Health Report: MERS More Contagious; Autism Risk Likely Inherited; Schizophrenia And Genes

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Scientists said that the deadly new disease called “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome”, or MERS, may be more easily transmittable than they first thought.

The convention wisdom is still that the virus responsible for MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, is only transmitted through physical contact, but there’s new evidence it could be airborne as well.

Scientists in Saudi Arabia recently found the Coronavirus in the air at a camel barn where a camel had died of MERS earlier in the day.

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A new in-depth study of autism concluded that a little more than half of a person’s risk for autism comes from inherited genes.

The research was published this week in the journal “Nature Genetics,” and it found that it’s not just one gene, or even a hundred that are responsible for autism.  The report found that there could be thousands of inherited genes that can all add up to increase a person’s risk.

Scientists were careful to caution that these genetic similarities only increase someone’s risk for autism – they don’t guarantee anything one way or the other.  Researchers are still working to figure out what the final trigger is that causes a person to become autistic.

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Autism research is still a work in progress, but when it comes to schizophrenia, things appear a lot more certain.

Scientists around the world studied the DNA of 150,000 people, and found  just over 100 genes that are linked to the disease.  Schizophrenia only affects about 1 percent of the population, however people who have a first-degree relative with schizophrenia – like a mother or brother – are ten times more likely to become schizophrenic.

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