Archive for category Raising Healthy Kids

Depression of Parents Linked To Poor Child Performance in School

Your child’s performance in school may be affected by your depressive tendencies. This was revealed by a recent study that delved into a potential link between parental depression and the child’s scholastic attitude.

child school performance parental depressionA research team led by Brian K. Lee of Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health arrived as this discovery after reviewing depression cases of parents in Sweden, as well as the school records of more than 1.1 million Swedish children born between 1984 and 1994.

Results of the study, as posted in a news report, showed that mothers and fathers who were diagnosed with depression before a period known as the final compulsory school year were more likely to have their kids perform poorly in school. The biggest impact was observed on the depression of the mother, which led to a larger effect on the performance of their daughters in school.

The team believes that their research shows how the psychology of parents can affect how their children act and perform in school “Because parental depression may be more amendable to improvement compared with other influences, such as socioeconomic status, it is worth verifying the present results in independent cohorts. If the associations observed are causal, the results strengthen the case even further for intervention and support among children of affected parents,” the authors said.

The study was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Teens Exposed To Drug Use Show Immediate Antisocial Behavior

A recent study from Duke University in North Carolina discovered a direct effect of drug use exposure on social behavior in teenagers.

peer prescription drug abuseAlcohol and drug use have always been tied to a number of psychological and behavioral problems, but this new study sheds light into a more specific aspect of teen life. “Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” according to study co-author Candice Odgers, who works for the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy.

The study, which was published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, tapped more than 150 teens between ages 11 and 15 to answer a month-long survey series. The study participants were asked to answer the questions thrice a day using their mobile phones. “Connecting with kids via their devices provided a unique view into their daily lives and, we hope, more valid data as we were capturing events, experiences and behaviors as they happened,” said study lead author Michael Russell in a news item. The survey results were analyzed to check for patterns in terms of exposure to drug use and tendencies of antisocial behavior.

Results showed that adolescents who witnessed use of drugs were more susceptible to experience antisocial misbehavior such as theft, property damage, and violence. “Our findings support the idea that situations where others are using alcohol or drugs may serve as ‘triggering contexts’ for adolescents’ problem behavior,” the study lead author added.

The findings were more pronounced in study participants who were identified to possess the DRD4-7R genotype, a genetic mark associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Diabetes Risk in Teenagers Heightened By Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Before you buy that bottle of energy drink for your kids, check out this latest update from a study by a faculty member of the University of Calgary.

energy drink effect on teensStudy author Dr. Jane Shearer, who works as kinesiology associate at the university, investigated the effects of energy drink consumption on the overall health of teenagers. The study involved 10 male and 10 female teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 who were given one sample each of an energy drink called 5-Hour Energy. For the experiment, the participants were handed a random variant of the energy drink: caffeinated or decaffeinated, with both variants being sugar-free. Forty minutes after drinking the energy beverage, each participant was given a portion of sugar.

Results of the study showed that those who drank the caffeine-containing energy drink variant had 25 percent higher levels of glucose and insulin than the group who consumed decaffeinated drinks. Shearer explained that this might be due to a potential effect of the energy drink in the natural insulin resistance of the body. “If you have a teenager consuming two of these drinks a day and they are susceptible for Type 2 diabetes… Having this dietary habit may promote or accelerate that disease process,” Shearer said in a news release.

Shearer believes that the study could pose as a warning for parents in guiding their children towards avoiding these types of drinks. “We know that about approximately 30 per cent of teens consume energy drinks… We know that about 50 per cent of college-age athletes in Alberta consume energy drinks,” she added.

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Teens With Too Many Facebook Friends More Likely To Experience Stress and Depression

You would think that having a big social circle will lead to a better emotional disposition, but a recent study revealed that having many friends on Facebook might lead to the opposite.

facebook effect on teenagersA team of researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal in Canada followed 88 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, looking into their Facebook use and number of friends. The teens were also tested for levels of cortisol, a hormone that the human body releases as a natural response to stress.

Results showed that teenagers with more than 300 friends on the social networking site exhibited higher levels of cortisol than those with fewer Facebook connections. Study lead author Prof. Sonia Lupien said that this will definitely impact those with many more Facebook friends. “We can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress,” Lupien said in a news release.

Although the researchers explained that having many Facebook friends wasn’t the sole reason behind the increased cortisol level, the social media site was contributory to about 8 percent of the effect.

In terms of depression, Lupien implied that the increase in cortisol levels may lead to depressive tendencies in the future. “Adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on… Some studies have shown that it may take 11 years before the onset of severe depression in children who consistently had high cortisol levels,” Lupien added.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, and may be used as a jumping board for further studies on other age groups. “Developmental analysis could also reveal whether virtual stress is indeed ‘getting over the screen and under the skin’ to modulate neurobiological processes related to adaptation,” the study lead author expressed.

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Level of Stress Hormones Surge in Young Adults After One Can of Energy Drink

A single can of energy drink may look innocent, but a recent study revealed that it can significantly increase the level of stress hormones and blood pressure in young adults.

energy drink effect on young adultsStudy lead author Dr. Anna Svatikova, who works as cardiologist at a Minnesota Mayo Clinic, discovered that after drinking 16 ounces of the “Rockstar Punched” energy drink, there was a 74 percent boost in the level of the hormone norepinephrine, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight action in people. The drink also caused a significant spike in blood pressure. “The worry is that if these responses are seen in healthy young people, perhaps the effects of energy drinks may be more pronounced in people who already have high blood pressure,” Svatikova said in a news release.

The study followed 25 individuals between age 26 and 31 who weren’t diagnosed with heart ailments. The participants were asked to drink either Rockstar Punched or a fake energy drink in two separate days. Results showed that the branded drink caused the norepinephrine level to shoot up more than twice than the people who drank the fake variant.

Svatikova attributes this alarmingly huge impact to Rockstar Punched’s contents, which include “caffeine, taurine, guarana, ginseng and milk thistle extract.”

The study poses as a warning to the general public. “For the consumers, they should use caution when consuming energy drinks, because these drinks may increase their risk of sudden heart problems, even among young people,” the study author added.

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Alarming Percentage of Young Adults Use E-Cigarettes, Says CDC

More than one in every five adults between 18 and 24 years old have tried using electronic cigarettes, according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings were presented as part of the agency’s National Health Interview Survey in 2014, and reported in this news article.

teen e-cigarette useThe survey was conducted on close to 37,000 adults, who were asked if they have tried using e-cigarettes at least once in their lifetime, and if they are currently using the smoking device. Results revealed that about 13 percent of U.S. adults have tried e-cigarettes, while 4 percent have admitted to be using them at the present.

What troubles the agency, though, is the disparity in the usage per age group. While the members of the older generation (i.e. at least 65 years old) have tried the device at least once, the figure for young adults aged 18 to 24 was at 22 percent. In terms of current use, more than 5 percent of young adults admit to use electronic cigs now, significantly higher than the one percent of elders.

Despite the conduct of the survey on an annual basis, this marks the first time that questions on e-cigarette use were asked. “This was the first year that the NCHS has even asked these questions. So we can only speculate as to why, as we watch to see how the trends unfold over time,” said study co-author Charlotte Schoenborn, who also works at the CDC’s U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

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