Friday September 21, 2018

New Study: Large age gap between parents increases autism risk in kids

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New York: Children born to teenage mothers and whose parents have a large gap between their ages, are at an increased risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), says a large study involving 5.7 million children in five countries.

The study also confirmed that older parents are at higher risk of having children with ASD, which is characterised by social avoidance, repetitive behaviours and difficulty in communicating.

“When we first reported that the older age of fathers increases risk for autism, we suggested that mutations might be the cause. Genetic research later showed that this hypothesis was correct,” said study co-author, Abraham Reichenberg, neuropsychologist and epidemiologist with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.

“In this study, we show for the first time that autism risk is associated with disparately-aged parents. Future research should look into this to understand the mechanisms,” Reichenberg noted.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, looked at autism rates among 5,766,794 children — including more than 30,000 with autism — in Denmark, Israel, Norway, Sweden and Western Australia.

The children were born between 1985 and 2004, and the researchers followed up on their development until 2009, checking national health records for autism diagnoses.

Autism rates were 66 percent higher among children born to fathers over 50 years of age, than among those born to fathers in their 20s. Autism rates were 28 percent higher when fathers were in their 40s versus 20s.

Autism rates were 15 percent higher in children born to mothers in their 40s, compared to those born to mothers in their 20s.

Autism rates were 18 percent higher among children born to teenage mothers than among those born to mothers in their 20s.

Autism rates rose still higher when both parents were older, in line with what one would expect if each parent’s age contributed to risk.

Autism rates also rose with widening gaps between two parents’ ages. These rates were highest when fathers were between 35 and 44 and their partners were 10 or more years younger.

“These results suggest that multiple mechanisms are contributing to the association between parental age and ASD risk,” the authors concluded. (IANS)

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Zimbabwe Government Aid in The Cholera Outbreak By Pledging Money

In 2008 and 2009, a cholera epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people.

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Zimbabwe, Cholera
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa talks to one of the cholera victims on Sept. 19, 2018 in Glen View’s Harare, epicenter of the waterborne disease. VOA

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, says his government will assist municipalities struggling to fight a cholera outbreak that has killed 32 people and affected more than 3,000 during the past three weeks.

After visiting the epicenter of the cholera outbreak in Harare, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to help the Harare City Council with financial assistance and called on the corporate world to donate toward fighting the epidemic.

“We are raising money, which has been coming in daily, so that we fix the burst pipes at Morton Jeffery Waterworks and the Central Business District, as well as the suburbs… we have been told that most of these pipes are old and are bursting at any given time, so we have found some well-wishers who are helping us. We will continue to support the Harare City Council In its programs meant to sanitize Harare, because the council does not have enough powers to be doing all the work alone,” he said.

Zimbabwe Cholera
On Sept. 16, 2018, a vegetable vendor in Harare says she refuses to leave her business as she has no other sources of income with Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate said to be around 85 percent. VOA

Nearby, David Shonhiwa, a vendor in Glen View, the suburban epicenter of Harare’s cholera epidemic, says there have been improvements in the area’s hygiene since cholera was detected, but more are needed.

“The situation is better now. We have been receiving clean water and we got buckets, but it has not been possible for everyone to get something because there are difficulties which others have been encountering,” he said.

Zimbabwe Cholera
Sirak Gebrehiwot, United Nations spokesperson in Zimbabwe, says his organization has deployed three emergency situations specialists to access the situation. VOA

 

Tuesday, a U.N. spokesperson in Zimbabwe, Sirak Gebrehiwot, said a U.N. emergency response fund may be activated as the cholera outbreak spreads to other parts of the country.

“In light of the appeal announced by the government of Zimbabwe to respond to the cholera, the U.N. has scaled up its support,” said Gebrehiwot. “The regional office of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs has already deployed three U.N. emergency humanitarian specialists in the ongoing response. This is in addition to our colleagues from UNICEF and the WHO, are already engaged on the ground in this emergency response.”

Also Read: Video- Zimbabwe’s Newly Appointed President Calls For Unity

In 2008 and 2009, a cholera epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people. It only stopped after international organizations such as USAID, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and U.N. agencies including UNICEF and the World Health Organization provided medicine and water treatment chemicals. (VOA)