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Can a common hormone prevent unborn babies from developing autism?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), both conditions that are neurodevelopmental in origin, may share some similar molecular vulnerabilities, according to a new rodent study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. When researchers from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Ill., exposed pregnant rats to alcohol, they found their offspring experienced symptoms of social impairment and altered-levels of genes that have been previously linked to autism in humans. “The novel finding here is that these two disorders share molecular vulnerabilities, and if we understand those, we are closer to finding treatments,” Eva Redei, the senior author of the study and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release. Furthermore, study authors found that when the pregnant, alcohol-exposed rats were given low doses of the thyroid hormone thyroxin, they were able to lessen some of the effects of alcohol damage and reverse the expression of autism-related genes in offspring. Though more research needs to be done, Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor for FoxNews.com, hopes these findings will lead researchers to explore the potential for thyroxin to be utilized in patients who are at risk for having an autistic child. “We’re still poor at identifying patients at risk for autism, but now we now there is family history, sibling history and some genetic deletions strongly associated with autism,” Alvarez said. “One could argue that perhaps in patients at risk for having an autistic child, after more human studies, the prophylactic use of thyroxin can help prevent the neural behavioral changes of autism.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/14/link-between-fetal-alcohol-syndrome-and-autism-spectrum-disorder-may-point-to/

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Chef Lidia Bastianich on why eating lunch is so important

Most people know that following the Mediterranean diet is one of the best ways to gain health benefits, because of the lean proteins, vegetables and olive oil it contains. But there’s another tradition we should be taking from that region: eating a proper lunch. Lidia Bastianich, executive chef and co-owner of the marketplace Eataly in New York City, spoke with Dr. Manny Alvarez about the importance of the afternoon meal. “I think that lunch is one of the most enjoyable and important things in the day,” Bastianich said. “But you need to create the space and the time to do just that.  And in Italy we do that.” Bastianich said it’s important to treat breakfast like a “king,” lunch like a “prince,” and dinner like a “pauper,” meaning portion sizes for each meal should decrease throughout the day.   For Italians, lunch time servings are often filled with different types of pasta. “I think that's a great time to eat pasta,” Bastianich said. “You know if…at night, you have a big bowl of pasta, then a steak…that doesn't work because that's not in balance.” She also said it’s important to savor the foods you eat during lunch and take the time to focus on the meal. “If we don't focus on when we eat – like let’s say we watch television or something – you eat much more.  If you focus on the food – you smell it, you cook it – you're enjoying it already.” In order to bring the feel of an Italian lunch to Americans, Bastianich has opened a new restaurant called Pranzo, which is located inside Eataly in New York.  It offers a quick, wholesome meal for lunchtime. “Every month the menu reflects one of the regions of Italy, so all of the recipes are of that region,” Bastianich said. “ And they are made with that kind of Italian flavor and the portions are just right for lunch -- and the price is right too.” For more go to EatalyNY.comsource : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/03/chef-lidia-bastianich-on-why-eating-lunch-is-so-important/

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