HealthWise at 5 From 4.2 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/2/04

HealthWise at 5 From 4.2

  • Scars & Topamax

An unusual side effect from a pill: it may improve the appearance of skin marred by a scar. The anti-seizure drug, Topamax, was used in a small study at the University of Florida with patients who all had scars that were at least two years old. After taking low doses of Topamax for less than two months, discoloration and uneven surfaces on scars were reduced. The researchers hope a double-blind, placebo-controlled study will be pursued to confirm these scar-smoothing results.

  • Autism Gene

Researchers have identified changes in a single gene that may increase the risk of autism two to four times. Researchers found the genetic link by studying more than 400 families with at least two autistic children. They say the changes in the gene affect a cells ability to function normally. But they note that this change alone doesn't cause autism, and say there are likely several genes involved. They're hopeful that this finding will help them locate the other genes as well. Researchers add that the findings need to be replicated and if they are confirmed, could help with early diagnosis of the disorder.

Researchers say early intervention and treatment may be beneficial to autistic children. Previous studies have found genetic mutations and regions associated with autism. This is the first finding of a gene that is associated with an increased risk of the disorder, according to researchers. Autism is a complex developmental disorder that compromises ones communication and social skills. As many as one and a half million Americans (children and adults) are thought to have autism, according to the Autism Society of America.

The study was conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and is published in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

  • Dog Resemblance

You've heard the theory that dog owners look like their dogs. A new study tested that notion and you know what, they found that it's true at least for purebreds. Researchers at the University of California had impartial judges try and match up pictures of dozens of dogs and their owners. And a panel of judges found the dogs matched their owners about 65 % of the time. Why? The researchers theorize that when people select a pet they do, on some level, look for a reflection of themselves. And it's not always based on looks but sometimes matching personalities.

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