Adolescent chimpanzees share some of the same risk-taking behaviors as human teens, but they may be less impulsive than their human counterparts, according to new research. The study gets at age-old nature/nurture questions about why adolescents take more risks: because of environment or because of biological predispositions?
In April 2022, research published in the medical journal JAMA stated that even low levels of drinking could slightly increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Now, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has released a report warning that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume for young people or adults. “Science is evolving, and the recommendations about alcohol use need to change,” CASA says. “Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle.” For young people who are under the legal drinking age, CASA says they should delay alcohol use for as long as possible, or don’t drink at all.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Teens who reported feeling optimism, happiness, self-esteem, belongingness and loved were more likely to reach their 20s and 30s in good cardiometabolic health compared to teens with fewer of these positive psychological assets. The association was especially strong among Black youth.
Last week, fans were shocked when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was later reported that Hamlin had suffered a cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating properly. Doctors explained that, when hit with enough blunt force, at a specific point in the heartbeat cycle, a healthy heart could start beating so fast that it stops pumping blood. Dr. Comilla Sasson, an emergency medicine physician in Denver, told NBC News, “It’s not about how hard of a hit it was. It’s actually about the timing of when the blow happens.”
According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) claims the lives of over 2,000 children and teens in the U.S. each year. It’s also the leading cause of death in young athletes. Although SCA can happen during freak accidents, like Hamlin’s injury, it is typically caused by undetected, preexisting heart conditions. Doctors say many young people aren’t aware that they may be at risk, so annual physical evaluations are an important way to catch heart abnormalities before they cause serious health problems.
Many people use the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to make changes. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is living healthier, but studies show that most people give up on their goals within a few months. Experts say the way to build healthy habits is to have a plan and start with small changes that you can do regularly. For example, if you want to cut back on sugary drinks, you could start by swapping one can of soda for one glass of water each day. As you get used to less sugar, it will be easier to increase the amount of water you drink and stick to your goal. Studies also show that writing down your goals can help you stay focused on what you want to achieve.
Thirteen-year-old Shayna Walker of Burlington, Vermont, is an artist who loves animals. She painted a few portraits of her friends’ dogs as birthday presents, and then realized she could use her talent to help her community. She offered to paint portraits of other people’s pets with the goal of raising some money for the Chittenden County Humane Society. Within hours of posting her project on social media, she had over a dozen requests and has already raised more than three hundred dollars for the animal shelter. “My goal, I think, was one hundred,” she told a Vermont news station. “It really surprised me that the first customer gave 100 dollars. I was like, ‘Already past it, that’s great!’”
A new study in the medical journal Pediatrics says there has been a steady increase in the number of children and teens who visited emergency departments to get help for suicidal thoughts. Visits to the ER with suicidal thoughts increased 59 percent from 2016–17 to 2019–21, and about a quarter of those visits resulted in hospital stays. Study co-author Dr. Audrey Brewer said many of the young people who were hospitalized with suicidal thoughts had other mental health problems like anxiety, depression and substance use.
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or hopeless, help is available. Consider talking to a sibling, a friend’s parent, or a teacher or school counselor. You can also contact the U.S. 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988, or Talk Suicide Canada by calling 1-833-456-4566.
The past decade has seen a global surge in adolescent use of e-cigarettes/vaping, cannabis, and prescription opioids not-taken-as-prescribed. Relying on detection through informal observation is quickly becoming a thing of the past. A new article provides health care professionals and parents concrete steps for screening, detection and intervention.
A new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science says the brains of U.S. teens physically changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and show signs of aging faster than normal. Researchers from Stanford University compared MRI scans of 163 teens, with half of the scans taken before the pandemic and the other half at the end of 2020. The scans taken during the pandemic showed the teens’ brains had grown in the areas that can help manage fear and stress and control access to memories, and thinning in the part of the brain that controls skills such as concentration and time management. More research will be needed to know if these changes are permanent or temporary effects of the pandemic.
Does stress during pregnancy impact children's cell aging, and does race matter? The answer is yes, according to a new study.
The unprecedented shutdown of classroom learning caused undue stress, low levels of social inclusion and low satisfaction with school for many -- and mental health issues for some, according to a new study.
Just before midnight on November 19, 2022, a 22-year-old gunman entered Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and killed five people. At least twenty-five others were hurt before two club patrons were able to subdue the gunman and prevent him from injuring others. President Joe Biden called attention to the increase in violence against the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, saying, “Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often.”
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions after a traumatic event, even if you weren’t personally involved. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your feelings. You can also find free, anonymous, and confidential helplines that provide counseling and support on our Hotlines
One aspect of hormonal contraceptives' effect on the teenage body remains a mystery -- whether and how they modify the developing brain. New research in young rats links synthetic hormones found in birth control pills, patches and injections with disordered signal transmission between cells in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that continues to develop throughout adolescence.
Financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic took a distinct toll on adolescent mental health and contributed to depressive symptoms, according to new research. The study found the effect was most pronounced in low-income adolescents but also affected all income groups who experienced financial strain due to loss of income.
Recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly one in nine middle and high school students used tobacco products in 2022, including nicotine pouches and smokeless tobacco. E-cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product among teens for the ninth year in a row, and cigars were the most commonly used combustible tobacco product. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of illness and death in the world, and nearly all tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood.
Eighteen-year-old Finn Conner was leaving the Boston Celtics game with his dad when he heard someone screaming for help. He immediately ran over to the Charles River, where another person was struggling to save an injured man from drowning. Finn got into the water to offer support and helped bring the man to shore where EMTs were waiting. Finn recalled not thinking in the moment and just wanting to help. "It was just sort of like an instinct,” he told a Boston news station. “It feels good to help people like that, you know?”
Alison Appleby was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was sixteen years old. Her service dog in training, Brady, helps her by monitoring her stress and blood sugar levels and alerting her to potential seizures. With no prior experience, Appleby decided to enter the Miss Dallas Teen pageant to have fun and advocate for people with disabilities. After competing against six other contestants, she was crowned Miss Dallas Teen USA 2022. Brady was by Appleby’s side for the entire pageant and was even presented with a small crown of his own.
Appleby wrote on her Instagram, “When I signed up for this pageant, a random stranger told me, ‘You can’t do that, you have a service dog. Pageant girls don’t have disabilities!’ Well, here we are!” She plans to compete in the Miss Texas pageant next year and to use her platform to show people that having a disability “doesn’t mean you shouldn’t chase your dreams.”
In 2014, a fundraiser for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—went viral on social media. This fundraiser was called the Ice Bucket Challenge, and it ended up raising over $220 million to help increase awareness of ALS and fund research for a cure. According to the ALS Association, $2.2 million of the money donated through the challenge went toward the funding and development of a new drug called AMX0035, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of ALS. Although the new drug is not a cure for the disease, it does help slow down the effects.
Late last week, Hurricane Ian devastated Cuba and the southeastern United States, causing the most damage in Florida and South Carolina. It was a large Category 4 hurricane with 155 miles per hour (250 km/h) winds that caused at least 137 deaths and displaced at least 40,600 people. It is the deadliest hurricane to strike Florida in eighty-seven years and the twenty-third deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
Since the hurricane dissipated, people across the country have been donating money and supplies to those affected by the storm. Volunteers in Florida have been working to transport supplies to communities affected by Hurricane Ian and help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by cleaning out flooded homes, cutting downed trees, repairing damaged roofs, and removing debris. Organizations like the American Red Cross and local community groups have also helped displaced people find temporary housing. In the event of a natural disaster, it is important to listen to updates and instructions from local authorities about how to respond to emergencies in your area, and you can find helpful tips online about staying safe during extreme weather.