Headlines recently announced the death of Cory Monteith, one of the stars of the TV show Glee.
If your teenager tells you that he or she has a stomach ache it might be more than just an excuse to get out of doing something you've asked them to do.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is producing remarkable results in teenage girls by cutting infections in half. A new study measures the vaccines impact since it came on the market in 2006.
Only about half of teen girls in the U.S. have gotten at least one dose of the expensive vaccine, and just a third of teen girls have had all three shots, according to the latest government figures.
"These are striking results and I think they should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC study compared infection rates in girls 14 to 19 before and after the vaccine became available. The proportion infected with the targeted HPV strains dropped 56 percent, from about 12 percent before the vaccine was sold to 5 percent. That result was for all teens after it was on the market, whether or not they were vaccinated.
Among girls who had gotten the vaccine, the drop in HPV infections was higher " 88 percent.
For the vaccine to be effective, 3 shots have to be given over a period of 6 months. There are two vaccines against HPV, but the study only looked at Gardasil. Both vaccines are approved for use in males and females " ages 9 to 26 for females and ages 9 to 21 in males.
The study involved interviews and physical examinations of nearly 1,400 teen girls in 2003 through 2006 and of 740 girls in 2007 through 2010.
The vaccine's impact was seen even though only 34 percent of the teens in the second group had received any vaccine. That could be due to "herd immunity" " when a population is protected from an infection because a large or important smaller group is immune.
Some parents have balked at having their children and teens vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease out of concern that it could encourage sexual activity. Frieden said the vaccination is meant to protect them when they become adul
I recently ran into a friend I hadn't seen in about 5 years. We were catching up on each other's lives when her teenage son joined us. The last time I saw John he was about 11 years old and full of pre-teen energy and curiosity. This time however, he was quiet and kept his head down when he said hello. When he finally looked up, I saw why he had been avoiding full-face eye contact. John had a pretty severe case of acne. Not a few pimples, but entire areas on his face that were red and dotted with large pustules and cysts. It looked painful.
Typically, acne isn't a serious medical condition. It comes and goes throughout life and is more of an annoyance than anything else. For some though, acne can cause emotional distress and lead to scarring of the skin and psyche.
Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications that when combined with a consistent face cleaning routine, keep breakouts to a minimum.
But for some people, teens in particular, acne can progress to the point where OTC medications don't control the problem. Pediatricians are often called upon to help teens come up with a plan of treatment.
There is a range of medications that can clear up even severe cases of acne, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Writing in the May issue of its journal Pediatrics, the group throws its support behind new guidelines from the American Acne and Rosacea Society that detail how to treat acne in children and teens of all ages.
That "all ages" part is important because acne is becoming more and more common in pre-teens, too, said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfield, the lead author of the AAP report. One study of 9- and 10-year-old girls found that more than three-quarters had pimples.
A possible reason for why kids are experiencing breakouts at a younger age is that, on an average, boys and girls are starting puberty earlier than in past generations says Eichenfield.
Its really amazing how far this country has come in its recognition that smoking is bad for you. During the 1950s almost half of American adults were lighting up, today that number is below 20 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Lung Association says that 68 percent of adult smokers say that started smoking regularly when they were age18 or younger.
Tobacco use among middle and high school students is gradually going down, but far too many kids are still giving cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco a try.
Kids are attracted to smoking for a lot of reasons. I dont think anyone of any age thinks cigarettes smell good or finds a brown slimy wad of spit attractive, but kids will overlook the gross factor if they really want to try a cigarette.
So how do you talk to your child about the dangers of smoking without it going in one ear and out the other? What if YOU smoke- how do you tell your child not to smoke?
The number one reason for smoking among kids is peer pressure. Kids want to fit in. So, the first conversation to have when you talk to your child about smoking is how to respond to peer pressure other than just saying no thanks. Other suggestions might be It makes my clothes and breath smell bad. I dont like that, Smoking can make you sick and I dont like being sick, You may want to smoke but I really dont want to. If you are going to smoke, please dont do it around me, and smoking will make my teeth yellow. Give your child some optional ways to respond when pressure is applied. Create a plan and even let your child practice responding by role-playing.
Another approach to talking with your child about smoking is to ask them why they think kids start smoking. There are actually a lot of reasons kids (and adults) start smoking. Anxious or worried kids like the calming affect it has on them. A lot of girls think smoking will help them lose weight. Top
Drugs given to help manage ADHD can be very effective when they are prescribed for kids who have been properly diagnosed. However, when these drugs are prescribed as study aids they can become addictive and can produce serious cardiac risks.
Dr. William D. Graf, professor of pediatrics and neurology at Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT, and five colleagues became concerned when they noticed the increasing number of physicians prescribing ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall- to perfectly healthy children.
The dramatic increase in the number of children taking stimulants and other "study drugs," as they are popularly known, seems to back up his anecdotal evidence.
The Yale doctors have publicly taken a position on this topic in a paper that offers guidance to physicians and discusses the ethics of prescribing stimulant drugs to children who do not have ADHD in order to help them do better in school.
The paper suggests that physicians have a moral obligation to prevent misuse of medication.
It concludes that the practice of "neuroenhancements" isn't justifiable. It adds that the prescription of these drugs is inadvisable because of "numerous social, developmental, and professional integrity issues."
"We are a highly competitive society, and we know some physicians are prescribing these at a parent's request," Graf said. "Other parents have told us they felt doctors pushed these drugs on their children."
Several studies have looked at the increase number of students who are taking study drugs. A 2004 study notes that in some U.S. schools "the proportion of boys taking methylphenidate (Ritalin) exceeds the highest estimates of the prevalence of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder."
Another study suggests that about 16% of the population of some high schools and colleges use prescription drugs as study aids.
Other college professors have noticed the increase in college students
Weve all read about, maybe even experienced it ourselves, children being teased, harassed and bullied if they are overweight. The heavier the child, the more intense the negative trifecta becomes. This topic often comes up when discussing classmate and peer bullying, but a new study also looks at obese or overweight children who feel bullied by adults in authority (coaches, gym instructors, teachers,) and their own parents.
Researchers from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, gave 350 teens that had enrolled in two national weight loss camps, questionnaires to fill out. The teens were questioned about weight-based victimization including duration, location where the abuse occurred, who the perpetrators were and what kind of abuse they suffered.
Not surprisingly, results showed that a high percentage of bullying and teasing occurred at school (64%.) Most participants reported weight-based victimization for at least one year (78%) and 36% were teased and or bullied for 5 years.
The teens also noted who was responsible for the bullying. 92% said peers (classmates) and friends (70%.) Then the groups switched to the adults in their lives. PE teachers / sport coaches came in at 42%, followed by parents at 37% and teachers at 27%.
The types of teasing and or bullying were verbal teasing (75-88%), relational victimization (74-82%), cyber-bullying (59-61%) and physical aggression (33%-61%.)
Looking at these statistics, the saddest one of all is parents at 37 percent.
What we see most often from parents is teasing in the form of verbal comments, says Rebecca M. Puhl PhD, the studys lead author.
Some of the remarks made to teens about their weight come from well-meaning parents who are actually trying to encourage their child to lose the extra pounds. But other studies have shown " and former teens who are now adults can verify " that teasing, harassing and bullying by parents and relatives can lead
Current treatment for teens that struggle with mental disorders and thoughts of suicide doesn't appear to be helping according to a new study. Adolescents need a more intuitive treatment plan and for the most part, that's not what they are getting.
The Harvard study found that around 1 in every 8 U.S. teens have thought about suicide and nearly 1 in 25 either made plans to or actually attempted suicide.
Researchers collected data on suicidal behaviors from 6,500 teenagers, aged 13 to 18. They also had the teen's parents fill out questionnaires.
Just over 12 percent of the teens said they had thought about suicide and 4 percent said they had created a plan or attempted suicide.
"What adults say is, the highest risk time for first starting to think about suicide is in adolescence," said Matthew Nock, a psychologist who worked on the study at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Researchers found that almost all the teens who had thought about or attempted suicide had a mental disorder including, but not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD or abused alcohol or drugs.
While 89 percent of the teens were in treatment for various mental disorders, researchers discovered that 55 percent didn't start their suicidal behavior until after treatment began.
Mental health professionals are not simply meeting with adolescents in response to their suicidal thoughts or behaviors, the authors said.
Nock also noted that the results were both encouraging and disturbing.
"We know that a lot of the kids who are at risk and thinking about suicide are getting (treatment)," he told Reuters Health. However, "We don't know how to stop them - we don't have any evidence-based treatments for suicidal behavior."
Nock believes that treatment is important for teens that have mental disorders or may be having thoughts of suicide, but that treatment needs to be better.
Ask people to raise their hand if they like math and you most likely won't see a lot of hands in the air. When asked why math isn't particularly popular, many will answer that they just never have been very good at it. A new study suggests that for kids who are not mathematically inclined, studying harder and being strongly motivated to improve can be the key to making better grades.
While genetics may play a role in math comprehension, motivation and study habits can play a more important role during the all important high school years according to the study. It's not how smart we are; it's how motivated we are and how effectively we study that determines growth in math achievement over time, says Kou Murayama, a post-doctoral psychology researcher at University of California Los Angeles and lead author of the study published in the journal Child Development.
Murayama and his colleagues studied math achievement among roughly 3,500 public school students living in the German state of Bavariain. Students were followed from 5th grade through 10th grade and were given annual standard math tests in each grade. They were also given IQ tests and questioned about their attitude towards mathematics.
Researchers wanted to know if the kids believed that better math skills were achievable through hard work and if they were interested in math for its own sake. They also wanted to know if their approach to math included incorporating mathematical concepts into their every day life, or if they relied more on memorization to pass tests.
The psychologists said they were surprised that a higher IQ did not predict new learning ability. Intelligence measured by the IQ test did not indicate how likely students were to understand new concepts or to add new skills. Children with high IQs did have higher test scores but how much new material the kids learned throughout the years the study was conducted, was not related t
By now most people know that concussions can be dangerous. A new study suggests that children who suffer concussions may be more susceptible to long-term effects from their injury.
Researchers studied 30 children between the ages of 10 and 17 years old. Bran scans and cognitive tests were performed. Half of the children had recently suffered concussions in which they'd lost consciousness and shown an altered mental state.
Children who had suffered concussions showed small deficits in their cognition and changes in their brains' white matter, compared with those who hadn't suffered brain injuries. White matter consists of nerve fibers surrounded by the insulating fat called myelin. These results were found 2 weeks after their injuries.
Three months later, brain scans showed that the children who had suffered concussions still had changes in their white matter.
"These findings may have important implications about when it is truly safe for a child to resume physical activities that may produce a second concussion, potentially further injuring an already vulnerable brain," study researcher Andrew Mayer, of the University of New Mexico, said in a statement.
Studies with adults who have had concussions have shown that the brains white matter changes, but this study showed that the damage to white matter in children who had concussions was greater. Mayer said that children may be more susceptible to the effects of brain injuries.
Dr. Christopher Giza, a brain injury researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, said future studies should investigate whether the structural changes revealed in the brain scans have clinical implications for kids. Giza was not involved in the study.
"Further work is needed to determine whether the changes in white matter present at four months represent a prolonged recovery process or permanent change in the brain," Giza said in a statement.
Previous studies have shown tha
Ask any teen if they'd like to be lean and muscular and most likely they are going to say yes. In fact more and more teenagers are turning to diet, exercise and protein powders to help them muscle up and lose weight. They are also using steroids and other muscle enhancing drugs in hopes of developing the perfect body.
Although boys most often use these techniques, girls are also turning to steroids in hopes of achieving more muscle and less fat.
A study released in the online journal Pediatrics, reports that 2,793 middle school and high school students were asked about the methods they used to increase their muscle size or tone. The average age was 14 and the students went to schools in the Minneapolis -St. Paul, Minnesota area.
The results showed that:
- 68% of boys; 62% of girls changed their eating habits.
- 91% of boys; 81% of girls exercised more.
- 35% of boys; 21% of girls used protein powders or shakes.
- 6% of boys; 5% of girls used steroids.
- 11% of boys; 6% of girls used muscle-enhancing substances such as creatine, amino acids, hydroxyl methylbutyrate (HMB), DHEA, or growth hormones.
The data did not indicate whether the diets were healthy or not or what type of exercise was adopted.
The findings suggests that "increasing muscle strength or mass or tone is an important piece of body image for both boys and girls," says lead study author Marla Eisenberg, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. "Kids really are seeing that as a goal."
Some experts on child health are concerned that kids are exercising, dieting, drinking protein drinks and using steroids not because they want to have a healthy physique but because they are trying to create what they think is the cultural ideal of the perfect body. Health and fitness are not their main objectives, looking a particular way is.
With an epidemic of adolescent obesity in thi
Millions of people watch YouTube and other social media videos. There's everything from music to medical procedures, comedy clips and cooking shows you name it and there's a video for it.
There are also videos showing teens and pre-teens choking each other and beating each other to a bloody pulp. These are videos that encourage dangerous and sometimes deadly games. It appears the more outrageous you can be, the bigger audience you'll have. Unfortunately a lot of kids end up in emergency rooms or worse, dead.
Last week a 15-year-old boy died while copying a YouTube video he and his friends had seen. While standing, he passed out, and fell forward crashing into an empty drinking glass. His collarbone broke the glass and a shard sliced through his interior and exterior jugular vein. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital. It's called the choking game.
The asphyxiation-to- get-high videos are popular with young adults, teens and even preteens.
Other popular games include jumping off a moving vehicle, salt and ice, extreme fighting, the cinnamon challenge and hitting someone over the head with a folding chair.
Dr. Thomas Abramo, the chief of pediatric emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he sees all of it in his ER. Although teens have acted on risky behavior fads throughout his 30-year career, he said he's seeing trends catch on faster than ever before, and he thinks it's because of YouTube and social media.
"If you get one kid doing it, you tend to see more kids doing it," said Abramo, who said two of his patients have died playing the choking game. "The spread of the event is definitely faster."
One challenge that scares Abramo involves being hit on the head with a bench or a folding chair to "see if you can take it," he said. A lot of the time, they can't.
"Fractures, concussions, lacerations," Abramo said. "Just the things you would think would happen."
Teens and pre-teens may be puffing on cigarettes less, but they are inhaling pot a lot more. Adolescent marijuana use has increased in the last decade and that's not good according to a new study that suggests teens that smoke pot may suffer a considerable decline in IQ that lasts into adulthood.
In a New Zealand study, more than 1,000 adolescents who began smoking marijuana before age 18, showed an 8 point drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38. The average IQ is 100 points. A drop of eight points represents a fall from the 50th percentile to the 29th percentile in terms of intelligence.
As a part of the study, IQ tests were performed at age 7,9,11 and 13, most likely before any marijuana use then again at age 38. The decline in IQ was seen only in the participants who began using marijuana regularly before the age of 18.
Family members and close friends were also asked to complete questionnaires about the 38 year-olds. The questions pertained to any trouble they might have noticed about the participant's ability to stay focused, any memory loss or the ability to function socially.
The eight-point drop was noted in the subjects that were habitual users smoking marijuana at least four days per week. People who started smoking in adolescence but smoked less often still had a hit in their IQ's, but it was less pronounced than the group that used it early and persistently.
On the other hand, kids who never smoked marijuana actually gained one IQ point on average.
Madeline Meier, lead researcher and a post-doctoral associate at Duke University, said that persistent use of marijuana in adolescence appeared to blunt intelligence, attention and memory. More persistent marijuana use was associated with greater cognitive decline.
Collectively, these findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects, Meier writes