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  • Updated: January 25, 2014 - 11:45 PM
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Say something short here here A one-day-old baby boy’s heel is pricked for blood during a phenylketonuria (PKU) test at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. A critical safety net for babies _ that heelprick of blood taken from every newborn _ is facing an ethics attack. States increasingly are storing the leftover blood samples for later medical research, often without parents’ knowledge or consent _ prompting lawsuits in two states and work in many others to give parents a greater say. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Blood test for disabilities in infants

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared a first-of-a-kind blood test that can help diagnose mental disabilities in babies by analyzing their genetic code. The laboratory test from Affymetrix detects variations in patients’ chromosomes that are linked to Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome and other developmental disorders. About 2 to 3 percent of U.S. children have an intellectual disability, the NIH said. The test, known as the CytoScan Dx Assay, is designed to help doctors diagnose disabilities earlier and get them appropriate care and support. It is not intended for prenatal screening. Currently, hospitals in all 50 states are required to screen newborns for at least 29 disorders that can be detected though lab testing, including sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. Generally those tests pickup irregularities in metabolism, not genetic variations.

mental decline is tied to drinking

Middle-aged men who consume an average of more than 2½ alcoholic drinks per day accelerate the rate at which their memories decline by almost six years over a 10-year span, said a study in the journal Neurology. Compared with men who drank no more than 1½ drinks per day on average (up to 19.9 grams daily), those who daily drank 36 grams or more of alcohol during a 10-year stretch of their late 40s, 50s and early 60s experienced 2.4 more years of cognitive decline in the decade that followed. Compared with lighter drinkers, middle-aged women who drank heavily — an average daily consumption exceeding 1½ drinks per day — suffered a speedier decline in their ability to plan, organize and focus, but not in their memory, the study found. But women who had abstained from alcohol for a decade or more suffered the greatest loss of cognitive function of all groups in the following decade, the research found. The findings come from a 20-year study — the Whitehall study — that tracked more than 7,000 British civil servants.

weightlifting to prevent diabetes

Women might consider aiming for those Kelly Ripa sculpted muscles — it’s not just jogging that will keep Type 2 diabetes at bay. The benefits of aerobic exercise such as running and swimming to help prevent Type 2 diabetes have been established, but with a study of 99,316 women ages 36 to 81, researchers say that weightlifting and other muscle-strengthening exercise including yoga were associated with lower levels of the disease. That doesn’t mean you should hang up your running shoes. Women who did at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week and at least an hour a week of muscle-strengthening exercise were a third as likely to develop diabetes as inactive women, the researchers , who were from several institutions including Harvard, wrote in the online journal PLOS Medicine.

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  • In this TV publicity image released by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, co-host Kelly Ripa, right, poses with her wax likeness which was debuted during a broadcast of "Live! with Regis and Kelly," Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in New York. The wax figure will be displayed at Madame Tussauds New York. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC Domestic Television)

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