchers...
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