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Today's Top Medical Stories - March 27, 2014

Some high tech assistance for giving up alcohol. And new clues about the development of autism.
Some high tech assistance for giving up alcohol. And new clues about the development of autism.

Researchers have new evidence autism begins during pregnancy. That's when a baby's brain develops different layers, with specific functions. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds autistic children show a defect in the layers, indicating development is disrupted before birth. The findings could help scientists working on early childhood treatments.

Stress is often a cause of headaches, but it turns out stress reduction can be an even bigger trigger. Research in the journal neurology finds that when a day of high stress is followed by a day of relaxation, migraine patients are more likely to get a headache. The findings highlight the importance of stress management for people prone to migraines.

And a smartphone app may help alcoholics as they go through recovery. A study in JAMA psychiatry followed hundreds of  alcoholics after treatment. About half were given an experimental app that sent phone alerts when patients were near high risk locations - including bars. Patients using the app were more likely to abstain from alcohol.


(Alexis Christoforous, CBS News)

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