Do autistics struggle with driving?

Do autistics struggle with driving

In the first pilot study asking adults on the autism spectrum about their experiences with driving, researchers at Drexel University found significant differences in self-reported driving behaviors and perceptions of driving ability in comparison to non-autistic adults. As the population of adults with autism continues growing rapidly, the survey provides a first step toward identifying whether this population has unmet needs for educational supports to empower safe driving – a key element of independent functioning in many people’s lives.

“Previous research in my lab has included extensive research in driving capacity with people who have a variety of conditions such as multiple sclerosis or who had experienced traumatic brain injury,” said study co-author Maria Schultheis, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Drexel. “When we investigate whether and under what circumstances a condition or neurological difference might affect driving ability, as a standard starting point we want to go to individuals and find out from their perspective what problems they are having on the road, in their real-world experience. That question is pivotal to shape and inform the goals of long-term research – and is especially important when we turn to look at a developmental difference like autism, where there has been too little research to establish yet whether widespread driving difficulties exist.”

Only a few previous studies have examined driving ability in individuals with autism, and those studies focused on adolescents and new drivers rather than experienced adult drivers. These studies relied on parent surveys and evaluations of discrete aspects of driving performance. The new Drexel study, published early online this month in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, used a validated survey that has been extensively used in driving research, and asked adult licensed drivers on the autism spectrum to describe their first-hand, real-world driving experiences.

“We were beginning to see discussion in the research literature that aspects of autism spectrum disorders, such as neurocognitive challenges and social recognition difficulties, could make it likely that members of this population would experience significant challenges with driving,” said the study’s lead author Brian Daly, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology in Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences. “But that assumption hadn’t been studied in adult drivers, or based on the experiences of the drivers themselves – so these were the questions we explored.”

In this survey, adults with autism spectrum disorders reported earning their drivers’ licenses at a later age, driving less frequently and putting more restrictions on their own driving behaviors (such as avoiding driving on highways or at night), on average compared to non-autistic adults. The respondents with autism spectrum disorders also reported more traffic violations.

Because this pilot study was relatively small and based on self-reports of 78 ASD respondents and 94 non-ASD comparison participants, Schultheis and Daly noted that the differences they found were open to several possible interpretations. Autistic adults may have reported driving less often and restricting their behaviors out of self-awareness of actual difficulties or deficiencies in their driving. These difficulties and/or reduced driving exposure could also explain the higher rate of reported violations.

Alternatively, it is possible that the respondents on the autism spectrum were more honest in their answers, but no worse at driving than everyone else.

“In driving research, it’s well established that people have a positive bias when reporting their own driving skills,” said Schultheis. “Because the study relied on self-reported answers, we can’t rule out whether the respondents with autism were simply being more descriptive and honest about their difficulties than the control group.”

One intriguing finding that Daly and Schultheis noted was that the difficulties adults with autism reported were not clustered in any specific areas, such as problems related to social processing of other drivers’ or pedestrians’ expected behaviors, or difficulties with neurocognitive aspects of driving such as motion perception and reaction time.

“It suggests that the challenges these individuals are facing are more global than specific,” Daly said.

“This is such an important study,” said Paul Shattuck, PhD, an associate professor and director of the research program area in life course outcomes at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, who was not involved in conducting the study. “Cognitively-able adults on the autism spectrum face many barriers to full participation in society. Facilitating access to transportation options will increase the capacity for these adults to contribute to their communities.”

Daly and Schultheis are continuing to investigate driving behavior in adults with autism through further research, with funding from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, the first autism research center focused on a public health science approach. In the next phase of research, the team is using driving simulation in Schultheis’ lab to objectively capture aspects of actual driving performance in adults on the autism spectrum. Individuals interested in enrolling in these studies should contact

“This is a first step toward identifying, categorizing and quantifying challenges that may exist in this population,” Schultheis said. “What we find will help determine what needs there may be for interventions, from driver education programs to different kinds of training exposures.”

Source: eureka alert

Monsoon Special: Foods you should eat!

Monsoon Special Foods you should eat!

Eating right during the monsoons can be very tricky. The wrong kind of food could give you an upset tummy. But don’t worry. To make sure you have a healthy monsoon, here’s a list of foods you should include in your diet as well as tips on how to eat them.

Herbal teas: “Herbal teas like ginger or lemon tea is good for you especially during the monsoons, as it will keep the flu away,” says Namita Nanal, a Mumbai-based nutritionist. Try sipping on a cup or two of herbal tea everyday.

Fenugreek: During monsoons, our immunity lowers automatically and therefore our system finds it hard to digest food. “So include herbs like fenugreek (methi) and cumin seeds (jeera) that’ll help you digest food better during the rains

Garlic: Add a little bit of garlic to your soups, stir fries and curries to build up your immunity this monsoon. “Garlic helps you fight viral infections,” says Namita.

Turmeric: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric improves your immunity too. So include some in your food to keep that cold at bay.

Soups: Soups are a good way to get nutrition from veggies during monsoons “as they kill bacteria in them, making veggies safe to consume,” says holistic health guru, Mickey Mehta. Whip up interesting combinations like tomato and onion, potato and asparagus, carrot and chicken etc.

Moong dal: Opt for moong dal and masoor dal this rainy season. “These are not only a healthy source of protein but also of dietary fibre that aids digestion,” says Mickey.

Gourds: Vegetables like snake gourd, ash gourd, bitter gourd et al are extremely nutritious and are a much better option than salad leaves during the monsoons. “They are rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and manganese,” says Mickey.

Nachini: “Millets like jowar and nachini are rich in calcium,” says Mickey that helps fortify our system and keep monsoon-related infections away.

Source: Idiva

Top 5 Juices for Full Detox of Your Body

Top 5 Juices for Full Detox of Your Body

Liver detox and cleansing programs are necessary and beneficial for overall health as they help you get rid of all toxins and eliminate excess hormones accumulated in the body over a certain period of time.

Detoxification of the body with juices made out of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables is considered as the most effective way for cleansing the body from toxins.

The toxins are considered as chemicals with potentially harmful effects for your body. Remove toxins and poisons from your body and you will notice improvements in terms of better skin, improved digestion, healthy skin and hair.

All 5 juices are thyroid-friendly and efficient for boosting your immunity in short period.

The best results are achieved if the juices are consumed early in the morning on empty stomach. These juices are nutritional and healthy meals and they might even refresh you and keep you looking young and healthy.

Whether you are trying to drop some unwanted pounds or flush out unwelcome toxins, you need completely healthy liver to make that happen.

These juices are useful for protection of heart health as well as for boosting the immune system and increasing the energy level so you will not feel that much tired and exhausted.

They are significantly helpful for putting sugar cravings under control and prevention of many serious diseases and medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, constipation, hemorrhoids etc.

Being fully packed with essential vitamins,minerals and antioxidants, these healthy juices are important for proper hydration as well. They are good for speeding metabolism, burning fats and calories and healthy weight loss.

Choose the detox juice that works right for your, start your detox treatment and clear every cell from the body from toxins. You will feel better and your body will be thankful for that.

Source: healthy food style

Apple Cider Vinegar – Home Remedy for Acid Reflux


The apple cider vinegar is used very often as a preventive or a cure for many diseases and disorders. It is proven cure against many diseases such as:

  • acne,
  • allergies,
  • sinus infections,
  • high cholesterol,
  • flu,
  • candida,
  • contact dermatitis,
  • chronic fatigue,
  • sore throats,
  • arthritis,
  • gout and
  • acid reflux.

Many people today suffer from acid reflux (GERD). This is happening when the fluids from the stomach return in the oesophagus. In such fluids there is a pepsin, which digesting the proteins. There is also gastric acid which burns the walls of the esophagus causing heartburn.

The emergence of heartburn shouldn’t be a reason for panic unless it appears more than two times during the week. In such case there is a big probability that acid reflux has damaged the esophagus walls and this condition must be treated. If you are diagnosed with an acid reflux condition, you must treat it.

Antiacids are the best treatment against acid reflux because they act immediately. However, very often it happens that they only worsen the condition. This happens because the human body with present antiacids preventively produces more acids than usual. That’s why we must know that there are lot better home remedies which don’t act immediately, but solve the problem once and for all in a longer period.

Apple cider vinegar is the best recommendation by people who treat their acid reflux in a natural way. In fact it is cheaper than 5$ for a bottle, and is even less expensive than antiacids.

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

This is the way for preparing your home remedy for occasional emergence of acid reflux:

2 tablespoons dissolved in water are taken at least 3 times a day.
If the issue is treating a disease, you will need lot stronger ratio.
Known side effect of the use of apple cider vinegar are tongue scorching and the metallic – sour taste. The apple cider vinegar beside such taste still works remarkably in treating and healing of acid reflux.

In fact, there are many testimonials of the benefits of apple cider vinegar.

source: Health page


Dominican Republic to boost health sector with $100 million IDB loan

Dominican Republic to boost health sector with $100 million IDB loan

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $100 million loan to boost health care in the Dominican Republic through investments designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of spending in the sector and improving the quality of services aimed at the country’s poorest people. This financing is part of a credit line for investment projects that could be increased to as much as $300 million.

The goal is to improve service-management capability by expanding a results-based financing model to the “0” health region (Santo Domingo, Monte Plata and the National District). The program will benefit directly nearly 900,000 people of modest resources, who account for nearly 29 percent of the poor in the Caribbean nation.

This model of financing will enhance coverage and the quality of health care services in the Dominican Republic, with emphasis on primary level care and preventive care. An estimated 33 percent of ambulatory care in the Dominican Republic is delivered at this level, whereas the World Health Organization recommends that it should be around 80 percent. Additionally the financing will help improve the supervisory capacity of the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance, especially in the areas of regulation and health intelligence.

This operation is in line with the National Development Plan of 2010–2030 and the Multi-Year Public Sector Plan of 2013–2016. The main goals of the latter include providing universal access to health care, developing assistance networks and strengthening the supervisory role of the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance and regional health services, including guaranteed access to quality medicines and the consolidation of a health care information management system.

Source: caribbean news now

Iraq crisis hits medical tourism

Iraq crisis hits medical tourism

The crisis in Iraq is taking a toll on medical tourism with most hospitals reporting a slump in patients from West Asia. With the region contributing 25-35 per cent of international patients in cost intensive disciplines like cardiology, spinal injuries and oncology, experts say the sector could see a slump if the situation does not normalise.

Director of international business at the Rockland group of hospitals, Sunil Kapur, said, “There has been a dramatic drop in patients from not just Iraq, but also Syria and Iran. Where we would get five-eight patients every day, we are now getting one odd patient a week.”

Explaining that the hospital was “anticipating a drop in the coming days”, Anil Vinayak, director, sales and marketing, at Max Healthcare said, “We expect a drop in patients traveling from Iraq, if the situation does not improve soon. Patients are facing difficulty in getting flight tickets. Also, there are problems in getting a travel visa.”

Hospitals that have a tie-up with the government of West Asian countries and treat patients funded by the state, have been particularly affected. “We have a tie-up with the government of Iraq where patients are screened and sent to us and their treatment is funded by the state. With the conflict situation, there has been a sharp decline in the state-supported patients,” said Suchismita Roy, PR, Artemis Hospital.

Many hospitals say visa restrictions and security concerns in the region have forced them to stop sending Indian doctors there for periodical consultations. These outpatient consultations were used to acquaint the local population with Indian experts, and would help convince patients to travel to India for treatment. A senior administrative official at Fortis hospital confirmed that consultations of doctors in the region have been stopped from the first week of June.

Source: Indian Express

HRW Finds Toxic Lead Danger in Kenya

HRW Finds Toxic Lead Danger in Kenya

A Human rights organization says thousands of people in a poor district on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya, face serious health problems from toxic lead at a former battery recycling plant. The group says at least three workers at the smelter have died and more than 3,000 people are affected by contamination.

As Kenya hosts the first U.N. Environment Assembly attended by global environmentalists, government officials and lobby groups – a community in Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, is facing health and economic challenges from poisonous lead.

Speaking in Nairobi, Human Rights Watch senior environment researcher Jane Cohen said a whole community is under threat because Kenyan authorities have not acted to enforce the law.

“It should not go unnoticed that not far away from Nairobi, the situation in Owino Ohuru Community, which is a tragic example of what happens when economic development is unregulated,” said Cohen.

Lead Danger in Kenya,

Clean-up needed

At issue is a battery recycling plant that opened in 2007. The New York based Human Rights Watch says the plant closed its operations earlier this year and moved elsewhere, but the lead remains in the community and needs to be cleaned up by the government swiftly.

A former office worker at the plant, Phyllis Omido, started organizing protests and writing to relevant authorities asking to move the plant or shut it down.

She said she started her campaign after her son got sick and doctors confirmed he had lead poisoning, a devastating neurological illness that causes severe developmental problems in small children and broader health concerns in adults.

Omido said her campaign was able to prove the battery plant was the source of the contamination.

“We went to the government laboratory and convinced them to run [tests] on some of the children and we picked them randomly,” said Omido. “We could not afford it ,so we took three children randomly from the community all of them tested very high lead levels. And that was in 2009 and we took this to government, the recommendation of the government laboratory that these children were exposed to lead poisoning.”

Human Rights Watch says a government investigation in 2009 found the battery plant had violated regulations. The smelter was briefly shutdown and reopened, but environmental activists say the problems were not addressed.

Former plant workers said they had no protective clothing or gear to deal with the poisonous lead.

Human Rights Watch notes Kenya has strong environmental laws to protect its citizens, but they need enforcement.

Source: all africa

Sunscreen that protects DNA from UV rays

Sunscreen that protects DNA from UV rays

The experiment at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory focused on thymine, one of four DNA building blocks.

Ever heard of a molecular sunscreen? It is a defence mechanism that the molecular building blocks that make up DNA mount to prevent the damage by ultraviolet rays, reveals new research.

The DNA forming molecules absorb ultraviolet light so strongly that sunlight should deactivate them. But a “relaxation response” protects these molecules and the genetic information they encode from UV damage, the researchers said.

The experiment at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory focused on thymine, one of four DNA building blocks.

Researchers hit thymine with a short pulse of ultraviolet light and used a powerful X-ray laser to watch the molecule’s response.

A single chemical bond stretched and snapped back into place within 200 quadrillionths of a second, setting off a wave of vibrations that harmlessly dissipated the destructive UV energy.

Researchers had noticed years ago that thymine seemed resistant to damage from UV rays in sunlight, which cause sunburn and skin cancer.

Theorists proposed that thymine got rid of the UV energy by quickly shifting shape.

But they differed on the details, and previous experiments could not resolve what was happening.

“As soon as the thymine swallows the light, the energy is funnelled as quickly as possible into heat, rather than into making or breaking chemical bonds,” said lead researcher Markus Guehr from Stanford University in the US.

“It is like a system of balls connected by springs; when you elongate that one bond between two atoms and let it loose, the whole molecule starts to tremble,” he explained.

The findings appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: Khaleej times

Prevent development of heart disease and cancer by eating cauliflower

Prevent development of heart disease and cancer by eating cauliflower

Delicious and nutritious vegetables that are easy to prepare in different ways and there’s a market almost throughout the year.

Head (rose, lump) cauliflower, depending on the variety and growing conditions, it can be bigger or smaller, less firm and compact, usually ribbed and grained, cream to yellow. It contains a lot of water (about 90%), and most of the nutrients have carbohydrates (4.9%), protein (2.4%), and some fat (0.2%), and no cholesterol.

There’s a lot of fiber. 100 g of raw cauliflower provide 23 calories and 10 calories cooked. Most of the vitamin is vitamin C (70 mg), and some of thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and some vitamin A. Contains some of the most prevalent minerals as potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. Cauliflower is vitamin food, as far as the content of vitamin C, as 100 g cauliflower contains more vitamin C than the RDA for this vitamin, briefly boiled cauliflower and still has about 55 mg of vitamin D, which is equal daily requirement of a healthy person . It can be eaten raw in salads (which keeps the maximum vitamin C), and if you cook it, it is best to briefly steaming which largely preserves beneficial substances that contain cauliflower.


  • -Prevent development of heart disease and cancer by eating cauliflower
  • -Reducing the risk of cancer, particularly cancer of the colon and stomach.
  • -According to research by the American Cancer Society for the fight against cancer, cauliflower and other vegetables from the family of cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, radishes), rich in vitamins A and C and fiber, may reduce the risk of cancers of the digestive and respiratory organs and the prostate. Cauliflower is even ranked highly on the list of the patron of cancer, according to estimations of experts from different countries. Scientists believe that the ingredients of cauliflower as indole and others, stimulate natural defenses and detoxification of the body, allowing it to neutralize or prevent carcinogenic substances that attack the tissue and turn it into a carcinogen. Since contains something carotene and chlorophyll, has some effect on the prevention of lung cancer, which are particularly exposed to smokers.

cauliflower 3

Protects against breast cancer
Cauliflower has estrogen activity – affects the levels of estrogen,female hormone, which plays a major role in the development of hormone dependent breast cancer. Women who regularly consume cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli) have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

There are studies that show that eating large amounts of cauliflower may help reduce fibrocystic breast changes. Acceleration of the metabolism of estrogen affect its removal from the body and prevents the growth of nodules.

Purifies the body
Content of a large number of antioxidants released organisms from harmful substances (detoxification) caused by bad food and the effects of harmful substances from the environment

Prevent development of cancer by eating cauliflower
It is rich in antioxidants that prevent cell mutations that can lead to cancer. Particularly examined the effect on colon cancer. Due to the content of dietary fiber reduces the effect of carcinogenic substances, antioxidants and other anticancer substances (especially indole) reduces cell proliferation and the formation of polyps that lead to colon cancer. By eating cauliflower can prevent the onset of polyps and cancer.

Reduces cholesterol
A good source of soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol absorption and its level in the blood. Reduces atherosclerosis, decrease the risk of heart disease, primarily heart disease and stroke.

The Fat loss Factor see here!!!
Other medicinal properties
Reduces damage to nerve cells and regular intake reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. It is beneficial in a number of inflammatory diseases, rheumatism and asthma. It contains a lot of potassium and if consumed without salt effect on blood pressure.

There is plenty of calcium and bone strength gives. Favorable ratio of phosphorus and calcium, with low sodium to calcium absorption and preventing osteoporosis. It has a low calorific value, and long to digest and is recommended for people who want to lose weight.

Prolonged cooking destroys some pharmaceutical properties of cauliflower. Eat it raw, partially cooked or stored in a microwave oven. Cauliflower can exacerbate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease patients.

Source: secretly healthy

Playing puzzle games can improve mental flexibility!

playing puzzle games can improve mental flexibility 2

Playing games are often tied with negative connotation. Many consider it as a waste of time.

However, that might not be the case anymore.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) study released said playing puzzle games actually improve adults’ executive functions.

Conducted by by Assistant Professor Michael D. Patterson and his PhD student, Mr Adam Oei, it is found that adults who play the physics-based puzzle game regularly, for as little as an hour a day, had improved executive functions. These functions in one’s brain are important for making decisions in everyday life when having to deal with sudden changes in the environment.

playing puzzle games can improve mental flexibility 1

In the study, four different mobile games were tested: a first-person shooter (Modern Combat); arcade (Fruit Ninja); real-time strategy (StarFront Collision); and a complex puzzle (Cut the Rope). About 52 NTU undergraduates who were non-gamers were selected to play an hour a day, five days a week on their iPhone or iPod Touch devices. This exercise lasted for four weeks, or a total of 20 hours.

After the gaming exercise, the study found that players of Cut the Rope could switch between tasks 33 per cent faster, were 30 per cent faster in adapting to new situations, and 60 per cent better in blocking out distractions and focusing on the tasks at hand than before training.

The statement added the three tests to measure one’s executive functions were done a week after the undergraduates had finished playing their assigned game. This was to ensure the findings were not temporary gains due to motivation or arousal effects, it said.

playing puzzle games can improve mental flexibility

“This finding is important because previously, no video games have demonstrated this type of broad improvement to executive functions, which are important for general intelligence, dealing with new situations and managing multitasking,” said Asst Prof Patterson.

“This indicates that while some games may help to improve mental abilities, not all games give you the same effect. To improve the specific ability you are looking for, you need to play the right game,” Mr Oei added.

So yes, you can go ahead and play your games because apparently, they make you smarter.

Source: Vulcan post