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Health notes: Autism becoming more common

Oklahoman Published: January 5, 2010
Autism becoming more common
Autism and related development disorders are becoming more common, with a prevalence rate approaching 1 percent among American 8-year-olds, according to data from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study is a partnership between the university, the CDC and 10 other U.S. research sites. It shows that one in 110 American 8-year-olds is classified as having an autism spectrum disorder, a 57 percent increase in autism spectrum disorder cases compared to four years earlier.

The new findings, published Dec. 18 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, highlight the need for social and educational services to help those affected by the condition, said Beverly Mulvihill, Ph.D., a University of Alabama at Birmingham associate professor of public health and co-author on the study.

Autism spectrum disorder cases are a group of developmental disabilities such as autism and Asperger disorder characterized by delays or changes in childhood socialization, communication and behavior.

Peer pressure cited in teen boys’ concern about appearance
Teen boys are more likely to use tanning booths, take diet pills and have their bodies waxed — even if they think those activities are unhealthy — when they are influenced by their peers, according to research by a Baylor University assistant professor of fashion merchandising.

Research showed that boys age 12 to 17 focused more on how their skin appears to others — tone, texture and color — than on other aspects of their appearance, including body shape, when they were influenced by peers, said Dr. Jay Yoo. The study will be published in fall 2010 in Adolescence. Yoo studied 155 boys, with an average age of 14.3 years, in seven schools in the eastern United States.

"I studied what kids are teased about,” Yoo said. "If anyone looks different, people tease you. Probably boys who have acne would become really self-conscious. There are cultural differences, but smooth skin is highly desired, and that may translate into other parts of the body.”

Many children in day care need more activity, research asserts
Many young children in child-care centers are not getting as much active playtime as they should, according to new research from the University of North Carolina.