High-Intensity Exercise Boosts Teen Health, Study Says

An hour of physical activity every day can make a big difference in the health of teenagers, but a recent study discovered that short bursts of high-intensity activity may lead to a better outcome than moderate exercise.

exercise teens children cheerleaderThis was discovered by a group of scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK, when they looked into the health stats of 19 teenagers who were made to drink milkshake with high fat in the morning and during lunch. The adolescents engaged in varying exercise routines ranging from rest phase to moderate exercise to high-intensity workouts.

Results showed that high-intensity exercise routines led to better blood sugar level, lipid metabolism, and blood pressure. “The intensity of accumulated exercise may therefore have important implications for health outcomes in youth,” the researchers said in a news item. The study proves essential in understanding the impact of high-intensity activity in kids and teens. “Children and adolescents tend to perform brief bouts of exercise. This study shows that the intensity of this pattern of exercise is important, with high-intensity providing superior health benefits than moderate-intensity exercise,” according to study senior author Dr. Alan Barker.

The complete results and details of the research are reported in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental.

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Medical Marijuana Legalization Decreased Usage By Teenagers

As more states welcome medical marijuana use, a recent study discovers that this rise in accepting cannabis for medical treatment does not lead to more teens getting high.

teen skating marijuanaA group of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York investigated more than 1 million records of teenagers spanning 24 years worth of data from a nationwide study to determine a potential link between legalization of medical marijuana in U.S. states and teenage marijuana use. “Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalises medical marijuana,” said study lead author Dr. Deborah Hasin via a news release. Surprisingly, states that did not legalize medical marijuana were found to have higher rates of teen marijuana use. “Rather, up to now, in the states that passed medical marijuana laws, adolescent marijuana use was already higher than in other states,” Hasin added.

Dr. Kevin Hill from Massachusetts’ McLean Hospital alcohol and drug abuse division wrote a commentary accompanying the study, which was published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal. “The growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase adolescent use, and future decisions that states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be at least partly guided by this evidence,” Hill said.

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Teenagers Who Use Social Media More Successful In Quitting Smoking

Are you concerned that your teens are finding it hard to quit smoking? Try letting them use a social media app designed to help them kick the habit.

social media teenagers smokingAccording to a study conducted by a team of scientists led by Bruce Baskerville of the University of Waterloo’s Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, the social media campaign Break It Off was found to be more effective in helping users quit smoking, as compared to those who use more traditional methods such as a phone hotline. The study followed young adults between 19 and 29 years old, with some of them using Break It Off and the others made to use smoking cessation phone hotline Smokers’ Helpline.

A three-month monitoring revealed that 32 percent of Break It Off app users were able to quit smoking, which is significantly better than the 14 percent success rate of the phone hotline. “These finding suggest that the creators of public health campaigns need to evaluate how they use social media channels and social networks to improve health, especially with regards to younger demographics,” said Baskerville in a news item.

The research team said that a possible reason for this is the inclination of the current generation of users to social media and away from phone hotlines. “Because they are such heavy users of social media, these platforms provide an alternative and successful way of reaching smokers who are less likely to relate to other cessation programs,” Baskerville added.

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Alcohol Affects Brain Development In Teens, Study Says

Teenagers are undergoing several physiological developments, but a recent study showed that incorrect habits may disrupt the normal changes in them.

teen alcohol abuseA comprehensive study by researchers of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) revealed how alcohol consumption can affect the brain development in adolescents. Study lead author Susan Tapert said that the team’s study is one of the largest of its kind to investigate the effect of alcohol on teenage development. “This study was a little bit larger than previous studies since it started out with 130 adolescents before they had tried any alcohol and followed them over several years,” Tapert said in a news item.

Effects of alcohol were imminent in the way teenage girls were doing in school. “For girls who had been engaging in heavy drinking during adolescence, it looks like they’re performing more poorly on tests of spatial functioning, which links to mathematics, engineering kinds of functions,” Tapert said. Meanwhile, male teens may find difficulty focusing on things when they drink alcohol. “For boys who engaged in binge drinking during adolescence, we see poor performance on tests of attention — so being able to focus on something that might be somewhat boring, for a sustained period of time,” Tapert added.

The reason behind this, according to the study proponents, is the ongoing set of changes in teenage bodies. “Adolescent brains are still developing even into their early 20s, and alcohol can harm how the brain develops,” the study lead author expressed.

Details of the study were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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Drugs That Influence Genetic Switches Could Address Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction has always been a difficult issue to address, but a recent study sheds light on a possible relationship between genetic makeup and the use of epigenetic drugs to stop cocaine addiction.

cocaineA joint study by the McGill University and Bar Ilan University investigated the effect of using epigenetic drugs to stop addiction to cocaine. The research team conducted lab experiments on mice, which were trained to crave for cocaine using a visual or auditory cue. The rats were then observed for evidence of cocaine withdrawal for up to 30 days. Results showed that changes in the mice’s genetic switches were at their highest as the withdrawal became longer.

The researchers injected RG108, an inhibiting agent for DNA methylation, to the mice during the lengthy withdrawal just before the triggering light or sound could cause them to crave for cocaine. “We discovered that injecting the drug RG108 just before the animals were exposed to the light cue after the long withdrawal not only stopped the addictive behavior of the animals, it also lasted for a longer period. This suggests that a single treatment with RG108 could reverse or perhaps cure drug addiction,” said study co-author Moshe Szyf in a news report.

The effect of the epigenetic drug was most evident during the withdrawal phase, according to co-author Gal Yadid. “During this period of withdrawal, hundreds of genes changed their state of DNA methylation including genes that were known before to be involved in addiction,” Yadid added.

Details of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Michigan Senate Unanimous Against E-Cigarette Use By Minors

The state of Michigan is only one of seven U.S. states to allow sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but the state senate plans to change that.

e-cigaretteMichigan Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge sponsored the proposed law to stop the sale of electronic cigarettes to underage buyers. “I don’t believe children should be able to buy this in gas stations and grocery stores,” Jones said in a news release. He fears that when the ban is not set into motion, Michigan will be in a unique bind. “We will soon be the only state that allows stores to sell electronic cigarettes to minors… This has got to stop. We don’t want kids to get addicted to nicotine,” Jones said.

State Gov. Rick Snyder issued a veto against the initial draft by legislators, saying that e-cigarettes must be regulated in the same manner as traditional tobacco products. “Electronic cigarettes are nicotine-delivery devices that resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes and share a common ingredient, which is the highly addictive chemical nicotine that is derived from tobacco,” the Michigan governor said the veto statement.

The 37-0 vote by the Senate pushes the legislation to the House for deliberation.

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