HomeHealthSome people with autism and intellectual disabilities seek euthanasia, researchers find

Some people with autism and intellectual disabilities seek euthanasia, researchers find

Here are the week’s top health news stories from Yahoo News partners.

“I have no doubt that these people suffered.”

Some people legally euthanized in the Netherlands in recent years cited autism or intellectual disability as the only reason or a major reason for requesting euthanasia, saying they could not live a normal life.

The findings were published last month by researchers from Britain’s Kingston University, who examined documents released by the Dutch government’s euthanasia committee, covering 900 of the nearly 60,000 people killed at their own request between 2012 and 2021.

iStock/Getty Images Plus

iStock/Getty Images Plus

Most of those 900 people were older and had conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s and ALS. But the group also included five people under the age of 30, “who cited autism as the sole reason or as a major factor for euthanasia,” the Associated Press reported. Thirty of the people cited loneliness as the cause of their agony, and eight said that “the only causes of their suffering were factors related to their intellectual disability or autism – social isolation, a lack of coping strategies or an inability to cope with their thinking about adapting. .”

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“I have no doubt that these people were suffering,” said Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, a palliative care specialist who led the study. “But is society really okay with sending this message, that there is no other way to help them and that it is just 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 provides more ‘accommodations’ for pregnant women and postpartum workers

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

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

The law, which was signed into law by President Biden in December, requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees who need them. Examples of possible accommodations include flexible hours, closer parking and “being exempt from strenuous activities and/or exposure to chemicals that are not safe for pregnancy,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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The new law does not guarantee paid parental leave, and employers can choose not to provide accommodations if they can demonstrate that accommodations impose an “unreasonable burden” on their operations.

Malaria spread locally in the US for the first time in two decades

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

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

The CDC said there is no evidence to suggest the cases in the two states are linked. The Florida Department of Health has issued an advisory about mosquito-borne illnesses after four residents of Sarasota County, on the state’s Gulf Coast, reportedly received treatment and recovered from the disease. The first case was reported at the end of May. A case was also reported in Cameron County, Texas, which is along the Gulf Coast at the southern tip of the state.

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

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For ‘optimal’ results, children should read that many hours per week, research says

Peter Cade/Getty ImagesPeter Cade/Getty Images

Peter Cade/Getty Images

A study of more than 10,000 children in the US found that those who read for pleasure at a young age also performed better in school and in mental health as teenagers.

The study, published Wednesday by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick in Britain and Fudan University in China, compared children who read for pleasure before age 9 with children who started reading later, or not at all. They found That Children who started reading for pleasure earlier performed better as teenagers in school and on tests that measure verbal learning, memory and speech development.

They also slept longer and used screens less often, and “had better mental well-being, showing fewer signs of stress and depression, as well as improved attention, and fewer behavioral problems such as aggression and rule breaking,” PA Media reported.

“Reading is not only an enjoyable experience; it is widely accepted that it stimulates thinking and creativity, increases empathy and reduces stress,” says Professor Barbara Sahakian of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. “But in addition, we found significant evidence that it is linked to important developmental factors in children, improving their cognition, mental health and brain structure, which are the cornerstones of future learning and well-being.”

For ‘optimal’ results, researchers concluded that children should read for pleasure about twelve hours every week.

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