ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS
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ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS

 

RECENT RESEARCH

 

How Marijuana May Change Teen Brains
Teens often experiment with substances like marijuana, but abusing marijuana may pose a threat to memory abilities. A new study found that teens who used marijuana heavily had an oddly shaped hippocampus. Teens who were heavy marijuana users also performed poorly on memory tests. The authors of this study stopped short of saying that marijuana caused the changes but did note that the findings were suggestive. (Daily Rx, 3/12)
 
Who are the EHR non-adopters?
Although most practices have adopted some form of EHR, a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians discovered who makes up the corps of physicians who refuse to adopt EHRs. These physicians tend to be older and work in independent solo or two-physician practices, according to the AAFP. The survey included 3,437 physicians during two time periods and asked about EHR adoption plans. (Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review, 3/13)
 
Doctors not trained to spot sex trafficking victims
Most healthcare providers aren’t trained to recognize victims of sex trafficking - and many don’t realize that’s a problem, according to a new study. The researchers surveyed physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and patient and family advocates. More than 60 percent said they’d never been trained to recognize a victim of sex trafficking. (Reuters, 3/16)
 
Ultrasound can diagnose childhood pneumonia
Ultrasound, a diagnostic tool that avoids harmful radiation, has numerous medical applications. One of those is the diagnosis of lung disease. Thus, prompt diagnosis and treatment can save lives. A new study compared the effectiveness of lung ultrasound to a chest X-ray for the diagnosis of childhood pneumonia. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. (The Examiner, 3/16)
 
Young runners may have more PMS symptoms
Adolescent runners may be more likely to get PMS than those who don’t exercise, particularly if they are older when they first get their periods, a small study suggests. The findings contradict prevailing wisdom about PMS that recommends exercise to ease symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, bloating and mood swings. With just 125 participants, though, the study is too small to be the final word, write the researchers. (Reuters, 3/17)
 
Kids’ Bad Diets May Mean Worse Health as Adults
The overall heart health of U.S. children falls short, a new analysis suggests. Researchers found that while most of the nearly 9,000 children they studied had healthy blood pressure levels, 40 percent did not have good cholesterol levels, almost none ate a healthy diet regularly and 30 percent were overweight or obese. These findings may mean more children will face a future that will include heart disease if nothing changes. (HealthDay News, 3/17)
 
Salty snacks tied to higher blood pressure in youths
Eating a lot of salty snacks is tied to higher blood pressure in Italian middle school students, according to a new study. Eating lots of salt or sodium is a risk factor for high blood pressure, and the salt in the diets of children is increasing worldwide due to processed foods, researchers report.  “In our study, sodium intake from snacks represented almost half of the average daily consumption of sodium,” said author Simona Bo. (Reuters, 3/17)
 
Interventions Up Blood Culture Ordering in Pediatric Pneumonia
Interventions can increase blood culture ordering in children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), with no effect on length of stay (LOS), according to a new study. Researchers examined the impact of interventions to increase blood cultures in children hospitalized with CAP and found that the percentage of patients admitted with CAP who had blood cultures ordered increased from 53 to 100 percent. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/18)
 
Handheld Echocardiography Ups Rheumatic Heart Dz Detection
Handheld echocardiography (HAND) and auscultation improves detection of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) compared with auscultation alone, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Researchers examined the incremental value of HAND over auscultation for identifying RHD. A cohort of 4,773 schoolchildren in Uganda was screened for RHD. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/19)
 
Mother’s smoking may affect girls’ lifetime reproductive health
Girls whose mothers smoked while pregnant entered puberty at a younger age in a new Australian study. Since early menstruation is linked to higher risk of uterine, endometrial and breast cancers later in life, the researchers say that maternal smoking could set up daughters for health problems even before they’re born. (Reuters, 3/19)
 
Can Fish Oil Help Boys With ADHD Pay Attention?
 Boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and some vegetable oils, a small European study suggests. Those who regularly ate an omega-3-loaded margarine experienced an improvement in their ability to pay attention, compared with boys who did not, researchers report in Neuropsychopharmacology. (HealthDay News, 3/19)
 
Parents’ Attitude May Be Key to Pre-Game Jitters in Kids
Want your child to relax and perform well at that next swim meet? Try not to raise the bar too high in terms of your own expectations, a new study suggests. The study focused on athletes aged 6 to 18. The athletes and their parents were surveyed a day before a meet to determine how they were feeling about the upcoming contest, how the youngsters wanted to perform, and how parents expected their children to perform. (HealthDay News, 3/20)
 
Antidepressants have sexual side effects in teens, too
When teens take pills for depression and anxiety, doctors need to make sure they understand that sexual side effects are common with the drugs, a new paper advises. This particular sex talk is made even harder by the lack of studies exploring how common antidepressants impact libido, orgasm and ejaculation in young patients, the authors say. (Reuters, 3/23)
 
ADHD Children May Gain More From Family-Centered Care
For children with ADHD, receiving more family-centered, compassionate care may be more effective than standard care, a new study found. Researchers compared two types of “collaborative care,” in which special care managers act as intermediaries between a family and their child’s doctors. One approach was standard collaborative care while the other was “enhanced,” in which care managers received several days of training. (HealthDay News, 3/23)
 
Adopted Kids’ Average IQ Higher Than Non-Adopted Siblings: Study
Adopted children tend to have a slightly higher IQ than siblings who remained with their biological parents, a recent study found. The difference between siblings - equivalent to about four IQ points - appears to stem from higher average educational levels in adoptive parents, according to the researchers. However, this study was only designed to find an association between intelligence and adoption status rather than causality. (HealthDay News, 3/23)
 
How to induce kids to eat more fruits and veggies? Hire a chef
When it comes to making the good-for-you parts of school lunches delicious enough to actually eat, chefs really do earn their keep. That finding emerged from a trial designed to assess the relative contributions of two key factors -- taste and choice -- in improving school children’s’ lunchtime nutritional choices. You need both, the researchers found. But absent tasty food, choice alone is doomed to fail. (LA Times, 3/23)
 
Kids exposure to secondhand smoke tied to clogged arteries
In a Finnish study spanning 26 years, kids exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults than kids who were not exposed to secondhand smoke. These findings and others suggest the health effects of passive smoking on children are not limited to respiratory or developmental health, but can have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health. (Reuters, 3/23)
 
Study: Don’t sell energy drinks to kids
Energy drinks can be harmful to kids and adolescents, and should not be sold or marketed to children under 18, according to a new study by a consumer advocacy group. “Something needs to be done to reduce the dangers of these products to children,” says Jennifer Harris, a co-author of the study. “Companies say these products are safe to market and sell to children as young as 12, but the evidence says otherwise.” (USA Today, 3/24)
 
Young Pitchers Often Pressured to Play Despite Pain, Study Says
Young baseball players feel pressure from parents or coaches to continue playing despite arm pain, and many parents are unaware of guidelines to reduce injury risk, a pair of recent studies found. The studies are scheduled for presentation at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting. Out of 203 healthy players surveyed, just under one-quarter of them had experienced a prior overuse injury, they found. (HealthDay News, 3/24)
 
Survey: Doctors and Patients See Benefits in Mobile Apps
Nearly half of healthcare professionals say that they will introduce mobile apps to their practice in the next five year, according to the Research Now Group. The survey included 500 healthcare professionals and 1,000 health app users. The research found that 86 percent of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will increase their knowledge of patients’ conditions. (Healthcare Informatics, 3/24)
 
Adolescent Inpatients Gain Weight in Mental Health Facilities
Psychiatric patients are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and the poor health consequences that follow. For the most part, older patients develop metabolic syndrome, but adolescents with mental illness do, too. An article published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology reported on a prospective study of 120 Israeli day-clinic patients hospitalized more than 30 days and fewer than 365 days. (HCP Live, 3/25)
 
Mother’s support is vital for sexually abused children
Sexually abused children whose mothers believe them and offer comfort are less likely to suffer from anger and depression, according to a study. “Disclosing sexual abuse can be a very stressful process for a child, and the reactions of the child’s primary caregiver can play a key role in the child’s adjustment,” said lead author Kristyn Zajac. Researchers studied 118 pairs of children and mothers from a child advocacy center. (Reuters, 3/25)
 
Young people ‘happier and healthier,’ according to study
Young people are happier and healthier than their counterparts a decade ago, according to a major new study into the wellbeing of adolescents across Europe and North America. A new report, part of a collaboration with the WHO coordinated internationally by the University of St Andrews, sheds new light on the habits and happiness of 11 to 15 year-olds in over 40 different countries across a 16 year period (1994-2010). (Medical Xpress, 3/25)
 
Why Teens Are Getting Shut Out of the Workforce
The number of jobs held by teens between 14 and 18 years old shrank by 33 percent between 2001 and 2014, according to a study by CareerBuilder. The report, which examined data for nearly 800 occupations, found the labor market shed 1.7 million teen jobs during that 13-year window. Staple positions for the age group – like coffee shop counter attendants and host positions – were not immune to the decline in young workers. (US News and World Report, 3/26)
 
Too Much Homework May Hurt Teens’ Test Scores
More isn’t necessarily better for teens when it comes to homework, a new study finds. About an hour a day is ideal, and doing homework alone and regularly yielded the best results, Spanish researchers report. The team looked at more than 7,700 male and female students, average age 14, in Spain. The teens were asked about their homework habits, and their performance in math and science was assessed using a standardized test. (HealthDay News, 3/26)
 
Long-term endocrine effects common after reduced-intensity chemotherapy in children
Remain vigilant for endocrine side effects after reduced-intensity conditioning for hematopoietic stem cell transplants in children. The hope is to reduce side effects with the gentler approach of by reduced-intensity conditioning, but that’s not always how it works, according to a retrospective study of 120 children, which was presented at a poster session at the meeting of the Endocrine Society. (Family Practice News, 3/26)
 
Teenagers shape each other’s views on how risky a situation is
Young adolescents’ judgements on how risky a situation might be are most influenced by what other teenagers think, while most other age groups are more influenced by adults’ views, finds new research. For the study, published in Psychological Science, 563 visitors to the London Science Museum were asked to rate the riskiness of everyday situations. (Medical Xpress, 3/27)    

 

NATIONAL


More Americans Support Vaccines: HealthDay/Harris Poll
In the wake of the measles outbreak that has generated headlines for months, more Americans now say they have positive feelings toward childhood vaccinations, according to a new HealthDay/Harris Poll. Of more than 2,000 adults surveyed, 87 percent said they thought that the vaccines routinely given to young children are safe. That’s up from 77 percent from a similar poll last July. (HealthDay News, 3/12)
 
FDA Approves New Pediatric Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
The FDA approved the supplemental new drug application for asenapine (Saphris) as monotherapy for the acute treatment of manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder for patients aged 10 to 17 years. According to Actavis, Saphris is the only atypical antipsychotic treatment option with a sublingual formulation. (Pharmacy Times, 3/13)
 
HHS Wants to Help Restore Joy of Medicine
HHS is listening to physicians and wants to address the regulatory burdens they face, according to a report published by the AMA. Speaking at the AMA National Advocacy Conference, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told physicians that the agency wants to help restore the joy of medicine. She addressed concerns relating to the increasing regulatory burden that physicians are experiencing. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/13)
 
Data on Health Law Shows Largest Drop in Uninsured in 4 Decades, the U.S. Says
The Obama administration said that 16.4 million uninsured people had gained health coverage since major provisions of the Affordable Care Act began to take effect in 2010, driving the largest reduction in the number of uninsured in about 40 years. Since the first open enrollment period began in October 2013, the officials said, the proportion of adults lacking insurance has dropped to 13.2 percent, from 20.3 percent. (The New York Times, 3/16)
 
Farm to School Act seeks expanded funding
Newly introduced legislation backed by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers would expand the USDA Farm to School Grant Program to include preschools and summer food service programs. Sens. Patrick Leahy , D-Vt., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, introduced the Farm to School Act of 2015 to improve access to healthy local foods in schools and help family growers. (The Packer, 3/16)
 
2M children would lose coverage without CHIP funding
Almost 2 million children would lose health insurance if Congress does not extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and if the Supreme Court rules against ObamaCare subsidies, according to a new report. The report from the Urban Institute examines the effect on children’s health coverage under different scenarios. Federal CHIP funding will expire at the end of September if Congress does not extend it. (The Hill, 3/18)
 
Kansas high school finds 27 positive tuberculosis cases
Twenty-seven people have tested positive for tuberculosis at a suburban Kansas City high school where a student was recently found to have an active case, Kansas state and county health officials said. Health officials have tested more than 300 students and staff at Olathe Northwest High School after possible exposure to tuberculosis since the active case was reported two weeks ago, officials said. (Reuters, 3/18)
 
FDA Approves Cholbam for Rare Bile Acid Synthesis Disorders
Cholbam (cholic acid) capsules have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults and children with bile acid synthesis disorders and peroxisomal disorders, the agency said in a news release. Cholbam is sanctioned for adults and children aged 3 weeks and older.  The drug was evaluated in clinical studies involving some 79 people aged 3 weeks to 36 years. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/18)
 
Traffic Deaths Increase in Spring Break Hot Spots
It’s that time of year when college students flock to warm, sunny spots to celebrate spring break, but a new study shows the roads become a lot less safe once they arrive. The overall death toll from car crashes in these popular destinations was 9 percent higher during spring break than at other times of the year. That translates into a total of 16 more traffic deaths per year in the 14 areas studied. (HealthDay News, 3/20)
 
Obamacare subsidies likely expanded insurance coverage: report
Early evidence suggests that the tax credit subsidies at the core of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law likely helped expand U.S. health insurance coverage last year, Congress’s non-partisan research arm said. The subsidies significantly reduced the premium costs, the Government Accountability Office said in a report. (Reuters, 3/23)
 
Affordable Care Act hasn’t overwhelmed doctors, study says
Predictions that doctors would be overwhelmed by new patients as a result of the ACA have not come true a year after the law’s coverage expansions took effect. That’s according to a study released from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and health care technology company Athenahealth. By gathering data from 15,700 of Athenahealth’s clients, mainly physicians, the study measured how the ACA has affected doctors. (USA Today, 3/24)
 
Texting Hotline Offers Support for Teenagers
New York City will offer a cellphone texting helpline for high-school students suffering from mental-health issues, announced Chirlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill de Blasio, as she continued to spotlight mental-health services city-wide.  Ms. McCray and her daughter, Chiara de Blasio, unveiled NYC Teen Text at Millennium Brooklyn High School in Park Slope. (Wall Street Journal, 3/25)
 
Obama’s day: Health care, 5 years later
President Obama spends Wednesday touting one of his legacies: The health care law he signed five years ago. In a speech at the White House, Obama will unveil what he calls the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network. This group of public and private groups will look for ways to reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary treatments, tests and hospital visits. (USA Today, 3/25)
 
CDC anti-smoking ads target e-cigarettes for first time, highlight tobacco’s links to variety of diseases
The latest round of government anti-smoking ads targets e-cigarette use for the first time and highlights links to a variety of diseases that aren’t typically associated with tobacco use. The FDA decided to regulate e-cigarettes less than a year ago and has not determined a course of action. Research on the harms of the inhaled chemical vapor and if the devices can help smokers wean themselves off tobacco has been mixed. (The Washington Post, 3/26)

 

INTERNATIONAL


Experts call for a tobacco-free world by 2040
A world virtually free of tobacco and its devastating health consequences could be a reality within 30 years if governments showed political will and took stronger action against cigarette companies, health experts said. The international group of public health and policy specialists, writing in The Lancet, said sale of tobacco should be phased out worldwide by 2040 and called for a “turbo-charged” international effort against its use. (Reuters, 3/12)
 
The Most Expensive Place in the World to Have Diabetes
The U.S. is the most expensive place to have Type 2 diabetes, with an average lifetime price tag of $283,000, according to a new study published in the journal PharmacoEconomics. Researchers analyzed 109 studies on the economic impact of Type 2 diabetes and found that costs are higher in the U.S., even compared with other countries with similar income levels. (Time, 3/16)
 
Children with TB at risk of dying amid slow progress on child-friendly treatment
More than half a million children who fall ill with tuberculosis each year are at risk of dying because of a lack of child-friendly treatments, experts said. Tuberculosis is much harder to detect in children than in adults because they do not always show the typical symptoms. As a result, health workers tend to focus on treating adults, experts said. If left untreated, children with TB become ill and die much faster than adults. (Reuters, 3/23)

 


RECENT PUBLICATIONS


Revised Guidelines Released for Peds Cardiology Fellowship
The Society of Pediatric Cardiology Training Program Directors have developed the 2015 Training Guidelines for Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program together with the American College of Cardiology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association. The new guidelines include a new task force on pulmonary hypertension, advanced heart failure, and transplantation. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/20)


 

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Fifth Annual QI Research Methods Conference Scheduled for April 24 – Register Now
Registration is now open for the Academic Pediatric Association’s 5th Annual Quality Improvement (QI) Research Methods Conference, supported in part by AHRQ, to be held April 24 in San Diego. The conference begins the day before the official start of the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting April 25–28 at the same location. This year’s conference includes interactive sessions on study design and research methods of high relevance to QI and its evaluation, a preconference breakfast with the faculty, several prominent keynote speakers, and a closing plenary session featuring the best of the abstracts submitted to the conference. Registration is now open. (AHRQ, 3/25)


UPCOMING WEBINARS


Webinar: Tobacco Control and the Patient-Centered Medical Home 
This webinar on April 16 at 2 pm ET, sponsored by the AAP Richmond Center and co-sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, will explain the concept, and discuss the benefits of, a patient-centered medical home. The webinar will also cover how tobacco prevention and control in the practice setting complements the patient-centered medical home. Register online in advance.
 
Beyond Policy: Implementing Care Coordination in Practice 
The National Center for Medical Home Implementation is hosting the first webinar in a three-part series focusing on implementation and evaluation of pediatric care coordination on March 30 at 1 pm ET. This webinar will outline clinical guidelines and identify strategies and resources to help facilitate the implementation of care coordination in practice. Faculty will provide examples of successful care coordination and highlight outcomes for patients and families who received of care coordination services.

 



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