In brief: USDA unveils plan to fight salmonella
Washington – The U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a new plan Wednesday to reduce the number of salmonella outbreaks linked to meat and poultry.
The effort comes weeks after Foster Farms chicken was found to have sickened at least 389 people nationwide with a virulent strain of salmonella found to be resistant to some antibiotics.
An estimated 1.3 million Americans are sickened by the bacteria each year.
Included in the new plan is a controversial rollout of a pilot program that would speed up poultry processing lines and replace some USDA inspectors with plant employees.
Study finds oxytocin affects autistic children
New Haven, Conn. – Oxytocin, the “cuddle” hormone that makes mothers’ milk flow, men faithful to their mates and even tough negotiators more trusting, also makes children with autism more attuned to social cues in others, a new study says.
The study found that compared to autistic children who got a placebo nasal spray, autistic children who got a puff of oxytocin up the nose responded to pictures of people’s faces with greater activation in their brains’ “social circuits” and in the regions key to reward and motivation. When an autistic child got oxytocin and was asked to identify images of socially neutral things such as cars and trucks, activity in these social and motivation brain regions were notably less active than they were in those on the placebo.
The study, conducted by researchers at Yale University, was published this week in the journal PNAS.
Naturally conceived identical triplets born
Sacramento, Calif. – A couple has given birth to a rare set of naturally conceived identical triplets at a Northern California hospital, doctors said.
The Sacramento Bee reported that Abby, Brin and Laurel Hepner were born Nov. 22 at Sutter Memorial Hospital to Hannah and Tom Hepner, of Quincy. The triplets were produced when a single, fertilized egg split into three.
Dr. William Gilbert, director of Sutter Women’s Services, said the odds of producing identical triplets without fertility drugs range from one in 1 million to one in 100 million.
Abby weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Brin 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and Laurel 4 pounds.
The triplets are still in the hospital until they can maintain body temperature and eat properly.