In today's health news:
A new government survey says that one in 50 U.S. children have autism—a proportion much higher than previous estimates have shown. ABC News reports that this most recent CDC survey doesn't necessarily mean autism is occurring more often, but it's being diagnosed more frequently—and in kids who may have milder issues. The definition of autism has changed as well, evolving from a serious condition that includes dramatic social and intellectual problems, to a more all encompassing condition.
Every minute, a poison control center gets a call about a potential medicine poisoning for a child age 5 and under. CBS news reports according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit advocacy group, children get into the wrong medicine or wrong dose about 500,000 times each year. Safe Kids attributes this increase in accidents to a larger amount of medications in the home.
Sugary sodas get criticism from health officials once again, as new research links 180,000 deaths across the globe to sugary beverages. Time Magazine reports that while sodas have been connected to heart disease and diabetes, this most recent study is the first to "quantify deaths correlated with sugared drinks worldwide."
Speaking of sugary drinks, Monster energy drink is making the switch from "dietary supplement" to actual "beverage," a name change (and packaging change) that will alter the way in which it's regulated. The New York Times reports that Monster will no longer be required to tell regulators about reports that link its products to deaths and injuries—but the new cans will display caffeine content for the first time. This change comes in the midst of continued controversy over energy drinks high levels of caffeine and their possible health risks.
Right now, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. If there isn't a major medical breakthrough, almost 14 million people could have the disease by 2050. NBC News reports that an increasing number of people will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's as the "baby boomer" generation ages.