As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaverstateturnssymbol

OHSU Takes a Bite Out of Autism

The Oregon Health and Sciences University has released a study that identifies a total of 27 genes that, if mutated, could lead to autism. After approaching 2,500 parents and comparing the genes of their autistic children with their unaffected siblings, they were able to hone in on the problem genes. Researchers say this is a big step forward as they now believe approximately 400 genes could be linked to autism, while just a decade ago no one working in the field would have guessed that many of these had an association.

Eventually scientists hope studies like this will help illuminate the underlying causes of autism, possibly even leading to gene therapy. In the meantime, people will have to just rely on conspiracy theories involving vaccine-blame.

The Ebolarama: Pacific Northwest Edition

A woman from [city] who is now in [a city near here] has been quarantined over a possible Ebola infection, as she recently had visited [insert Ebola outbreak country here]. Doctors say there is no risk to the public and that she had not tested positive for Ebola; however, who the hell is going to believe that? Personally, I’m going to hit the big grocery stores to stock up on bottled water and cans of delicious Progresso soup, likely the macaroni and bean, if I can find it. Damn, that stuff is good. And maybe some industrial-sized cans of chocolate pudding.

Brittany Maynard Goes On Her Own Terms

In a rare bit of news that deserves no snark, brave Oregonian and firebrand in the right-to-die debate, Brittany Maynard, took her own life this past weekend.  The 29 year old was suffering from terminal brain cancer, and her desire to take advantage of Oregon’s Death With Dignity statute and take her own life pumped a never ending debate back up to the top of the headlines nationwide when she and her husband moved to Oregon specifically for this purpose. In recent days she had indicated she might delay the date, as she was reportedly feeling better than expected physically, but nin the end she stuck to her original plan and passed on November 1 at home surrounded by the people she loved. Oregon broke new ground by becoming the first state to allow doctors to prescribe life ending medication for patients. Maynard is survived by her husband, Dan Diaz.

Oregon Homeless Population Plummets

According to a report released last week from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of folks without a home in Oregon has dropped by 38%. In fact, our homeless rate was at an all-time high in 2010. According to the numbers, since then 7,000 people who were without shelter now have a roof to look up to at night. This still leaves about 12,000 out in the cold, but I’d say that’s one hell of a start. Now that we know the ball on this issue can be pushed, it may be easier to increase support for homeless aid organizations, programs, etc., and continue to push it the rest of the way.