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US autism rates up 10 percent in new CDC report

puzzle brain autism
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contributed to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that finds the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among 11 surveillance sites as 1 in 54 among children aged 8 years in 2016 (or 1.85 percent). This is a 10 percent increase from the most recent report two years ago when it was 1 in 59, and the highest prevalence since the CDC began tracking ASD in 2000. Consistent with previous reports, boys were 4 to 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. The rate for ASD is 1 in 34 among boys (or 2.97 percent) and 1 in 145 among girls (or 0.69 percent).

ASD is a developmental disorder characterized by social and communication impairments, along with limited interests and repetitive behaviors. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving learning, communication, and other skills. Rates have been rising dramatically in the past three decades, but researchers do not know how much of this rise is due to better detection or an increase in "true" cases or both. Technical factors that may be contributing to an increase in ASD include increased awareness, screening, diagnostic services, treatment and intervention services, better documentation of ASD behaviors, and changes in diagnostic criteria. To date, the causes of autism are not completely understood but studies show that both environment and genetics may play a role.

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Info

High salt diet weakens the immune system

Salt
© Times of India
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system. This is the conclusion of a current study under the leadership of the University Hospital Bonn. Mice fed a high-salt diet were found to suffer from much more severe bacterial infections. Human volunteers who consumed an additional six grams of salt per day also showed pronounced immune deficiencies. This amount corresponds to the salt content of two fast food meals. The results are published in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".

Five grams a day, no more: This is the maximum amount of salt that adults should consume according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). It corresponds approximately to one level teaspoon. In reality, however, many Germans exceed this limit considerably: Figures from the Robert Koch Institute suggest that on average men consume ten, women more than eight grams a day.

This means that we reach for the salt shaker much more than is good for us. After all, sodium chloride, which is its chemical name, raises blood pressure and thereby increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. But not only that: "We have now been able to prove for the first time that excessive salt intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system," explains Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts from the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn.

This finding is unexpected, as some studies point in the opposite direction. For example, infections with certain skin parasites in laboratory animals heal significantly faster if these consume a high-salt diet: The macrophages, which are immune cells that attack, eat and digest parasites, are particularly active in the presence of salt. Several physicians concluded from this observation that sodium chloride has a generally immune-enhancing effect.

Health

Bahrain, Belgium successfully treating coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine

Clinical Tests of Hydroxychloroquines to Fight COVID-19 in Bahrain prove successful
trump chloroquine
Bahrain and Belgium report their hospitals are successfully treating coronavirus patients with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine touted by President Trump as a possible breakthrough in the pandemic.

The Kingdom of Bahrain's Supreme Council of Health chairman said his country was among the first to use the drug and that its impact has been "profound," according to the Bahrain News Agency.

Dr. Shaikh Mohamed, who leads the National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19, was also quoted by the news agency as saying hydroxychloroquine was administered according to the same regimens as those used in China and South Korea.

The first COVID-19 case in Bahrain was reported on Feb. 21, and hydroxychloroquine was first administered to patients showing virus symptoms on Feb. 26. As of March 25, the virus had caused 4 deaths in Bahrain, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

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Clipboard

'Utterly unreliable'! University of Oxford researchers stop relying on WHO for modeling data

world health organization
Our World in Data, an online publication based at the University of Oxford, announced on Tuesday that it had stopped relying on World Health Organization (WHO) data for its models, citing errors and other factors.

The group's founder, Max Roser, said researchers are now using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Until March 18 we relied on the World Health Organization (WHO) as our source. We aimed to rely on the WHO as they are the international agency with the mandate to provide official estimates on the pandemic. The WHO reports this data for each single day and they can be found here at the WHO's site.

Since March 18 it became unfortunately impossible to rely on the WHO data to understand how the pandemic is developing over time. With Situation Report 58 the WHO shifted the reporting cutoff time from 0900 CET to 0000 CET. This means that comparability is compromised because there is an overlap between these two WHO data publications (Situation Reports 57 and 58).

Additionally we found many errors in the data published by the WHO when we went through all the daily Situation Reports. We immediately notified the WHO and are in close contact with the WHO's team to correct the errors that we pointed out to them.

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Attention

Not a surprise: Glyphosate-based herbicides are bad for your mental health

glyphosate
Eat your veggies is no longer synonymous with health thanks to the increasingly documented deleterious health effects of chemical pesticides and herbicides. In the approximately 80 years of human chemical herbicide use, countless health problems have been linked back to exposure. There was the Vietnam War's Agent Orange. There was DDT and associated obfuscation efforts. And then since the 1990's, we have been increasingly exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides found in processed foods, on GMO crops like corn and soy, and as a post-harvest desiccant on others like wheat and potatoes.

In a precedent-setting case in 2018, Monsanto's Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide that is the world's bestselling weedkiller, was found to cause cancer, awarding a school groundskeeper 289 million dollars in damages,1 and leading to a deluge of over 8,000 similar cases being brought to court.

Comment: Interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff: Glyphosate herbicide and how to detox it


Health

Antiviral benefits of Elderberry

elderberry
Natural antiviral substances have been used for centuries to fight common infections, but interest has grown around elderberries, a purple berry long used for its cold and flu-reducing properties. Researchers believe elderberry's antiviral properties may be valuable in the widespread prevention and treatment of influenza and other viral illnesses

Elderberries, small, dark purple berries grown on the Sambucus tree, are well known for their cold and flu-fighting properties. Used medicinally for centuries to reduce cold symptoms and other ailments, researchers believe elderberry may be one of the best natural antiviral substances and could be used to effectively treat the common cold and influenza A and B.[i],[ii]

Comment: Scientists confirm elderberry beats the flu, prevents colds & strengthens immunity


Info

The mind of Covid-19: Don't succumb to groupthink

"Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers."

- Bruce Calvert
coronavirus empty shop shelves toilet paper

Stop following the herd. Think for yourself
The number of Coronavirus cases is 353,905 worldwide, while the death toll, as of this writing has reached 15,420. Currently, 35,232 individuals in the U.S. have tested positive for this virus, also known as Covid-19. There have been 459 reported deaths. Because of its rapid spread, the World Health Organization has defined Covid-19 as a pandemic. And although the spread of infectious disease has been much more fully understood over the course of the last few centuries, the age-old practice of quarantine continues to be a mainstay in the prevention of further spread of disease. No matter what is called, though - social distancing, isolation, or quarantine - the idea of separating oneself from society, either voluntarily or because of mandate, is a rough proposition for most. Whether a skeptic or believer, though, many will find themselves pressing up against the boundary of reason. What is real? What is propaganda? Are we being strong-armed by an insidious agenda, or informed by experts who have our best interest in mind?

In a world rushed by news and clamped to social media, the ability to realize what is true is obscured and corrupted, an irony of the information age. People feel informed simply because they have grazed on a spate of information, oftentimes, that is out of context, superficial, or simply untrue. This, coupled with the fact that many Americans are no longer trained to read and digest information comprehensively, to delve into unfamiliar subject matter with an analytic mind, contributes to a heightened sense of panic, one that spins and reverberates in the far reaches of the internet, and gels into a sense of collective hysteria.

Health

Prepare for a real pandemic: Self-isolation may save lives, but it exacerbates mental health issues & loneliness

An elderly person walks his dog
© Getty Images / Stefano Mazzola / Awakening
An elderly person walks in an empty Piazza San Marco with his dog on March 11, 2020
Millions of elderly and vulnerable people suffering from chronic loneliness are now facing further isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will cause and exacerbate a different set of problems such as mental health issues.

There have been almost 400,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, whilst over 17,000 people have died. Although the virus appears to be on the wane in China and South Korea, Europe is now the epicentre with tens of thousands of cases reported.

Governments across Europe have issued lockdowns and advised citizens, especially the elderly, to self-isolate in order to prevent spread and mortality. While self-isolation may save lives, it will cause and exacerbate a different set of problems such as mental health issues and loneliness - the consequences of which I see on a daily basis in my line of work.

One is the loneliest number, as the song written by Harry Nilsson goes. Sadly, this is becoming the reality for an increasing number of people, both old and young, across the industrialised world. The atomisation of society and consequent alienation of individuals from each other is particularly visible in big cities such as London where few speak to, let alone meaningfully interact with, their neighbours.

Heart

The cardiovascular risk reduction benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet outweigh the potential increase in LDL-cholesterol

LDL HDL cholesterol
This 2016 letter to the editor of the BMJ was written as a response to Nadia Mansoor et al.'s meta-analysis of trials comparing the use of low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets for weight loss and cardiovascular benefit. Mansoor et al. found the low-carbohydrate diets, relative to the low-fat diets, led to increases in LDL and HDL and a reduction in triglycerides. Arguing the increase in LDL indicated elevated cardiovascular risk, they concluded the evidence did not support the use of low-carbohydrate diets.

Thomas Wood et al., the authors of the 2016 letter, do not disagree with the data presented by Mansoor et al. but disagree with their interpretation of it. Specifically, Wood et al. argue the sum of the evidence suggests the surveyed low-carbohydrate diets reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and any increase in risk associated with an increase in LDL cholesterol is inconsequential in the context of the other changes observed.

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Health

New York hospitals treating coronavirus patients with vitamin C

vitamin c tablets
© Getty Images/iStockphoto
Seriously sick coronavirus patients in New York state's largest hospital system are being given massive doses of vitamin C — based on promising reports that it's helped people in hard-hit China, The Post has learned.

Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island, said his intensive-care patients with the coronavirus immediately receive 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C.

Identical amounts of the powerful antioxidant are then re-administered three or four times a day, he said.

Comment: Finally, something that actually makes sense in this COVID-19 mess! It's nice to see that at least some hospitals are taking seriously the reports coming from doctors in Wuhan, testifying to the effectiveness of vitamin C. Hopefully, they'll up the dose and see how miraculous this stuff really is.

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