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Autism diagnoses increase, especially among Latinos

April 9, 2012

More children than ever before are being diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that impairs the brain’s ability to build communication and social skills, according to a report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism has been detected in about one in 88 children, a 23 percent increase from the CDC’s last count in 2006 and almost double the number of diagnoses found ten years ago.

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Obesity, diabetes in mothers linked to developmental delays

April 9, 2012

By Elise Craig

For years, obesity and autism have been on the rise. Now, a new study is providing evidence that maternal metabolic conditions like obesity and diabetes may be linked to developmental delays and autism.

Obese mothers are 1.66 times as likely to have a child with autism as normal weight mothers who do not have high blood pressure or diabetes, according to the study conducted by the UC Davis MIND Institute. They are also more than twice as likely to have a child with a second developmental disorder.

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Community comes together for troubled youth

April 8, 2012
Community comes together for troubled youth

By Lynn Graebner

On a 100-acre ranch in the foothills northeast of Salinas, 28 students, many of whom are on probation, are building a house. When it’s finished, it will shelter some of them from the violence in their own neighborhoods. This Youth Build project is one of the first steps in an extensive expansion of Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in Salinas. The nonprofit provides young people who are on probation, parole or are at risk of gang affiliation a chance to earn a high school diploma, get job training and a healthy dose of self esteem.

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Realignment results in lengthy jail sentences

April 5, 2012
Realignment results in lengthy jail sentences

By Minerva Perez

Jails were meant to hold people for short stays, but are now housing prisoners with sentences as long as 23 years, without the necessary resources for longer stays, such as medical care and other social services programs that help rehabilitate prisoners.

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Volunteers make a difference at free clinic

April 4, 2012
Volunteers make a difference at free clinic

By Suzanne Potter

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine is the only free clinic in the entire Coachella Valley. “We’re kind of the safety net underneath all of the other safety nets,” explains Executive Director Bruce Yeager.

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Report: More pediatric drug studies needed

April 4, 2012
Report: More pediatric drug studies needed

By Mary Flynn

Laws intended to help our understanding of how drugs affect kids have improved our knowledge, but room for improvement remains, according to a recent Institute of Medicine report.

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Video observation helps TB-stricken stick with meds

April 3, 2012
Video observation helps TB-stricken stick with meds

By Julissa McKinnon

Now that Sayuri Linet Salazar is feeling healthy again, the 19-year-old admits she’s sometimes tempted to abandon the time-consuming treatment for her tuberculosis. The college student of Ensenada, Mexico said she’s grown tired of planning her life around medication. Researchers at UC San Diego hope that a new video tool they are developing prevents patients like Salazar from defecting treatment by making it more convenient for doctors to monitor their medical intake.

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State launches smaller program for adult day health care

April 3, 2012

Monday’s launch of California’s new, smaller adult day health care program unleashed an emotional torrent of relief and anger for thousands of current clients and their providers after more than a year of threatened closures, lawsuits, patient assessments, rushed timelines and maddening uncertainty. Over the weekend, center administrators phoned frustrated clients still in limbo about their eligibility for the new Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) program, telling them “Stay home” or “Come in until further notice” after a contempt motion against the state aimed at including more patients into the program was postponed Friday. More than 80 percent of existing clients have been approved for the new program. Original estimates by the state were that just 50 percent would be found eligible.

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Budget cuts hit TB clinics at the border

April 2, 2012
Budget cuts hit TB clinics at the border

By Julissa McKinnon

Even though many Californians think of tuberculosis as a foreign problem, experts say the cough and sneeze-surfing bacteria remains a risk in the state.

In tight times the natural inclination is to cut budgets and look at other priorities,” said Dr. Kathy Moser, director of San Diego County’s TB control program. “But we’ve seen if there’s very little focus on an infectious, airborne disease like TB, it can come back.”

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Community clinics ground zero for health care reform

April 2, 2012
Community clinics ground zero for health care reform

By Genevieve Bookwalter

Veronica Villalobos mans a desk in a crowded waiting room at St. James Health Center in San Jose. She’s looking for those whose low income — less than $699 per month for a single person — might qualify them for free medical care. Villalobos wants to find those patients. Her job as patient navigator is to sign them up with Valley Care—Santa Clara County’s newest program providing health insurance for the very poor.

The county’s first target? Patients with little money who don’t qualify for other public health programs. By county estimates, that includes about 23,500 residents.

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