For Better Health, Teens Need Access to Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Information and Services
Adolescents are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, HIV or unintended pregnancy than any other age group. That’s why it’s critical that young people have unconstrained access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services. In its position paper published this month, the SAHM asserts that such access constitutes a basic human right for all adolescents and young adults and is a critical part of addressing this population’s general health. (The Chronicle, 4/17)
Insurance Status Affects Where Young Adults Seek Health Care
Perhaps due to a lack of or inconsistent insurance coverage, young adults age 18 to 25 tend to go to the doctor’s office less often than children or adolescents, yet have higher rates of emergency room use, finds a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The study found that of the nearly 3,800 young adults surveyed in 2009, 21 percent had health insurance for only part of the year while 27 percent were completely uninsured. (Health Behavior News Service, 4/22)





Masculine boys, feminine girls more likely to engage in cancer risk behaviors, study finds
Young people who conform most strongly to norms of masculinity and femininity -- the most “feminine” girls and the most “masculine” boys -- are significantly more likely than their peers to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks, according to a new study. The most feminine teenage girls use tanning beds more frequently and are more likely to be physically inactive, while the most masculine teenage boys are more likely to use chewing tobacco and to smoke cigars, compared with their gender-nonconforming peers. (Science Daily, 4/16)
Forty years on, bullying takes its toll on health and wealth
The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later, according to research by British psychiatrists. In the first study of its kind to look at the effects of childhood bullying beyond early adulthood, the researchers said its impact is “persistent and pervasive”, with people who were bullied when young more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and poorer cognitive functioning at age 50. (Reuters, 4/17)
Direct tobacco marketing linked to teen and adult smoking
Direct to consumer marketing of tobacco products is reaching significant numbers of teens, as well as young adults, according to a new study. Young people who have seen the promotions are also more likely to take up smoking, the researchers found. The FDA regulates marketing of tobacco products, including mailings and Internet advertising. Consumers, for example, must be 18 years old to view tobacco company websites. But according to the study, kids younger than that are seeing tobacco promotions anyway. (Reuters, 4/17)
New studies investigate malaria resistance and susceptibility in children
According to the World Health Organization, malaria caused approximately 627,000 deaths in 2012, the majority of which were among children. Most malaria-related deaths in children are a result of complications from the disease, but it has been unclear why some children are more susceptible to these complications than others. Now, two new studies could bring us a step closer to finding out. (Medical News Today, 4/18)
Flavored cigars appeal to youth: study
Young people are smoking fewer cigarettes these days, but their cigar use is rising, which may partly be due to the popularity of flavored cigars, according to a new study. They found that 8 percent of men and 2 percent of women said they had smoked a cigar in the past 30 days, but 11 percent of people between ages 18 and 25 years old had smoked a cigar - more than any other age group. (Reuters, 4/18)
When Anxiety Complicates ADHD
Nearly half of all children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also have an anxiety disorder. A recent study investigated how children functioned and how their quality of life was affected if they had both ADHD and anxiety. The results showed that children with ADHD and two or more anxiety disorders had a poorer quality of life, poorer functioning and more peer problems than those with one or no anxiety disorders. (Daily Rx, 4/20)
Too Little Sleep May Add to Teen Health Problems
Many teens from lower- and middle-income homes get too little sleep, potentially adding to the problems of kids already at risk for health issues, new research finds. The study of 250 high school students found they slept an average of six hours a night, far less than the recommended amount -- about nine hours. Kids who skimp on sleep are more likely to report feeling hopeless, as well as smoke, drink alcohol and use marijuana. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/21)
Half of jailed NYC youths have a brain injury, study shows
About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City’s jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that’s the latest in a growing body of research documenting head trauma among young offenders. Experts say the findings, published this week in The Journal of Adolescent Health, could lead to better training for correction officers on how to deal with the possible symptoms of such trauma, which include problems with impulse control and decision-making. (Fox, 4/21)
Bowel Illnesses Sometimes Coincide in Kids
Children suffering from irritable bowel syndrome are four times more likely than other kids to have a condition called celiac disease -- an allergy to gluten -- Italian researchers report. More than 2 million people in the United States have celiac disease, or about one in every 133 people. Irritable bowel syndrome, another condition, causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. Some symptoms may overlap with those of celiac disease. (HealthDay News, 4/21)
Autistic kids more likely to be bullied
Autistic children are four times more likely to be bullied than kids without a disability, according to a 2012 study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Children with autism often struggle with social interaction and communication, but the degree of their disability can range from very mild to severe. Some autistic children do not speak; others can talk for hours about topics that interest them. (USA Today, 4/21)
Adolescents with ASD’s may infer the meaning of complex emotions
A study looking at the electromagnetic brain waves of adolescents has found that those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders show atypical brain wave activity whilst processing complex emotions. The study published in JAMA online network journals explains that those diagnosed with ASD’s tend to infer the meaning of complex emotions rather than understand or empathise with them. (Autism Daily Newscast, 4/22)
For Teen Drivers, Unruly Passengers May Be Greater Threat Than Phones
Teen drivers distracted by passengers’ loud talking and fooling around are more likely to be involved in serious incidents than those distracted by technology such as cell phones, according to a new study. The young drivers were less likely to use cell phones and other technology -- including in-vehicle systems such as sound systems and temperature control -- when they had passengers with them. (Doctor’s Lounge, 4/22)
Two Drugs Work Equally Well for Epileptic Seizures in Kids: Study
Researchers comparing two drugs used to treat epileptic seizures in children -- lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium) -- found no difference between them in safety or effectiveness. Although previous studies gave the edge to Ativan, Dr. James Chamberlain, lead researcher for the new study, gave several reasons why Valium might be as good or better. (HealthDay News, 4/22)
Marijuana Legalization: What About The Teens?
One of the worries of people who oppose marijuana legalization is that teenagers will have easier access to the drug, making them more likely to use it. It’s an important worry, given that some problems of cognitive development have been seen in people who start smoking pot young. Fortunately, we now have some empirical evidence to help settle the question. Using 20 years of data from the YRBS, researchers saw no discernible difference use after legalization, according to a study of 11 million people in the Journal of Adolescent Health. (Forbes, 4/24)
Bullying Rates Drop Among American Teens: Study
American teens are much less likely to engage in bullying than they were a decade ago, new research suggests. Surveys completed by middle school and high school students between 1998 and 2010 suggest that instances of both verbal and physical bullying dropped by roughly half, with much of the decline seen specifically among boys. (U.S. News & World Report, 4/24)                
Study: Altruistic adolescents less likely to become depressed
It is better to give than to receive – at least if you’re an adolescent and you enjoy giving, a new study suggests. The study found that 15- and 16-year-olds who find pleasure in pro-social activities, such as giving their money to family members, are less likely to become depressed than those who get a bigger thrill from taking risks or keeping the money for themselves. (Science Codex, 4/24)
Devices for kids never tested in kids
Most medical devices used in children have never been tested in children, says a new study. Researchers from Harvard University looked at all high-risk medical devices—such as stents and artificial heart valves— approved by the FDA for use in children since Congress passed the Pediatric Medical Device Safety and Improvement Act of 2007, which was intended to spur pediatric device development. (Contemporary Pediatrics, 4/24)




Obama: 8 million O-Care enrollments
President Obama on Thursday announced that 8 million people enrolled in private health plans on ObamaCare’s exchanges so far, surpassing the most optimistic projections for the program’s first year. Adults between ages 18 and 34 accounted for 28 percent of the total enrollments, the White House said. (The Hill, 4/17)
‘Holy grail’ of medical study: Patient records database planned
Inside an otherwise ordinary office building in Lower Manhattan, government-funded scientists have begun collecting and connecting together terabytes of patient medical records in what may be one of the most radical projects in health care ever attempted. The effort is being duplicated at 10 other sites across the country using data from hospitals, academic research centers, community health clinics, insurers and other sources. If all goes well, by September 2015 they will be linked together to create a giant repository of medical information from 26 million to 30 million Americans. (Journal Gazette, 4/20)
Children prescribed codeine despite safety concerns
Although significant concerns have been raised about the safety and benefits of codeine-containing medications for children, there’s been only a slight decline in hospital emergency department prescriptions for the drugs over the past decade, a new study finds. Researchers analyzed the equivalent of 189,028,628 emergency room visits for patients ages 3 to 17 between 2001 and 2010. (USA Today, 4/21)      
Underage Teens Are Using Hookup App Tinder; Should Parents Be Worried?
Earlier this week, a concerned blogger raised the alarm about a troubling statistic: It seems a surprising number of users on the popular dating app Tinder are under the age of 18. “While there are plenty of twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings on the app, there has been a reported rise of teenagers using the app,” wrote Samantha Escobar for lifestyle blog “In fact, 7 percent of users are between 13 and 17, and that’s ... uncomfortable, to say the least.”  (Huffington Post, 4/23)
U.S. proposal would ban e-cigarette sales to minors, allow advertising
The FDA proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children. The long-awaited proposal, which would subject the $2 billion industry to federal regulation for the first time, is not as restrictive as some companies had feared and will likely take years to become fully effective. (Reuters, 4/24)               
More Than 7 Percent of Kids on Behavioral Meds
A new survey finds that 7.5 percent of children aged 6–17 are taking some sort of prescription medicine for emotional or behavioral difficulties. It’s a first look at the problem, and supports evidence that more and more U.S. kids are getting drugs for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The good news is that more than half of their parents said the medication helped their children “a lot.” The troubling news is that low-income kids were more likely to be given such drugs. (NBC News, 4/24)




‘Housing First’ approach may put homeless youth last, report warns
A new report says the success of so-called “Housing First” programs could have a limited impact on young Canadians living on the streets. The report warns against what it calls the “Housing First Jr.” approach, saying youth homelessness demands a unique focus on the developmental, social and legal needs of young people that can differ significantly from homeless adults. (The Windsor Star, 4/21)




NIH Seeking Public Comment On DSM Autism Update
Nearly a year after new diagnostic criteria for autism took effect, the National Institutes of Health is asking everyone from families to health experts to weigh in on the changes. The NIH has issued a request for information urging stakeholders to speak up about implications they are seeing stemming from the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Disability Scoop, 4/21)



AHRQ Seeks Nominations for New Members of the USPSTF – Due May 15
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) welcomes nominations, including self nominations, for new members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Each year, the Director of AHRQ appoints new members to serve 4-year terms and replace those who are completing their service. Nominations must be received by Thursday, May 15, 2014 to be considered for appointment, with an anticipated start date of January 2015.



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A Weekly Digest of Adolescent Health News in Traditional and New Media


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