Some people with autism or intellectual disabilities seek euthanasia, researchers say

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“There is no doubt in my mind that these people were suffering.”

Some people who have been legally euthanized in the Netherlands in recent years have cited autism or intellectual disability as the only reason or a major reason for requesting euthanasia, saying they cannot lead a normal life.

The findings were published last month by researchers at Britain’s Kingston University, who reviewed documents released by the Dutch government’s euthanasia review board, relating to 900 of the estimated 60,000 people killed on their own request between 2012 and 2021.

iStock/Getty Images Plus

iStock/Getty Images Plus

Most of these 900 people were older and suffered from diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and ALS. But the group also included five people under the age of 30, “who cited autism as either the sole reason or a major contributing factor to euthanasia,” the Associated Press reported. Thirty of the people included loneliness as a cause of their unbearable pain, and eight said that “the only causes of their suffering were factors related to their intellectual disability or autism – social isolation, lack of coping strategies or inability to adjust their way of thinking.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these people were in pain,” said Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, a palliative care specialist who led the research. “But is society really okay with sending this message, that there’s no other way to help them and it’s better to be dead?”

In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia. Other countries, including Belgium, Canada and Colombia, have also adopted the practice, but the Netherlands is the only country “that shares detailed information about potentially controversial deaths”, according to the Associated Press.

New law gives more ‘accommodations’ to pregnant and postpartum workers

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect Tuesday, with about 2.8 million pregnant and postpartum workers a year set to benefit from the policy change, NBC News reported.

The law, which was signed into law by President Biden in December, requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to workers who need them. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, examples of possible accommodations include flexible hours, closer parking, and “being excused from strenuous activities and/or exposure to health-hazardous chemicals. pregnancy”.

The new law does not guarantee paid parental leave, and employers can refuse to provide accommodations if they can prove that the accommodations present an “undue hardship” to their business operations.

Malaria has spread locally in the United States for the first time in 20 years

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Health Alert Network health advisory on Monday about cases of malaria in Florida and Texas, marking the first time in 20 years in the United States that the disease has spread through locally acquired cases, the Associated Press reported.

The CDC said there was no evidence to suggest the cases in the two states were linked. The Florida Department of Health issued a statewide mosquito-borne illness advisory after four residents of Sarasota County, which sits along the state’s Gulf Coast, reportedly received treatment and recovered from the disease, with the first case reported in late May. A case has also been reported in Cameron County, Texas, which sits along the Gulf Coast at the southern end of the state.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is spread through the bites of Anopheles mosquitoes, not through person-to-person contact. Symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, nausea and vomiting, and headache. About 2,000 cases of malaria in the United States are diagnosed each year, but the majority of these cases are in travelers from countries where malaria is commonly spread.

Children should read as many hours a week for ‘optimal’ results, study finds

Peter Cade/Getty Images

Peter Cade/Getty Images

A study of more than 10,000 children in the United States found that those who read for pleasure at a young age also performed better in school and on mental health assessments in adolescence.

The study published Wednesday by researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick in the United Kingdom, and Fudan University in China, compared children who read for pleasure before the age of 9 with children who started doing it later, if at all. They found This children who started reading for pleasure earlier performed better in school and on tests measuring verbal learning, memory and speech development in adolescence.

They also slept longer and tended to use screens less, and “had better mental well-being, showing fewer signs of stress and depression, as well as improved attention and fewer behavioral issues such as aggression and breaking rules,” PA Media reported.

“Reading is not just an enjoyable experience – it’s widely believed to inspire thinking and creativity, increase empathy and reduce stress,” said Professor Barbara Sahakian from the University’s Department of Psychiatry. of Cambridge. “But on top of that, we found significant evidence that it’s linked to important developmental factors in children, improving their cognition, mental health and brain structure, which are building blocks for learning. and future well-being.”

For “optimal” results, the researchers concluded that children should read for pleasure about 12 hours a week.

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