Today in Research: Reaching a New High for Autism Diagnoses

Discovered: The first image of one billion stars, a new high for Autism diagnoses, some fishing advice, and Lucy's cousins.

  • A new high for Autism diagnoses. A 25 percent increase from the last estimate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates one in 88 children has autism. That's high. Researchers aren't clear why the prevalence of the disease continues rising, but could have something to do with better awareness and therefore detection. "Doctors have gotten better at diagnosing the condition and communities have gotten better at providing services, so I think we can say it is possible that the increase is the result of better detection," explained CDC Director Thomas Frieden. One thing we can say for sure, though, it does not have much of anything to do with vaccines. [Reuters]
  • Lucy had some cousins. We're talking about Lucy the early human-relative, that was something of a half-man half-ape creature who lived 3.2 million years ago. Science now believe Lucy wasn't the only in-between species living around that time, based on the discovery of a foot bone. "The Burtele partial foot clearly shows that at 3.4 million years ago, Lucy's species, which walked upright on two legs, was not the only hominin species living in this region of Ethiopia," explained researcher Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie. "Her species co-existed with close relatives who were more adept at climbing trees, like 'Ardi's' species, Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived 4.4 million years ago," he continued. [Cleveland Museum of Natural History]

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