Sex, drugs and Facebook: Seattle Children’s social media research team takes on teen health

Dr. Megan Moreno once met a teen who went to bed every night with her smartphone tucked under her pillow and its alarm clock set to 2 a.m. When the phone woke her in the middle of the night, she’d grab it, open her Facebook app, delete any new mean comments, and go back to sleep.

Being a teenager isn’t what it used to be. Neither is being a parent.

Moreno, an adolescent pediatrician and a researcher at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, leads a team that’s conducted more studies on social media and teen health than anyone — more than 30 studies in six years.

This week she released her first book: Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook: A Parent’s Toolkit for Promoting Healthy Internet Use.

Ten years since MySpace came on the scene, parents of teens know a lot more than they used to about social media. They know it’s not a passing fad, a childish waste of time or — remember this one? — a hiding place for pedophiles.

It’s easier for parents to understand what teens are doing on the social Web, now that so many parents are there themselves. But the dilemmas they face as parents are not getting easier.

Full story of facebook and teen health at Geek Wire

Teens who beat obesity at risk for eating disorders

Adolescents who were once overweight or obese are at high risk of developing an eating disorder, but receiving appropriate treatment is often delayed because of their weight history.

Teens who were once overweight or obese are at a significant risk of developing an eating disorder as they lose weight, but identification and treatment of the condition is often delayed because of their weight history, researchers say.

“For some reason we are just not thinking that these kids are at risk. We say, ‘Oh boy, you need to lose weight, and that’s hard for you because you’re obese,’ ” says Leslie Sim, clinical director of the eating disorders program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and lead author of a case study report in October’s Pediatrics, published online today.

In the report, Sim and colleagues review two cases in which teens with a history of obesity developed severe, restrictive eating patterns in the process of losing weight. But indications of an eating disorder went unidentified and untreated by medical providers for as long as two years despite regular check-ups.

Full story of teens who beat obesity and eating disorders at USA Today

Pot use presents long-term danger to teens’ brains, study suggests

A new study suggests that smoking marijuana may not be as safe as many teen users seem to think it is.

Montreal researchers say they’ve found evidence that pot-smoking interferes with the healthy development of teens’ brains and puts them at risk for developing a dependence to the drug, as well as for mental health problems.

Whether marijuana is addictive or a “gateway drug” to harder drug use has long been up for debate. Researchers at the University of Montreal decided to review more than 120 studies that looked at how pot affects the biology of the brain and the chemical reactions that occur when the drug is used.

They say it’s difficult to confirm that pot use helps contribute to later drug behavior and mental health issues, such as schizophrenia. But they say there is good evidence that the brain changes seen in lab rats given marijuana also occur in humans.

Marijuana interacts with our brain through cannabinoid receptors, which are in brain areas that govern learning, motivation and reward, decision-making, and habit formation. Because the structure of the brain changes rapidly during adolescence, the researchers believe that pot use during this time can greatly influence the way those parts of the brain develop.

Full story of pot on teen’s brains at CTV News

Doctors can help prevent teen smoking, panel says

Children and teens may hear about the dangers of smoking from parents, teachers and friends, but they may be less likely to take up the deadly habit if they hear the message from at least one more important person: their doctor.

That’s the conclusion of an influential panel publishing new recommendations today in two medical journals, the Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. In a number of studies, kids were less likely to try smoking if they got some kind of counseling or education from their doctors or other health care providers, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

“We didn’t recommend any particular intervention, because a variety of things seem to help,” says panel member David Grossman, a pediatrician and researcher at the Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington-Seattle. “The important thing is that the message is coming from a physician and that’s an important voice … even to kids.”

The report says “even very minimal interventions,” such as a doctor’s office mailing a series of prevention guides to parents and kids, could make a difference.

Full story of teen smoking at USA Today

Drawing cartoons empowers teen with mental disorders

On the surface, Zack Hix is like many 18-year-olds.

The Simpsonville, South Carolina, teen’s favorite foods are cheeseburgers and pizza. He listens to rock and punk music. He loves to race mountain bikes, play video games, watch Georgia Bulldogs football with his dad and — perhaps most importantly — draw.

But Zack also suffers from a laundry list of mental health issues, including both intermittent explosive- and obsessive-compulsive disorders, which make him different from other kids his age and threaten to inhibit his ability to function as an independent adult.

Zack is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, in addition to the IED and OCD. He also has Tourette syndrome and tics that are the result of a Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection in the fifth grade.

Full story of cartoons and teens with mental disorders at CNN

Mental Health: A Teen`s Guide To Survive Stress

Teen's Guide to Survive StressStress- Good or Bad

Your father is stressed with a big project at his workplace. But he is excited. Your mother is stressed taking care of your sick grandmother and working. Quite often she is tired and cranky.
Everyone is exposed to stress everyday. But feeling the stress is your body`s reaction to something you may or may not want to do. Feeling stressed is normal. Sometimes stress is good. It keeps you focused and extracts the best out of you like the excitement before a game or getting ready for a dance. But sometimes stress falls heavily on you. You can`t sleep or feel sad and lonely. Don`t ignore these feelings. Stress needs your attention. Deal with it. Get help.

Signs of stress

Normally you are pretty cool about things. But some days you don`t feel like your own self. Your mother asks what`s wrong and your best friend tells you to get over it. But you just want them to leave you alone. Are you stressed out? Only your body or your emotions will let you know.

Why are you stressed out?

Full story of teens surviving stress at TeleManagement

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Straight-Up Teen: Eating disorder

Eating Disorders Among Teens“You look fat!” “You are way too skinny!” “Why can’t you look like her?” “He is fit, why aren’t you?” These comments and many others just like them are so damaging to people, but especially teenagers who are still trying to find their place in this world.

In finding their place in the world, teens, today, are going to extreme measures to acquire a certain look. Most do not realize that the look they are seeking just does not exist. The current trends in modern technology could even make me look like a supermodel. Such technological tricks-of-the-trade such as Photoshop and airbrushing, market this “ideal look” with the promise that anyone can and should look like the model being portrayed. The problem is, that though the model, in the picture, is a real person, they do not look like that in real life.

There are many things teenagers do to gain that perfect look. Altering their diet is one of them. I believe it is safe to say that most people do not intend to have an eating disorder. Their intentions are to look a certain way. Usually they are trying to improve the way they look. A distorted view of their self-image and the attempt to control their diet turns into something they cannot handle. The next thing you know they are out of control.

Full story of teens eating disorders at Standard Journal

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Sleep Deprived Teens More Likely To Eat Unhealthy Foods

Sleep Deprived Teens Eat Unhealthy FoodIt should come as no surprise that there are health-related consequences to being sleep deprived. But with American teens marked as the most sleep deprived in the world, it’s vital that we pay attention. A new study has found that those teens that are also the ones making eating unhealthy foods.

Researchers at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine a 1996 sample of 13,284 teenagers that were an average age of 16 at the time. They found that 18 percent of teens reported fewer than seven hours of sleep each night. These teens were also more likely to consume fast food two or more times per week and less likely to eat healthy food including fruits and vegetables.

“Not only do sleepy teens on average eat more food that’s bad for them, they also eat less food that is good for them,” Dr. Lauren Hale, associate professor of preventative medicine at the School of Medicine, said in a press release. “While we already know that sleep duration is associated with a range of health consequences, this study speaks to some of the mechanisms, i.e. nutrition, and decision making, through which health outcomes are affected.”

Full story of sleep deprived teens and foods at Medical Daily

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Eating disorders plague teenage boys, too

Eating Disorders Also Plague Teen BoysBryan Piperno was just 9 years old when he began keeping his secret.

The Simi Valley youngster tossed out lunches or claimed he ate elsewhere. As he grew older, he started purging after eating. Even after his vomiting landed him in the emergency room during college, he lied to hide the truth.

Piperno, now 25, slowly fended off his eating disorder with time and care, including a stay in a residential treatment facility. But surveys show a rising number of teenage boys in Los Angeles now struggle with similar problems.

High school boys in Los Angeles are twice as likely to induce vomiting or use laxatives to control their weight as the national average, with 5.2% of those surveyed saying they had recently done so, according to the most recent survey data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles Unified School District. They are also more likely to have used diet pills, powders or liquids than boys nationwide.

Full story of eating disorders and teen boys at The Los Angeles Times

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Underage Drinking Laws on Campus

Underage Drinking Laws on CampusIt is no secret that alcohol use is prevalent on college campuses. According to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 80 percent of college kids drink alcohol, and over 50 percent of them have partaken in binge drinking in the last two weeks alone. Because less than half of  the collegiate student body is over 21 (the legal drinking age in the United States), most schools are left with a choice; they can either enforce underage drinking laws on and around their campuses, or they can ignore the underage drinking that takes place in their vicinity.

For the time being, these are the only two options universities have, although many (including the organization Choose Responsibility) advocate for lowering the drinking age to 18, thereby circumventing the issue altogether. Choose Responsibility claims that keeping the “legal age 21 is not working–not in urban America, not in rural America, not on college campuses.”

Many college students see a lowering of the drinking age as their legal right, including Wisconsin University student Ryan Perlic, who says that “I can die for my country and vote for my country, yet my country does not consider me responsible enough to drink.”

Full story of underage drinking laws on campus at Huffington Post

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