Stories about: insurance

A better genetic test for autism

Very high-resolution microarrays such as this one, capable of spotting very small missing or extra pieces of DNA, have only become available within the past few years. Image courtesy of Agilent Technologies.
Very high-resolution microarrays such as this one, capable of spotting very small missing or extra pieces of DNA, have only become available within the past few years. Image courtesy of Agilent Technologies.

The cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, is still a big mystery. While there’s clearly a genetic component, only 15 percent of people with autism have a known genetic cause. But researchers believe that a much larger percentage of autism can be chalked up to genetics. Now, Children’s Hospital Boston and Autism Consortium researchers have shown that a new genetic test, which samples the whole genome, may work three times better than standard tests.

Families expecting a child who have a family member with an ASD sometimes seek genetic testing to determine whether their baby is at risk.  In a child who’s already affected, genetic testing can explain why the child has autism and let the parents know how likely it is that other children in the family could inherit the genetic risk for autism.

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Insurance coverage for alternative therapies

24710045.thbAlternative medical practices, such as acupuncture and dietary supplements, have often been relegated to the fringe of established medicine. But some senators are pushing forward an amendment that could get alternative therapies covered by insurance.

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