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Attention, allergies sufferers: Pollen has arrived
March 19th, 2012
02:19 PM ET

Attention, allergies sufferers: Pollen has arrived

While some of you are probably out playing sports and smelling flowers, the rest of us are indoors with clogged noses, struggling to keep our burning eyes open.

The nice weather means spring allergies have kicked in for millions of Americans, and in the Southeast, the pollen assault is brutal. On Monday, Atlanta broke a 13-year pollen count record, with a 8,164 particles of pollen per cubic meter of air observed by the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

The previous record was 6,013 particles, detected on April 12, 1999.

The website Pollen.com, which tracks pollen nationwide, shows high pollen counts from Virginia to Florida, extending westward to Arkansas and parts of Texas. There are also pockets of high pollen activity in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, California and Arizona.
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Autism's burden reflected in family incomes
March 19th, 2012
12:02 AM ET

Autism's burden reflected in family incomes

Raising children brings financial challenge for many families, but especially for parents of children with autism. And the magnitude of that burden is a lot bigger than you may think.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that overall earnings in families with children with autism are 28% ($17,763) less compared to families whose children do not have health limitations, and 21% ($10,416) less compared to families with children with other health limitations.

The dichotomy is striking in the mothers' income: Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder tend to earn 35% less than mothers who have children with different health limitations - in fact, $7189 less - on average. Compared to mothers of children who do not have health limitations, those with autistic children earn 56% less, which translates to an average difference of $14,755. There was no average difference in fathers' incomes, however.

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March 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Synthetic marijuana just as dangerous

It may not be marijuana, but its effects are just as potent. A new report in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics finds more emergency rooms across the United States are seeing an increase in patients who have used synthetic marijuana.

Known as K2, Spice, Mr. Smiley and Blaze, the product can have similar but sometimes more serious consequences than marijuana?  These synthetic cannabinoids are a blend of plant and herbal materials that have been sprayed with chemicals, which produce a certain toxicity.

Sold in such places at gas stations, connivence stores and on the internet, the synthetic marijuana produce euphoric and psychoactive effects similar to those associated with marijuana. But doctors say there are additional side effects that may be particularly dangerous. The drug can leave patients catatonic and listless. And what makes matters worse, very little is known about Synthetic marijuana or how to treat an adverse reaction or overdose.

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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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