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Vitamin D reduces risk of developing autism

In a new study, researchers have found additional evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of developing autism.

The study examined the variation of autism prevalence by state for those aged 6-17 years in 2010.

It found that states with higher solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) doses in summer or autumn had half the rate of autism as states with the lowest doses.

The study also found that in the states with the least solar UVB, black-Americans had a 40 percent higher rate of autism than white-Americans.

Black-Americans have lower vitamin D or serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations due to their darker skin and since solar UVB is the primary source of vitamin D for most Americans.

Similar geographical variations have been noted for incidence and mortality rates for about 15 types of cancer in the United States.

The UVB-vitamin D-cancer hypothesis was proposed in 1980 based on variations in colon cancer mortality rates in the United States and now has strong support from observational studies, laboratory studies of mechanisms, and limited support from randomized controlled trials.

Those who have lower serum 25(OH)D concentrations have been found to have a greater risk of developing breast and colorectal cancer.

Brain scans could predict bipolar disorder risk

Young people who are likely to develop bipolar disorder could potentially be identified before the onset of the mental illness.

This is the conclusion of a new study, which observed differences in brain activity in young people with no clinical signs of the illness, but with a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder.

Black Dog Institute researcher Philip Mitchell said the finding is significant because family history is currently the only way to determine who is at risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to the Courier Mail.

Even if someone has a family history of the illness, only 10 per cent will go on to develop bipolar, he said. The study, published this week in Biological Psychiatry, compared the brain activity of about 50 participants aged between 18 and 30 with a family history of bipolar with another 50 people not considered at risk.

Maintaining weight is important for women

Gaining weight back after intentional weight loss is associated with negative long-term effects on some cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors in postmenopausal women, researchers say.

In the new study, lead authors Daniel Beavers and Kristen Beavers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center wanted to look at how weight regain affects health risk in these women.

The researchers looked specifically at CM risk factors – a cluster of risk factors that are indicators of a person’s overall risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

They include blood pressure, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and insulin.

“In this group of women, weight loss and maintaining that loss offers the most health benefit, but therein lies the problem,” Daniel Beavers said.

“For most people, weight regain after intentional weight loss is an expected occurrence, and the long-term health ramifications of weight regain in older adults are not well understood,” Daniel said.

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