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Health Highlights: April 2, 2012

Autism Services Lacking in Many Areas of U.S.: Survey Ad Campaign Spurs Large Rise in Calls to Quit Smoking Line

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Autism Services Lacking in Many Areas of U.S.: Survey

Many American families coping with autism say they don't have adequate medical or support resources where they live, according to the nonprofit advocacy group Autism Speaks.

The group's 2011 social media survey of 848 members of the autism community across the United States found that 74 percent of respondents were unhappy with the autism services in their area, while only 26 percent were generally happy, CBS News reported.

The greatest numbers of negative responses came from people in Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and California. The survey also showed that the top 10 metropolitan areas for autism services were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Boston, Northern New Jersey, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle and Milwaukee.

"These survey results confirm what we hear every day from families -- that they are struggling to get their children services that are essential to their development and well-being," said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, CBS News reported.

The results are likely to be much the same in this year's survey due out in the fall, according to Peter Bell, executive vice president of programs and services at Autism Speaks.


Ad Campaign Spurs Large Rise in Calls to Quit Smoking Line

A new U.S. government anti-smoking campaign featuring graphic images of diseased smokers led to a huge increase in the number of people calling a toll-free number to help them quite smoking.

The 1-800-QUIT-NOW line received more than 33,000 calls last week, which was the first week of the $54-million, 12-week ad campaign. The phone line received less than 14,500 calls the previous week, the Associated Press reported.

The volume of calls last week was the highest in the seven-year history of the federally-sponsored quit line, which provides counseling and information about how to quit smoking.

Officials also said the number of clicks to the federal government's website increased from about 20,000 to about 60,000 last week, the AP reported.


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