Some people with autism, intellectual disabilities are seeking euthanasia, researchers find

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“There is no question that these people are suffering.”

Some people who have been legally euthanized in the Netherlands in recent years cited autism or intellectual disability as the sole or main reason for seeking euthanasia, saying they could not live a normal life.

The findings were published last month Researchers at Britain’s Kingston University who reviewed documents released by the Dutch government’s euthanasia review committee related to 900 of the nearly 60,000 people who were euthanized at their own request between 2012 and 2021.

iStock/Getty Images Plus

iStock/Getty Images Plus

Most of these 900 people were elderly and had conditions 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 significant factor for euthanasia.” reported the Associated Press. Thirty of the people cited loneliness as the cause of their unbearable pain, and eight said that “the only causes of their suffering were factors related to their mental disability or autism – social isolation, lack of coping strategies or inability to change their thinking.”

“There is no doubt that these people are suffering,” said Irene Tuffrey-Wijne, an expert in palliative care who led the study. “But is it really okay for society to send this message that there’s no other way to help them and it’s 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.

The new law provides more “accommodation places” for pregnant and postpartum workers

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

The Fairness for Pregnant Workers Act went into effect Tuesday, and an estimated 2.8 million pregnant and postpartum workers are expected to benefit from the policy change a year. This was reported by NBC News.

The law, signed 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 “relief from strenuous activity and/or exposure to chemicals that are unsafe during pregnancy.” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The new law does not guarantee paid parental leave, and employers can refuse an accommodation if they can demonstrate that the accommodation will cause an “undue hardship” to their business.

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

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iStock/Getty Images Plus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory on Monday linked to cases of malaria in Florida and Texas, the first time in 20 years that the disease has spread locally through cases of infection in the United States, reported the Associated Press.

The CDC said there was no evidence that the cases in the two states were linked. Florida Department of Health issued a statewide mosquito-borne disease advisory, when four residents in Sarasota County, located on the state’s Gulf Coast, reportedly received treatment and recovered from the disease, with the first case reported in late May. The case was also reported in Cameron County, Texas, located in the southernmost tip of the state on the Gulf Coast.

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

Children should read this many hours a week for “optimal” results, research says

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 fun at a young age also performed better in school and on mental health assessments as teenagers.

Research published on Wednesday Researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Warwick in Great Britain and Fudan University in China compared children who read for pleasure before the age of 9 with children who started reading later or not at all. They found that Children who started reading for fun earlier in their teens did better in academic performance and in tests measuring the development of verbal learning, memory and speech.

They also slept longer and used less screens, and “had better mental well-being, Fewer signs of stress and depression, improved attention span and fewer behavioral problems such as aggression and rule breaking. The matter was reported by PA Media.


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