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Spotting autism's unique shape in the brain
September 2nd, 2011
06:15 PM ET

Spotting autism's unique shape in the brain

Diagnosing autism is not easy.  Doctors currently diagnose autism in children by observing behavior.  But researchers at Standford University believe they have developed a way to use brains scans that may help identify autism in children in the future.

Using MRI scans, researchers were able to determine that autistic brains have a unique shape when compared to typically developing brains.

They found that there are significant differences in areas of the brain called the Default Mode Network, a set of brain structures associated with social communication and self-awareness.

A study published Friday in Biological Psychiatry finds that the greater the difference in brain structure, the more severe the case of autism.

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Filed under: ADHD • Autism

September 2nd, 2011
05:12 PM ET

2 flu cases transmitted from pigs
In rare cases, a person may contract an influenza virus from a pig.
September 2nd, 2011
04:23 PM ET

2 flu cases transmitted from pigs

You may remember "swine flu" as the 2009 H1N1 virus, which sent people out for hand sanitizer in droves and avoiding anyone who was coughing and sneezing. No one actually caught it from a pig; it's transmitted from person to person. But on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on two children who were indeed sickened by a flu virus that originated from pigs.

The CDC report "describes two cases of febrile respiratory illness caused by swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses identified on August 19 and August 26."  Researchers also discovered that the virus that sickened the children had a genetic component of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus that was incorrectly tagged as a swine flu. Transmission of the flu from pigs to humans is rare, but it does happen.

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September 2nd, 2011
08:43 AM ET

What can I do for food addiction?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Friday, it's Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist.

Question asked by RK of California:

Hi, Dr. Melina. I read your response to a question a few weeks ago, and I don't think I have an eating disorder, but I feel like I'm addicted to food. Is there anything that I can do? I'm desperate to lose weight.
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Remote people's 'first contact' would be fraught with danger, experts say
September 2nd, 2011
08:38 AM ET

Remote people's 'first contact' would be fraught with danger, experts say

For "uncontacted" peoples, like the isolated tribe that went missing last month, a first encounter can be disastrous.

What began 500 years ago with the first Europeans arriving in the New World is still going on in some pockets of Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

Tribes live in isolation when suddenly, new people, carrying new illnesses, show up.

"These groups have been isolated for so long that they haven't built up any immunity like most of us around the world," says Fiona Watson, research and field director of Survival International. "They just don't have the immunity.” FULL POST


What the Yuck: Relative genetics
September 2nd, 2011
07:40 AM ET

What the Yuck: Relative genetics

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

I look exactly like a relative who died young. Does that mean I'll die young too?

Relax, you're not going to die any time soon - at least not because of how you look.

You might share the same genes for appearance - the ones that gave you similar hair or eye color, facial features or height - but that doesn't mean you share the genes for whatever was responsible for the death of your relative: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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