Disability News Weekly Roundup Monday, Feb 3 – Friday, Feb 7

Health:
Guidelines ask women to monitor stroke risks more closely than men (Washington Post)
The American Heart Association has released a new set of stroke prevention guidelines that highlight the unique risk factors for stroke women are likely to have. These include migraines, depression, diabetes, and the abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. Women are advised to pay more attention to the risk of stroke than the average man, watching their blood pressure before they think about taking birth control pills or getting pregnant. An informational video from the American Stroke Association is included.

Policy:
New recommendations guide treatment for those on the spectrum (DisabilityScoop)
For the first time in 15 years, a major psychiatric organization is updating its practice guidelines for treating children and adolescents with autism. A series of seven recommendations from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, outline the responsibilities clinicians have in diagnosing and treating those on the spectrum. Physicians should help families obtain appropriate educational, behavioral, communication, and medical treatments for their child, the guidance indicates. In addition, they should take an active role in long-term planning and provide support to parents and siblings.

Science:
A short stay in darkness may heal hearing woes (Science Daily)
Researchers know that young brains are malleable enough to re-wire some circuits that process sensory information. Now researchers have shown the brains of adult mice can also be re-wired, compensating for vision loss by improving their hearing. The researchers placed adult mice with normal vision and hearing in complete darkness for six to eight days. After the mice were returned to a normal light-dark cycle, their vision was unchanged, but they heard much better than before. This may lead to treatments for human hearing loss and tinnitus. Minimizing a person’s sight for as little as a week may help improve the brain’s ability to process hearing.

Nutritional supplement improves cognitive performance in older adults, study finds (Science Daily)
A University of South Florida (USF) study reports that a formula of nutrients high in antioxidants and other natural components helped boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information. The USF-developed nutritional supplement, containing extracts from blueberries and green tea combined with vitamin D3 and amino acids, was tested in a two-month clinical trial with 105 healthy older adults. Those randomized to a 52 member experimental group receiving the formula showed improvements in cognitive processing speed, while the 53-member control group receiving a placebo did not.

Technology:
A robotic hand, this time with feeling (MIT Technology Review)
A man who lost his left hand in an accident is now able to feel varying degrees of pressure on three fingers of a prosthetic, robotic hand with the aid of an implanted device that delivers feedback to the remaining nerves in the man’s arm. The robotic hand, developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, adds to remarkable recent advances in prosthetics that can convey sensation. In addition, at Case Western Reserve University, researchers are testing an implant that delivers various sensations to 20 spots on a prosthetic hand.

Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitor FDA approved for pediatric use (MedGadget)
The Dexcom G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitor has won approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use by children as young as two years. The sensor of the device can be placed either on the abdomen or the upper buttock area and worn for up to seven days of continuous monitoring. The sensor wirelessly communicates with the display unit that shows glucose trends, can recall historical glucose readings, and warn of dangerous sugar levels. A video demonstrating the device is included.

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