Archive for June, 2015

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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