Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
New York City proposed a law that would keep tobacco products out of sight at stores; the city hopes the law would help to discourage smoking in teens. A study found that 1 in 3 older people have some form of dementia when they die, though dementia may not be the cause of their deaths. New guidelines suggest restrictions on athletes with symptoms of a concussion, and a survey of parents shows that 1 in 50 schoolchildren have been diagnosed with autism or related disorders. And the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed gay marriage, citing research that shows a stable family helps child development, regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents.
This Issue: Tobacco: Out of Sight, Out of Mouth? One-third of Elderly Die with Dementia Concussion? Don't Keep Your Head in the Game Parental Survey Finds Autism More Common Leading Physician Group Backs Gay Marriage
In the News:
Tobacco: Out of Sight, Out of Mouth?
New York City has proposed a law that would require stores to conceal tobacco products from view. Several countries already have such laws in place. New York would be the first state in the nation to have such a law. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the idea is to reduce youth smoking rates, which have not declined in the past 6 years. Tobacco products could only be visible when they are being restocked or when a purchase is being made.
One-third of Elderly Die with Dementia
One of every three older people dies with some form of dementia, although many do not die from these conditions. A report released by the Alzheimer's Association found that even if dementia does not cause death, it can speed it along. For example, 70 percent of 70-year-olds who do not have dementia will live at least another 10 years. But only 40 percent of 70-year-olds with dementia will live that long. Dementia can affect a person's memory, as well as make it more difficult for them to exercise, swallow, or explain how they are feeling.
Concussion? Don't Keep Your Head in the Game
Any athlete who might have a concussion should not play until they've visited a doctor and been cleared to do so. This is a new recommendation from the American Academy of Neurology. Concussions have been in the public eye lately. Professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league did not do enough to protect them from concussions. The recommendations apply to athletes of any age.
Parental Survey Finds Autism More Common
A new survey estimates that 1 in 50 schoolchildren has autism, an increase from the previous 1 in 88. The new study relied on parental surveys, while the older one used medical records. Autism is not necessarily occurring more often. The definition of autism has expanded over the past several decades. It now includes milder conditions. So more children now fit the definition. The survey included 95,000 parents. But less than one-fourth of the parents agreed to answer questions. Parents with affected children may have been more likely to take the survey, compared with other parents.
Leading Physician Group Backs Gay Marriage
The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed gay marriage, noting that research shows that parental sexual orientation does not affect a child's development. Its new policy notes that children's health and well being is enhanced by a nurturing, stable family, regardless of whether the parents are gay or straight. The academy recently joined with other medical groups to support a Supreme Court case claiming that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. This act defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Several other national health groups also support gay marriage.
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