ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS
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ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS

 

RECENT RESEARCH


Minorities More Likely to Gain Weight in Childhood, Report Shows
Minorities may be more prone than whites to gaining weight during childhood, which puts them at greater risk for becoming overweight or obese adults, new research says. In the study, blacks, Hispanics and American Indians were more likely to surpass a normal weight at age 18 than whites were. The findings were to be presented Thursday at an American Heart Association meeting. (HealthDay News, 3/5)
 
Autism is largely down to genes, twins study suggests
Genetic influences on autism are estimated to be between 74-98%, a Medical Research Council study of 258 twins suggests. The King’s College London team said 181 of the teenagers had autism, but the risk was far higher in identical twins where one twin had autism, as they share the same DNA. The researchers told JAMA Psychiatry that hundreds of genes were involved, but they do not rule out environmental factors. (BBC, 3/5)
 
Long-term effects of obesity surgery on adolescent skeleton are favorable
The skeletons of obese adolescents are usually more dense than those of normal weight teens, but after gastric bypass surgery, most return to normal density within two years, a new study finds. To investigate how laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass affects bone density in adolescents, researchers followed 50 female and 22 male adolescents who were undergoing this surgery for morbid obesity. (Medical Xpress, 3/6)
 
Teenage TV audiences and energy drink advertisements
In a new study, researchers examined a database of television advertisements broadcast between March 2012 and February 2013 on 139 network and cable channels and found that more than 608 hours of advertisements for energy drinks were aired. Nearly half of those advertisements, 46.5%, appeared on networks with content themes likely to appeal to adolescents. (Medical Xpress, 3/6)
 
Teens, Go Nuts! It Might Boost Your Health
A new study found that teens who ate nuts daily were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Although white teens ate more nuts than blacks or Hispanics, few teens regularly ate nuts overall. Tree nuts are tied to a lower risk of heart disease in adults, according to Dr. Kim and colleagues. However, no one had studied whether eating nuts also made a difference for teens. (Daily Rx, 3/8)
 
Rural, urban suicide gap widening among youth
The gap in suicide risk between young people in rural U.S. communities and those in more urban areas is widening, a new study suggests. Possibly due to differences in mental health services, isolation, firearm access and economic factors, suicide is twice as common among young Americans in rural communities as in urban areas, the researchers write in JAMA Pediatrics. (Reuters, 3/9)
 
Overindulgent Parents May Breed Narcissistic Children
Kids who think too highly of themselves likely developed their narcissism because their parents put them on a pedestal and doled out unearned praise, a new study claims. Parents who “overvalue” their children tend to raise youngsters with an overblown sense of their own superiority, researchers report. In the study, researchers evaluated 565 children aged 7 to 11 in the Netherlands, along with their parents. (HealthDay News, 3/9)
 
Restricting fructose in obese Latino and African American children may reduce fat accumulation in their livers
In obese Latino and African American children, restricting dietary fructose, but not calories, may decrease liver fat and the conversion of sugar to fat in the liver, a new study finds. The results will be presented in a at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. Researchers studied obese Latino and African American children 9 through 18 years of age who habitually ate high-sugar foods. (Medical Xpress, 3/9)
 
Aggressive Boys Stronger Than Other Teens, Study Says
Aggressive boys tend to develop more physical strength when they’re teens than nonaggressive boys do, a new study finds. Researchers examined data from twins in Minnesota whose levels of aggression and hand-grip strength were assessed at ages 11, 14 and 17. Hand-grip strength is closely associated with other types of muscle strength, the researchers explained. (HealthDay News, 3/9)
 
Type 1 diabetes cases increasing as more young people showing signs of complications
More and more children are showing early signs of type 1 diabetes, and the quality of care available to them varies significantly based on where they live. This is according to a report from the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit, which also indicated that 21 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes over the age of 12 show signs of diabetic complications. (Diabetes.co.uk, 3/9)
 
Divorce May Mean Kids Down More Soft Drinks
Children may be more likely to drink sodas and other sugary beverages if their parents are recently separated or divorced, a new study suggests. Drinking too many sugary beverages puts children at increased risk for obesity, the researchers warned. The study included parents and children in families in which the parents were married, separated or divorced, and had them keep dairies of their eating habits over five days. (HealthDay News¸ 3/10)
 
Black Children May Fare Worse With Crohn’s Disease
Race may play a role in outcomes for children and teens with Crohn’s disease, with black patients faring worse than whites, a study suggests. “We found racial inequalities exist among children and adolescents with Crohn’s disease, likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental differences,” researchers said. Black patients were 1.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital than white patients in the study. (HealthDay News, 3/10)
 
Subthreshold Mania May Mean Bipolarity in High-Risk Youth
Subthreshold manic or hypomanic episodes may be a diagnostic precursor to bipolar disorder in the children of parents with bipolar disorder, according to research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers performed a longitudinal assessment of 391 high-risk offspring, aged 6 to 18 years, and 248 demographically matched offspring of community parents. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/10)
 
Study: Parents wrongly think sugary drinks healthy
Bamboozled by misleading product marketing and labeling, parents have failed to get the message that sugary drinks — beyond soda — are not healthy for kids. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in Public Health Nutrition. Many parents believe that drinks with high amounts of added sugar — particularly fruit drinks, sports drinks and flavored water — are “healthy” options for kids, according to the report. (USA Today, 3/11)
 
Gender and race influences when teens start drinking, smoking and doing drugs
Cigarette use among white teenagers is substantially higher than among black and Hispanic teenagers, especially at 18 years old, according to researchers. Alcohol and marijuana use are also higher in white teenagers, and the numbers continue to increase until age 20. Throughout their 20s, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to pick up a cigarette-smoking habit, while the numbers start to decrease for whites. (Medical Xpress, 3/11)
 
Study finds 17% of college students misuse ADHD drugs
At college, students can come under a lot of pressure to achieve good results, but, unfortunately, a large number may be resorting to risky methods to deal with expectations. A recent literature review reports that 1 in 6 college students misuse stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD. According to the study, 17% of students are also risking legal trouble as well as health problems. (Medical News Today, 3/11)
 
Teens’ Heavy Pot Smoking Tied to Memory Problems
Teenagers who smoke marijuana daily may have lingering memory problems and structural abnormalities in the brain, even after they stop using the drug, a small study suggests. Researchers found that young adults who’d smoked pot heavily as teens performed worse on memory tests than their peers who’d never used the drug regularly. And on brain scans, they tended to show differences in the shape of the hippocampus. (HealthDay News, 3/12)    

 

NATIONAL


Unplanned pregnancies cost taxpayers $21 billion each year
Unintended pregnancies cost American taxpayers $21 billion each year, according to a new analysis released by the Guttmacher Institute. That averages out to a cost of about $366 per every woman of childbearing age in the U.S. Overall, more than half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended, and roughly 1-in-20 American women of reproductive age have an unplanned pregnancy each year. (Washington Post, 3/3)
 
Dem bill calls for study of school start times
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation directing the Department of Education to study the effects of later start times on high school students’ academic performance. Lofgren’s measure comes after the AAP released a policy statement last year that delaying school start times might help teenagers get more sleep, thereby improving their academic performance and overall well-being. (The Hill, 3/5)
 
Recruiting retired physicians to help solve a looming doctor shortage
An online program aims to help address the nation’s shortage of primary care physicians, a critical health-care issue highlighted by the AAMC. Created by educators and primary care physicians who are renowned experts in physician training and assessment, Physician Retraining and Reentry  provides physicians of all backgrounds the tools needed to offer adult outpatient primary care. (The Washington Post, 3/5)
 
Bayer’s BLA for Kovaltry gets FDA acceptance to treat hemophilia A
The FDA has accepted Bayer HealthCare’s biologics license application (BLA) for BAY 81-8973 (Kovaltry), a recombinant Factor VIII compound, for the treatment of hemophilia A in children and adults. The BLA is based on results from the LEOPOLD clinical trials, which evaluated BAY 81-8973 in adults and children using two- and three-times-per-week prophylaxis dosing regimens. (Pharmaceutical Business Review, 3/5)
 
What Schools Should Teach Kids about Sex
“There is probably no subject that has posed greater headaches to teachers than sex education,” writes NYU history and education professor Jonathan Zimmerman in his new book, Too Hot to Handle: A Global History of Sex Education. And no other topic illustrates the complexity and emotion that lies at the heart of the debates about parental, local, and federal control over education. (The Atlantic, 3/6)
 
Agriculture Department Expands School Food Training, Mentoring Program
The USDA will expand a school nutrition training and mentoring pilot it launched this year into a nationwide program, the agency announced. The Team Up for School Nutrition Success Initiative provides “tailored technical assistance” and peer-to-peer mentoring to schools as they continue to implement heightened nutrition standards that were created as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. (Education Week, 3/9)
 
CBO: ObamaCare subsidies to cost 11 percent less
The federal government will spend 11 percent less than expected on ObamaCare subsidies over the next decade, according to new figures from the CBO. The drop in federal spending is the result of lower-than-expected enrollment figures as well as a slower-than-expected rise in healthcare spending, the office said. CBO officials also predicted an $8 billion rise in spending on Medicaid over the next two years. (The Hill, 3/9)
 
More young people but fewer minorities pick ACA plans
More than 4.1 million people under age 35 picked Obamacare health insurance plans so far in this open enrollment period, a small increase compared with the end of the 2014 period, the Department of Health and Human Services said. And HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Monday said nearly 11.7 million people enrolled in plans on state and federal exchanges through February 22. (USA Today, 3/10)

FDA approves United Therapeutics’ drug for treating cancer in children
The FDA said it approved United Therapeutics Corp’s drug to treat neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that typically occurs in children below 5 years. Unituxin is the first drug approved to treat high-risk neuroblastoma patients who have a greater chance of tumors recurring or progressing after chemotherapy. The safety and effectiveness of the drug were tested in a clinical trial comprising 226 patients. (Reuters, 3/10)
 
Burger King drops soft drinks from kids’ meals
Burger King has dropped fountain drinks from its kids’ menu boards and they are no longer merchandised as part of Burger King Kids Meals. The stealth, unannounced move late last month by Burger King – under pressures from advocacy groups – follows similar moves by McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Instead of soft drinks, the BK menu for kids will offer fat-free milk, 100% apple juice and low-fat chocolate milk. (USA Today, 3/10)
 
The Teenage Brain: Spock Vs. Captain Kirk
The changes in the brain that lead to the famously bad choices of adolescence don’t start at 16 or 17 years old. They start around 11 or 12 and the beginning of puberty. This is the dirty little secret of adolescence: The cloudy judgment and risky behavior may not last a year or two. Try a decade. (NPR, 3/11)
 
Raising tobacco age would save lives, report says
Raising the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21 would slash the smoking rate and save hundreds of thousands of lives by the end of the century, a new IOM report shows. If every state were to immediately ban tobacco sales to those under 21, smoking prevalence would fall 12%, according to the report. That would prevent 249,000 premature deaths among the generation born between 2000 and 2019, the report says. (USA Today, 3/12)

Pfizer pain drug Lyrica fails study in adolescents with fibromyalgia
Pfizer Inc’s pain drug, Lyrica, failed a post-marketing study testing the treatment in adolescents with fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas. Pfizer conducted the trial to meet FDA requirements after Lyrica was approved for the condition. (Reuters, 3/12)
 
Powdered Alcohol Approved by U.S. Regulators
U.S. regulators have approved a controversial powdered alcohol product called Palcohol, which is meant to be mixed into drinks. Four varieties of Palcohol were approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, said agency spokesman Tom Hogue, but he added that states have the power to regulate alcohol sales, CBS News/Associated Press reported. (Physician’s Briefing, 3/12)     

 

INTERNATIONAL


Malawi: UNPFA Donates Dignity Kits to Women, Adolescent Girls in CK
The UNFPA donated dignity kits to hundreds of pregnant and adolescent girls displaced by floods in Chikwawa. The items included bathing as well as washing tablet soap, 4 meters chitenje cloth, menstrual pads, and a bucket to each beneficiary. According to UNFPA’s National Gender Officer, her organization was aware of the gender based violence women and girls were being subjected to, hence the intervention. (All Africa, 3/8)
 
Sexual violence against women a ‘global epidemic,’ study finds
Violence against women and girls “persists at alarmingly high levels” despite significant progress in gender equality for health, education and legal rights, according to an expansive global report released. The “No Ceilings Full Participation Report” — based on an analysis of global data drawn from a host of international agencies — identifies gains and gaps in women’s progress toward equality over the last 20 years. (Al Jazeera, 3/9)
 
India: Adolescents can call tollfree number for health issues
The state health department has launched a tollfree helpline to guide adolescents on health issues. CM Devendra Fadnavis’ wife Amruta inaugurated the helpline on Monday. Adolescent girls and boys across the state can call on 18002332688 from 10am to 6pm. The helpline is a part of the Centre’s Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram. (The Times of India, 3/10)
 
Meet The 15-Year-Old From Rural Guatemala Who Addressed The U.N.
When Emelin was 13, she asked the mayor of her rural Guatemalan town to find ways to help girls stay in school and get better health care. On Tuesday of this week, Emelin, now 15, spoke by invitation at the UN in the “Every Woman Every Child” program. She spoke about the obstacles girls face in her community and how she and a friend persuaded the mayor to implement and fund policies that would help. (NPR, 3/12)



RECENT PUBLICATIONS


Clinical guidance for smallpox vaccine use in a post-event vaccination program 
The CDC, National Association of County and City Health Officials and the AAP collaborated to release new recommendations providing clinical guidance for smallpox vaccine use for persons at risk for smallpox infection after an intentional or accidental release of the virus. (AAP, 3/11)

NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE


Kinsa now helps parents monitor the collective health of their kids’ schools
New York City-based Kinsa Health, maker of an FDA-cleared smartphone-connected thermometer, has launched a new feature, called Groups, so that parents can track the collective health of the students at their child’s school. Using the Groups feature, which is open to all US public schools, parents can anonymously share their child’s temperature using the Kinsa thermometer or by manually entering it into the app.  (Mobi Health News, 3/4) 



UPCOMING WEBINARS


CDC Grand Rounds: Addressing Preparedness Challenges for Children in Public Health Emergencies
Public health emergencies have shown that children have different needs than adults, and require special attention, such as pediatric-focused care. However, responses to past events also show that the unique needs of children have not been adequately addressed in the planning process. A live external webcast will be available for this CDC Grand Rounds, which will be held on Tuesday, March 17 at 1 p.m. (EDT).  A live external webcast will be available.  Presentations are archived and posted 48 hours after each session. (CDC, 3/10)


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS AND PAPERS


Submit Abstracts for the 2015 AAP National Conference
The AAP is now accepting submissions for abstracts to be presented at the 2015 National Conference & Exhibition. Section and council programs held at the national conference cover clinical matters or research related to subspecialty or special interest areas. Submissions by AAP members and nonmembers are welcome, with participation open to health professionals in any field. (AAP, 3/6)



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