New report sheds more light on autism

Babies later found to have autism reduced their eye contact with people by the time they were 6 months old, a finding that may lead to ways to identify the disorder earlier, researchers said. Almost 60 babies who were thought to be at high risk of autism were examined, as were 51 babies considered at low risk, according to the report released Wednesday by the journal Nature. Later, 13 children were diagnosed with autism.

Although a lack of eye contact is a hallmark of autism, it’s not known exactly when it begins to occur, wrote the study’s authors Warren Jones and Ami Klin of Emory University. The report suggests that although newborns don’t initially show any difference in looking directly at people’s eyes, changes occur from 2 months to 6 months of age. Babies who had the steepest declines in eye contact tended to have the most severe autism. One in 50 U.S. children are diagnosed with autism or a related disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in March.

— Bloomberg News

U.S. must turn over Guantanamo reports

A U.S. military judge on Wednesday ordered the U.S. government to turn over confidential reports compiled by the International Committee of the Red Cross on conditions at the Guantanamo Bay prison, a disclosure the ICRC argued could compromise its global mission.

Army Col. James Pohl, presiding over the trial of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, said he will review the documents to see if any material might be useful to the defense lawyers preparing for a trial at the U.S. base in Cuba.

The judge, who held a hearing on the issue in June, issued a written order that rejected prosecutors who said they should be able to see the material first as well as the argument from the Red Cross that the files must remain confidential.

— Associated Press

Senator sets new rules after plagiarism claims

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is instituting new approval and citation rules for his staffers and researchers in the face of accusations that he plagiarized material from several sources for speeches, a newspaper column and his book.

An adviser confirmed the move as Paul looks to stem the fallout, which includes the Washington Times canceling his column.

Paul initially tried to downplay revelations first reported by MSNBC that he had used material from Wikipedia to describe the plot of a sci-fi movie in a recent speech. Since then, more accusations have surfaced about his writings having similar or identical language to other publications without attribution.

In an e-mail Wednesday, Paul adviser Doug Stafford said the senator “relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes — some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly.”

Stafford said Paul’s office now plans to make footnotes available on request and will seek to make attribution to other people’s work more complete.

— Associated Press