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Autism therapy for babies

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            HEALTH TIPS - Monday, April 2, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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            Autism therapy for babies

SAN FRANCISCO, -- Convinced earlier is better in autism 
treatments, researchers are trying out therapeutic strat-
egies in tots younger than 2. University of Washington 
psychology professor Geraldine Dawson is testing an inten-
sive two-year program for autistic toddlers as young as 18 
months, to determine whether very early focus on social en-
gagement can alter the course of their cognitive develop-
ment so that it more closely resembles the norm.  Among a 
handful of treatments for tykes so young, the method 
requires 25 hours to 30 hours a week of cognitive and motor
skills training, grounded in activities that engage the 
child with the parent through such perennial baby pleasers 
as "patty cake." Dawson previously found under normal circ-
umstances, by 7 months or 8 months an infant's brain waves 
register distinctions between two speech sounds and between 
familiar and unfamiliar faces. The feature is still missing 
in autistic children by 3 or 4. She blames the social void 
of autism. Playtime with parents provides the framework for
baby babbles to turn into more sophisticated speech, studies
have indicated. 

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      Foreign nurses finding work in U.S.

WASHINGTON, -- Census figures show an increasing number of 
foreign-trained nurses are leaving their native countries to
work in the United States. In 1990, foreign-trained nurses 
made up 8.8 percent of all new registered nurses in the 
United States. By 2000, that number had jumped to 15.2 
percent. The report, published in the American Journal of 
Public Health, says 21 percent of foreign-trained registered
nurses originated from poor countries, especially Africa.
"The prospect for higher wages overseas attracts talented 
local workers to the field of nursing, which may increase 
local and worldwide nursing supply," the study's authors 

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      Cellular discovery could aid liver repair

SAN DIEGO, -- U.S. researchers say they've found a cellular 
receptor that could help in early interventions or therapy 
in liver disease. The report, published in the journal 
Science, says the cellular receptor is involved in trigger-
ing cell death, which is a necessary component of tissue 
repair and regeneration immediately following liver injury.
Katerina Akassoglou, Ph.D. assistant professor in the 
University of California San Diego's Department of Pharma-
cology, and colleagues describe the mechanism by which cells 
associated with liver damage -- called hepatic stellate 
cells or HSCs -- are activated by a cell surface molecule 
called the p75 neurotrophin receptor, p75NTR, to promote 
repair in the liver. "Many therapeutics for liver disease 
target HSCs in order to kill them, but our study in animal 
models found that their initial activity could actually be 
protective," Akassoglou said in a release.

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