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Indian couple in US sued for calling autistic son ‘public nuisance’

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Washington: After alleging that their autistic son is a “public nuisance”, an Indian couple was arrested in California, according to a media report.

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Vidyut Gopal and Parul Agrawal got slapped with a lawsuit filed by their two neighbours. They were ultimately forced to leave their home of seven years in Sunnyvale, one of the major cities that make up Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News reported on Thursday.

Gopal who is an engineer at a Silicon Valley company said, “This has been pretty devastating for us, but we are doing our best to cope with it,”

The couple’s hired caregivers gave the boy special medication and put him in therapeutic classes after neighbours complained about the young boy pulling children’s hair, biting a woman and other menacing behaviour.

Last year, the couple was slapped with a lawsuit that alleges the boy’s disruptive behaviour created an “as-yet unquantified chilling effect on the otherwise ‘hot’ local real estate market” and that “people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes as this issue remains unresolved and the nuisance remains unabated”.

To the Indian-origin parents’ dismay, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge last October issued a preliminary injunction against them to ensure their son does not strike, assault, or batter anyone in the neighbourhood or their personal property.

Next week, a judge will hear arguments about whether the plaintiffs should have access to the boy’s school and medical records.

Agrawal, a research scientist at NASA Ames Research Centre, said they remain focused on helping their son. But they hope this case “will raise awareness about autism and educate the public” about the challenges that families of children with autism face.

Parents of children with autism fear that such lawsuits could be slapped against them as well.

“What scared us in the Bay Area is that there are thousands of kids just like this one,” Jill Escher, president of the board of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area, was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Gopal and Agrawal have decided not to return to their former home, which they have now rented to another family.

(with inputs from IANS)

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Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls

Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies
Prenatal Fish Consumption NOT Linked to Autism Risk in Babies. Pixabay

Instead of increasing risk of autism, eating fish twice a week during pregnancy may actually give newborns several nutritional benefits, suggests a new research.

The findings — published in journal Molecular Autism — found no evidence to support claims that mercury in fish is linked to the development of autism or autistic traits in newborns.

“All species of fish contain traces of mercury, which can harm brain development, but we have found that the health benefits of fish, probably from nutrients such as vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and iodine, outweigh the risks from mercury,” said co-author Caroline Taylor from the University of Bristol in Britain.

For the study, the researchers examined the assumption that mercury exposure during pregnancy is a major cause of autism, using evidence from nearly 4,500 women.

They analysed blood samples, reported fish consumption and gathered information on autism and autistic traits from one of the largest longitudinal studies to date.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers also found poor social cognition if mothers ate no fish at all, especially for baby girls.

“Our findings further endorse the safety of eating fish during pregnancy. Importantly, we’ve found no evidence at all to support claims that mercury is involved in the development of autism or autistic traits,” said lead author Jean Golding, Professor at the University of Bristol.

Also Read: Gene Responsible For Autism Identified

“This adds to a body of work that endorses eating of fish during pregnancy for a good nutritional start to life with at least two fish meals a week,” Golding noted. (IANS)

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