ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS
      RECENT RESEARCH
      NATIONAL
      INTERNATIONAL
RECENT PUBLICATIONS
NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE
CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS
 




 

ADOLESCENT HEALTH IN THE NEWS

 

RECENT RESEARCH

 

Old-school and Current Vaccines Have no Link to Autism (Again), Study Says
Just weeks Republican presidential candidates reprised the allegation that childhood vaccines may be responsible for the rise in the number of children with autism, the new research offers additional evidence against such a link. Again, the new study found no evidence of changes in brains or behavior that would implicate either the MMR vaccine or a combination of many vaccines as a cause of or contributor to autism. (LA Times, 9/28)
 
Metformin Associated with Small Height Increase in Children
A review of the medical literature suggests the diabetes medication metformin may be associated with a small increase in height in children and adolescents providing the largest cumulative metformin dose. There has been increasing off-label use of metformin in children and adolescents, as part of the management of polycystic ovary syndrome, and for impaired glucose tolerance, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity. (Science Daily, 9/28)
 
Could Vaccines Protect Kids from Stroke, Too?
Stroke is rare in kids, but the risk of it happening is increased when a child has a cold or the flu, and reduced when kids are fully vaccinated, according to a study. Based on 700 children under 18, across 9 countries, researchers linked having had an illness like bronchitis, ear infection or strep throat to a six-fold rise in stroke risk. Having few or none of the routine childhood vaccinations was tied to a seven-fold rise in risk. (Reuters, 9/30)
 
Severely Obese Kids at Higher Risk for Heart Disease, Diabetes
Children who are severely obese, especially boys, have risk factors that increase their odds of getting heart disease and diabetes, new research finds. As the severity of obesity in kids gets worse, their risks for heart disease and diabetes go up. Children who are the most obese are twice as likely to have some of the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes as the mildly obese. (HealthDay News, 9/30)
 
Cancer Survivor Clinics Linked to Fewer Emergency Room Visits
Specialized clinics for childhood cancer survivors may help reduce the odds these patients will need emergency medical care as adults, a Canadian study suggests. Researchers followed almost 4,000 adult survivors of childhood cancers in Ontario for two decades. Compared with survivors who never used the specialized clinics, patients who went at least once were 19% less likely to visit the ER. (Reuters, 9/30)
 
Rehash of 2001 Study Finds Paroxetine and Imipramine Ineffective, Unsafe for Teens
The antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) is ineffective and unsafe for treating adolescents with depression, specifically increasing risk of suicidal ideation among adolescents. Finally, the study confirmed that another widely used antidepressant, imipramine (Tofranil), was ineffective in treating teens for depression, even at high doses, and increased the incidence of cardiovascular events among those studied. (AAFP, 9/30)
 
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Behavior Issues in Kids
Early exposure to secondhand smoke may lead to behavioral problems in children, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from more than 5,200 students in France and found that those exposed to secondhand smoke while in the womb and/or at a young age were at higher risk for behavioral problems, particularly emotional and conduct disorders. (HealthDay News, 10/1)
 
For Teens, Late Bedtime May Lead to Weight Gain
Teens may have a new reason to take their parents’ advice and go to bed early. Staying up late on weeknights may increase a teen’s risk of becoming overweight over time, a new study says. For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 3,300 American teens and found that each extra hour of late bedtime was associated with a more than two-point increase in body mass index BMI. (HealthDay News, 10/2)
 
Screening for Adolescent Mental Health in The ER
Children’s Hospital L.A. recently tested a mental health screening tool for adolescents coming to the ER for medical complaints who might also be at risk for mental health problems and found that 47.5% of the patients responded yes to questions about substance abuse, traumatic exposure or behavioral symptoms such as depression and anxiety. The screening provided the opportunity for early identification and treatment. (Psych Central, 10/4)
 
Middle Schoolers’ Views on Pot May Forecast Later DUIs
Kids who have positive views of marijuana in 6th grade may be at increased risk of driving while intoxicated when they reach high school, a new study suggests. After surveying more than 1,000 middle schoolers researchers found that 6th graders who had positive views about marijuana (i.e. it relaxes you) were 63% more likely to report driving under the influence or riding with an intoxicated driver in high school (Live Science, 10/5)
 
Prevention Bundle Can Cut Rate of Pediatric Surgical Site Infection (SSIs)
Adoption of a recommended bundle of prevention behaviors is associated with a reduction in the pediatric SSI rate, according to a new study. The researchers found that bundle components included proper pre-op bathing, intraoperative skin antisepsis, and antibiotic delivery.  Across network hospitals, there was a 21% reduction in SSI rate, from a mean baseline rate of 2.5 SSIs to a mean of 1.8 SSIs per 100 procedures. (Physician’s Briefing, 10/5)
 
Short Bursts of Intense Exercise Seems Good for Teen Hearts
Could just a few minutes of intense exercise three times a week reduce teens’ risk of potential heart problems? A recent study indicates that, providing the intensity is high, health benefits are achievable with just 8 to 10 minutes of exercise. The study saw improved blood vessel function and the brain’s ability to control the teen’s heart rate, both considered to be important markers of heart health. (HealthDay News, 10/5)
 
State Anti-Bullying Laws May Lead to Fewer Bullied Kids
States that get tough on bullies by enacting anti-bullying laws appear to reduce bullying and cyberbullying among high school students, a new study suggests. Among 25 states that adopted at least one component of the U.S. Department of Education guidelines on bullying in their anti-bullying laws, 24% saw lower odds of bullying, the researchers found. In addition, these states saw 20% lower odds of cyberbullying. (HealthDay News, 10/5)
 
Benzene in Traffic Emissions Tied to Childhood Leukemia
Traffic pollution near the home, and specifically, benzene in the air, increases the risk of one type of childhood leukemia, according to a nationwide study in France. Leukemia, or cancer of the blood cells, is the most common cancer among children younger than age 15. A 300 meter increase in major road length within 150 meters of the home appeared to increase the risk of acute myeloblastic leukemia by 20%. (Reuters, 10/6)
 
Zip Line Injuries Up Significantly in the United States
An estimated 16,850 nonfatal zip line injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1997 and 2012, and nearly 70% of those injuries occurred during the last four years of that span, according to new research. Patients under 10 years old accounted for 45% of injuries, followed by patients aged 10-19 (33%). There are more than 13,000 amateur zip lines in outdoor education programs, camps, and backyards. (Physician’s Briefing, 10/6)
 
Young Cancer Survivors Often Develop New Malignancies
Teen and young adult cancer survivors are at increased risk for other cancers later in life, a new study reveals. Over 30 years, nearly 14% of the survivors were diagnosed with another, different type of cancer, occurring on average within 15 years. Compared to people in the general population, patients successfully treated for cancer between ages 15 and 39 were nearly 60% more likely to develop cancer. (HealthDay News, 10/6)
 
Grades May Sink for Girls Who Are Compulsive Texters
Compulsive texting can lead to poor school performance for teenage girls, a new study suggests. The study involved 211 girls and 192 boys in grades eight and 11 at schools in a semi-rural town in the Midwest. Only girls, not boys, showed a link between compulsive texting and lower school performance in areas such as grades, feeling able to do school work, and school bonding. (HealthDay News, 10/6)
 
Bedtime Texting May Be Hazardous to Teens’ Health
Many American teens text in bed, leading to lost sleep, daytime drowsiness and poorer school performance, a new study says. Researchers looked at nearly 3,200 middle and high school students and found that nearly 62% of the kids used their smartphones in some capacity after bedtime; nearly 57% texted, tweeted or messaged in bed; and nearly 21% awoke to texts. (HealthDay News, 10/7)

 

NATIONAL

 

More Children in Medicaid Seeing a Dentist
The gap in dental care utilization in the U.S. narrowed between children enrolled in Medicaid and those with private dental benefits from 2005 to 2013, but a large gap still remains between adults in those categories. For Medicaid-enrolled children, 48.3% received dental care in 2013, up from 35.3% in 2005. They also found that 47 states and D.C. had an increase in dental care utilization among Medicaid-enrolled children. (ADA, 9/29)     
 
Billboards Linking Tinder to STDs are Latest Battleground in Online Dating Wars
Just blocks away from the Tinder headquarters in L.A., a large billboard encapsulates what critics don’t like about the dating app. The billboard is part of a campaign from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which posted its warnings about Internet hookups and STDs in more than 50 spots around L.A. The campaign aims to draw a link between the rise of dating apps and a recent increase in STD rates in some cities. (The Washington Post, 9/29)
 
Many Former Foster Youths Don’t Know They Have Health Care
There are about 400,000 foster youth in the nation, and approximately 23,000 who age out of foster care when they turn 18 (or 21 in some states) every year. They are all still eligible for Medicaid, regardless of income, under the ACA until 26. Federal law requires states to cover former foster youth, and the federal government provides Medicaid matching funds to pay for it for those states that expanded Medicaid. (NPR, 10/1)
 
U.S. to Curb Smog but Stops Short of Toughest Limits
The Obama administration trimmed the amount of ozone allowed in the air, issuing a regulation to fight smog that will prevent 320,000 childhood asthma attacks a year. The new limit is the least restrictive that the agency had been considering, and health experts complained it does not go far enough. The AAP had called for a limit of 60 ppb to protect the health of children, especially those who suffer from asthma. (Reuters, 10/1)
 
California Governor Signs Comprehensive Sex Ed Mandate
California Governor Jerry Brown advanced two sexual health education laws. Assembly Bill 329 mandates sexual health education in grades 7–12 and Senate Bill 695 requires affirmative consent education for grades 9–12 in some school districts. The Governor has yet to sign the “Reproductive FACT Act,” which would require unlicensed clinics providing pregnancy-related services to disclose they’re not medical providers. (Siecus, 10/1)
 
The Decline of ‘Big Soda’
The soda industry maybe winning the policy battles, but are losing the war. Over the last 20 years, sales of full-calorie soda in the U.S. have plummeted by more than 25%. Soda consumption is now experiencing a serious and sustained decline, especially among teenagers.  In Philadelphia, daily soda consumption among teenagers, dropped sharply by 24% from 2007 to 2013, compared with about 20% for the country. (The New York Times, 10/4)
 
The FDA is Trying to Keep ‘Hip-Hop’ Teens from Smoking. ‘Fresh Empire’ Ads to air During BET Awards
A new ad campaign from FDA aims to embrace the attitude and style of “hip-hop culture” in an effort to dissuade young African Americans, Hispanics and other minority teenagers from smoking. The $128 million “Fresh Empire” campaign, funded by fees on the tobacco industry, will include television ads, local outreach efforts and events featuring DJs and musicians, all intended to curb smoking among minority teenagers. (The Washington Post, 10/6)
 
Schools Report Varying Results in Their Efforts to Comply With Nutrition Guidelines
According to the CDC, 17% of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight. In trying to reduce childhood obesity, legislation requires schools to update their nutritional standards to cut back on sugar and sodium in foods and add more fruit and vegetables. However, in some schools, fewer kids are participating in the school meals program and food waste is increasing because students are not eating the healthier alternatives. (The New York Times, 10/6)
 
Senator Sees Momentum for Mental Health Reform
Sen. Chris Murphy believes his bipartisan mental health reform bill is picking up momentum and will get a hearing later this month in the Senate health committee. Murphy cautioned that mental health is not enough to stop mass shootings. Sen. John Cornyn also introduced a separate bill, backed by the NRA that uses grants to incentivize states to send mental health records to the national background check database. (The Hill, 10/7)
 
Obama Launches New Initiative to Combat Chronic Absenteeism
As part of the Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, the administration is now launching a program to help combat chronic truancy in schools across the nation, aiming for a 10% decrease each year. The new program “Every Student, Every Day” is focused on the 5-7.5 million students who are chronically absent each year (18 days or more) and will partner with several federal departments and individual communities. (NBC News, 10/7)

 

INTERNATIONAL

 

Young People Looking Online for Help with their Eating Disorders
Young people with eating disorders are increasingly looking online for help with their problems. The Children’s Commissioner for England says she is concerned they are part of a growing trend for children with mental health issues who may be turning to the internet rather than seeking professional help. (BBC News, 10/2)
 
Australian Commitment to UN Joint Programme for Pacific Mother, Child and Adolescent Health
Three Pacific Island countries using integrated approaches to health delivery for women, new-borns, children and adolescents will benefit from a nearly $7 million UN Joint Programme as part of a meeting of Pacific Foreign Ministers. UN agencies will work with the Governments of Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to support integrated delivery of planning, budgeting and technical assistance. (Solomon Star, 10/2)
 
Depression and Self-harm Soar Among Private School Pupils
Teenage pupils at British private schools are experiencing unprecedented levels of depression, eating disorders and self-harm, according to head teachers, who say longstanding stresses have been amplified by increased pressure over exams and the ever-present anxieties of social media. The warning comes from the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), representing 175 leading private schools. (The Guardian, 10/4)
 
UN Agencies Launch New Standards to Improve Adolescent Care Worldwide
WHO and UNAIDS announced today they have developed new standards for quality health-care services for adolescents, which aim to help countries improve services for people between the ages of 10 and 19. WHO and UNAIDS believe existing health services often fail the world’s adolescents, with many suffering from mental health disorders, substance use, poor nutrition, intentional injuries and chronic illness. (UN News Centre, 10/6)


RECENT PUBLICATIONS

 

Growing Up Digital: Media Research Symposium
For the first time in our history, user-friendly and easily accessible screen media are committing our youth to a broad social learning and behavioral experiment. Members of the AAP Children, Adolescents and Media Leadership Work Group offer perspective and advice on counseling families about their children’s experience in the digital world in this full report. (AAP, 10/1)

 

NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE

 

Resources on E-Cigarettes Now Available
In 2014, more teens used e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. Therefore, The Julius B. Richmond Center, dedicated to the elimination of tobacco and secondhand smoke, has created a webpage with resources for pediatricians about electronic nicotine delivery systems, or e-cigarettes. Included on this page are fact sheets, presentations, and information about the AAP’s actions on these products. (AAP, 10/2)
 
CDC Updates and Expands its Vaccine Safety Website
The newly updated CDC website includes six distinct modules to connect all audiences to the most relevant information. The first four modules focus on different areas of vaccine safety, including research, in-depth vaccine and burden information, and answers to common concerns. The other two modules are separated by audience with content for parents and caregivers and a newly created section for health care providers. (CDC, 10/6)

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

State Legislative Conference
Register for the State Legislative Conference in Minneapolis, Nov. 6-7, and take a deep dive into state family medicine issues from across the nation. Explore hot topics for state advocacy on behalf of family medicine, your patients and your community, including topics such as prescription drug abuse, workforce development, and insurance consolidation. (AAFP, 10/1)


 



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