Alcohol, Pot Fuel Half of Young Driver Deaths, Report Finds
Half of young drivers who died in crashes in nine states were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or both at the time of the accident, a new study finds. Researchers examined the deaths of nearly 7,200 drivers, aged 16-25, in crashes that occurred between 1999 and 2011 in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington state and West Virginia. (HealthDay News, 1/15)

Kids may snack on junk food on the ride home from school
Kids who ride home from school – whether in a car or on a bus – eat more snacks and candy during that window of opportunity than those who get home under their own steam, according to a new U.S. study. The researchers thought that kids who walk or bike to and from school might have more chances to buy junk foods, but found it was the “passive commuters” who rode to or from school that ate more snacks. (Reuters, 1/15)
Genes and environment contribute to personal and peer drinking during adolescence and beyond
Alcohol use typically begins during adolescence, within social contexts, and is often correlated with the drinking of one’s peers. A new study of how a person’s drinking is related to the alcohol use of their peers from early adolescence through to early adulthood has found that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the correlation between one’s own drinking and peer drinking. (Medical Xpress, 1/16)
Teens Who Skimp On Sleep Now Have More Drinking Problems Later
Sleep-deprived teenagers find it difficult to focus in class, and they’re more likely get sick. They are also more likely to develop problems with alcohol later on, according to a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Teenagers ages 14 through 16 who had trouble falling or staying asleep were 47 percent more likely to binge drink than their well-rested peers. (NPR, 1/16)
Anti-Vaccine Parents Found to Stay Together as Ranks Grow
More parents are leery about vaccinating their children, even against once-common diseases like measles and whooping cough. New research suggests their beliefs are contagious too. A groundbreaking study of 154,424 children covered by Kaiser Permanente in Northern California found five geographic clusters where children were significantly more likely to be underimmunized by their third birthday. (Business Week, 1/19)
Pizza Takes a Slice Out of Kids’ Health, Study Finds
On the days your kids eat pizza, they likely take in more calories, fat and sodium than on other days, a new study found. On any given day in the U.S. in 2009-10, one in five young children and nearly one in four teens ate pizza for a meal or snack, researchers found. “Given that pizza remains a highly prevalent part of children’s diet, we need to make healthy pizza the norm,” said the study author. (US News and World Report, 1/19)
TV Alcohol Ads Tied to Problem Drinking for Teens, Study Finds
A new study finds a link between the number of TV ads for alcohol a teen views, and their odds for problem drinking. Higher “familiarity” with booze ads “was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking across a range of outcomes of varying severity among adolescents and young adults,” wrote the research team. The study involved nearly 1,600 participants, aged 15 to 23, who were surveyed in 2011 and again in 2013. (HealthDay News, 1/19)
An Education in Art Brings Therapy to Children
School-based art therapy in Britain is helping troubled kids get back on track, a study suggests. The Art Room program is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 16 who have been identified by their teachers as needing emotional and behavioural support. In a new study, researchers found that children emerged from the 10-week program with less depression, fewer behavioural problems and improved self-esteem. (The Globe and Mail, 1/19)
Bullying Linked to Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Children
For 8- to 11-year-olds, bullying is associated with lower urinary tract symptoms, according to a study published in The Journal of Urology.  Exposure to school bullying was assessed via the Setting the Record Straight bullying questionnaire among children being assessed for lower urinary tract symptoms, using the Vancouver Symptom Score, at a pediatric urology clinic. (Physician’s Briefing, 1/20)
Researchers Rethink Inner-City Asthma Theory
A new study challenges the widely held belief that inner-city children have a higher risk of asthma. Race, ethnicity and income have much stronger effects on asthma risk than where children live, researchers reported. The study looked at more than 23,000 children, aged 6 to 17, and found that asthma rates were 13 percent among inner-city children and 11 percent among those in suburban or rural areas. (HealthDay News, 1/20)

Youth cholesterol drops, blood pressure holds steady
Although pediatric high cholesterol levels in the U.S. have gone down since 1999, about one in 10 kids still has high blood pressure, according to a new study. By 2012, approximately 20 percent of U.S. kids ages 8 to 17 had unhealthy cholesterol levels, and 10 percent had hypertension or borderline hypertension. These measures tend to track from childhood into adulthood, the authors note. (Reuters, 1/21)
School Sports Costs Leave Some Students on Sidelines
Many American children can’t afford to participate in school sports, a new survey finds. Only 30 percent of students in families with annual household incomes of less than $60,000 played school sports, compared with 51 percent of students in families that earned $60,000 or more a year. The difference may stem from a common practice -- charging students a “pay-to-play” fee to take part in sports, according to the researchers. (HealthDay News, 1/22)
Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Increasing in Young Adults
The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) among young adults ages 20-39 years has increased during the past 20-30 years, despite declining rates of CRC for the U.S. population overall. This finding, variation in CRC incidence based on race and gender, and differences in tumor location, symptoms, and survival for young adults are presented in the Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology. (Health Canal, 1/22)                    




Flu Contributes to More Deaths in U.S. as Vaccine Falls Short
The flu epidemic in the U.S. contributed to a higher proportion of deaths last week as the season’s vaccine fell short of protecting most people who got it. In the week that ended Jan. 10, 8.5 percent of deaths reported to the CDC were due to pneumonia and influenza, up from 7 percent the previous week. The new number exceeds the threshold to define this season’s outbreak as an epidemic, the CDC said in a report. (Business Week, 1/16)
Official Who Led Medicare Through Insurance Shakeup Is Resigning
Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who supervised the troubled rollout of the federal insurance marketplace, said Friday that she was resigning. “February will be my last month serving as the administrator for C.M.S.,” Ms. Tavenner said in an email to agency employees. (New York Times, 1/16)
Pennsylvania Governor Appoints First Transgender Woman to Top Cabinet Position
Rachel Levine, a doctor dedicated to diversity and LGBTQ health who is a transgender woman, has been appointed physician general by Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf. If chosen to serve in the governor’s cabinet, Levine, who has worked in the fields of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health for three decades, would become the highest-ranked transgender woman ever in the Pennsylvania government. (RH Reality Check, 1/19)
Majority still supports single-payer option, poll finds
More than five years after the single-payer system was scrapped from ObamaCare policy debates, just over 50 percent of people say they still support the idea, including one-quarter of Republicans, according to a new poll. The single-payer option would create a new, government-run insurance program to replace private coverage. The system became one of the biggest casualties of the divisive healthcare debates of 2009. (The Hill, 1/19)
Obama Proposes U.S. Spending to Research Personalized Cures
President Barack Obama will urge Congress to spend U.S. taxpayers’ money for research in “precision medicine,” a burgeoning field of care in which treatments are tailored to an individual patient. Obama did not provide details on what the initiative would entail and how much it would cost. He’s expected to detail the program in his fiscal 2016 budget, to be released Feb. 2. (Business Week, 1/20)
Measles Outbreak Tied to Disneyland Grows to 70 Illnesses
A measles outbreak traced to Disney theme parks in California led to warnings against visiting the happiest place on Earth if tourists or their children have not been vaccinated against the highly contagious respiratory disease that has sickened 70 people. New infections linked to the theme parks emerged in the outbreak that has spread to five U.S. states and Mexico, though the vast majority — 62 — occurred in California. (ABC News, 1/22)                     



Mozambique: Young Activists Call On Leaders to Support Reproductive Health Efforts
Young people in Mozambique face stiff challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services, but the efforts of youth activists and peer educators are making a difference. This was the message over 120 young volunteers and activists at recent a meeting with the outgoing Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, an expert in public health, in Maputo, the capital. (All Africa, 1/16)
Bangladesh rape laws need overhaul to ensure justice, campaigners say
Bangladesh must reform its archaic laws on rape to help boost convictions and instill confidence in victims who are often too afraid to seek justice, a legal aid group said.  Over the last decade, the South Asian nation has implemented programs to help support victims of sexual violence, said the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust, but rape laws, which date back to the British colonial era, remain unchanged. (Reuters, 1/18)

MSF slams expensive vaccines, urges GSK and Pfizer to cut prices
the international charity Medecins Sans Frontieres urged drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to slash the price of their pneumococcal vaccines to $5 per child in poor countries. In a report on vaccine prices ahead of an international donor conference, MSF slammed Big Pharma companies and said the cost of vaccinating a child in the world’s poorest countries was now 68 times higher than in 2001. (Reuters, 1/20)
Half a Billion Children Vaccinated and Seven Million Lives Saved thanks to Gavi Partners
New figures released by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance show that half a billion children have been reached with lifesaving vaccines in the 15 years since the organization was founded. The figures also reveal that the number of deaths averted through Gavi-supported immunization programs now tops seven million. (Health Canal, 1/22)
Gates foundation sees huge gains against disease, poverty by 2030
Worldwide child deaths will be halved over the next 15 years, polio, guinea worm and river blindness will be eradicated, and there will be a single-dose cure for malaria. The predictions appear in the annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which predicts a long list of breakthroughs in global health and development by 2030. (Reuters, 1/22)
UK aims to pass law to ban branding on cigarette packs before May
The British government plans to introduce a law forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets without branding in England. The move, aimed at improving public health and cutting the number of child smokers, is likely to crimp tobacco firms’ profits and would emulate Australia, which enacted a law forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain olive green packaging with images showing the damaging effects of smoking. (Reuters, 1/22)
‘Desperate need’ for child mental health centre in UAE, says doctor
There is no inpatient centre for children and adolescents with mental health problems in the UAE – but it is urgently required, a leading child psychiatrist warns. “It is desperately needed,” said Dr Ahmad Almai, head of child and adolescent psychiatry at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. “Intervention early on can prevent complications.” (The National UAE, 1/22)




Health Care Innovations Exchange
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announces the January 21 issue of the Health Care Innovations Exchange, focused on reducing non-urgent emergency services.  This month’s issue is the second in a series of three issues focused on the Innovations Exchange’s new initiative to expand scale up and spread efforts through Learning Communities. (AHRQ, 1/21) 



Register early for SAHM annual meeting and save
Join the adolescent health community in Los Angeles in March 2015, for SAHM’s annual meeting. The program offers innovative research, clinical workshops and discussion forums for attendees of diverse disciplines. Register by February 18, 2015, to secure the lowest rates. View the meeting program and registration information.
2015 AAP Legislative Conference: Registration now open
The AAP Legislative Conference will be held April 12 to 14, in Washington, D.C. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their federal advocacy skills through interactive workshops, learn about timely child health policy topics, hear from several guest speakers from Congress and the Administration, and visit with their legislators on Capitol Hill.


Register Now: January 28 AHRQ Webinar on Meeting Stage 3 Meaningful Use Objectives
AHRQ is hosting a webinar January 28 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. ET on meeting stage 3 meaningful use objectives. This presentation will outline findings from research on meaningful use of clinical decision support, care coordination and the use of electronic health records in pediatric primary care settings. Registration is open. (AHRQ, 1/20)
Ten Ways for Teens to Improve Their Chances for a Great Romance
Young love lives can be exhilarating, confusing, or even scary. In this webinar, Elsbeth Martindale will identify ten important ways to create a fantastic romance. Specific attention will be given to the skills for bringing these conversations into your work with teens. This Dibble Institute webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm EST and is free of charge.
Sports Concussion in Adolescents: Prevention and Treatment, with Cora Breuner, MD, MPH
Join this upcoming SAHM webinar on sports concussions in adolescents on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 from 1:00 – 2:30 EST.  All new members to SAHM or existing members who renew for 2015 can register for this webinar free of charge.  Participants must register in advance.


AHRQ 2015 Summer Intramural Fellowship Program: Open for Applications
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is now accepting applications for its 2015 Summer Intramural Fellowship Program. The program provides opportunities for individuals to work as part of a team with leading AHRQ health services researchers in the conduct and support of research on “real life” issues that support the Agency’s mission and contribute to improvements in health care. Fellows are also afforded the opportunity to work with administrative protocols, gain access to AHRQ-sponsored data sets, and apply statistical analysis methods to broaden his or her understanding of health services research and the Agency’s effects on the health care system. Applications will be accepted through January 27, 2015. (AHRQ, 1/20)

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