Is ’13 Reasons Why’ Helping Kids Kill Themselves?

Is ’13 Reasons Why’ Helping Kids Kill Themselves?

MEDPAGE TODAY–Researchers see a link between upswing in suicide info searches and Netflix show. Internet searches linked to suicide spiked following the airing of Netflix’s controversial teen drama “13 Reasons Why,” which tells the story of a high school student who kills herself. Using what they called a “quasi-experimental” approach, researchers compared actual Internet search volumes for 20 queries which included the word “suicide” after the 13-episode television show was released March 31, with an estimate of the number of such searches that would have been expected if the show had not aired (from daily trends from Jan. 15-March 30, 2017). Searches increased for terms associated with suicidal ideation, including “teen suicide,” “how to commit suicide,” and “suicidal thoughts,” as well as for seeking help terms including “suicide hotline,” and “suicide hotline number,” reported John W. Ayers, PhD, of San Diego State University, and colleagues July 31 in a JAMA Internal Medicine research letter. In particular, the analysis showed a 19% cumulative increase in queries for the suicide terms included (95% CI 14%-24%) during the 19 days following series’ online release, “reflecting 900,000 to 1.5 million more searches than expected,” the researchers wrote. “Our analyses suggest ’13 Reasons Why,’ in its present form, has both increased suicide awareness while unintentionally increasing suicidal ideation,” they concluded. The show has been praised as an honest depiction of issues commonly faced by teenagers, including bullying and sexual assault. But it has also been strongly criticized by some mental health practitioners who say it romanticizes teen suicide. Netflix has announced that it will air a second season of the show. “The debate about the potential impacts of ’13...
Increase in sexually transmitted infections amongst Singaporean teenagers, study finds

Increase in sexually transmitted infections amongst Singaporean teenagers, study finds

SINGAPORE — A Singaporean study of 688 sexually active teens has found that there is an increasing pattern of adolescents getting diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Study results According to the Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections Control (DSC) Clinic, results from the study found that 421 teenage boys and girls – aged between 10 to 19 – contracted an STI in 2015, an 8% increase from 2014 where there were just 391 cases reported. Experts commented saying young people are not clueless about protection but they merely opt to engage in sexual activities without using condoms. It was found within this study group there were teens that engaged in these activities before the age of 16 and there were some teenagers who had a few sexual partners prior to reaching adulthood. In 2007, there were 820 cases recorded of such nature and had been steadily reducing until 2015. This study found that generally, over 90% of all adolescent STI cases were made up of those aged 15 to 19. Condom use to prevent STIs Out of the STIs in this study, chlamydia is the most common infection with gonorrhoea being a distant second. Third most common is genital warts. Dr Tan Wei Sheng, deputy head of DSC Clinic relayed his concerns with the lack of condom use amongst the teenagers despite being aware of its beneficial barrier effects against STIs. He said, “Youth today are quite savvy (about sex and contraception), more so than before; but it is not translating into action.” Based on a DSC study published in 2013, 90% of girls and 25% of boys claimed to...
Overcoming colour blindness with glasses and gene therapy

Overcoming colour blindness with glasses and gene therapy

MIMS–Almost everyone knows someone who is colour blind, or more accurately, colour deficient. In fact, colour blindness affects one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women, while one in every six women is a carrier of the gene that causes it. Colour blindness is also more prevalent in males than in females as the most common form of defected colour vision is coded by a gene on the X chromosome. As such, fathers are unable to pass it down to their sons but are able to pass it to their daughters. The three types of colour blindness – protanomaly, deuteranomaly and tritanomaly – have eight specific variations and four degrees of severity – slightly, moderate, strong, and absolute. Generally, people with protanomaly and deuteranomaly colour blindness find it hard to tell the difference between blues and purples or pinks and grays. Greens, yellows, oranges, reds and browns are all a range of similar colours especially in low light. Tritanomaly is much rarer and those who suffer from it have problems with the blue-yellow spectrum, seeing yellows as pale pink and greens as purples. In other words, people with colour blindness can only see about 5% to 10% of the normal colour vision. Studies have also shown that people with colour blindness may react up to 30% slower to colour coded information, which affects their ability to drive or ride a motorcycle.    How the eyes perceive colour Approximately six million retinal cone cells make up the retina and each cell is ‘colour specific’, which responds to light of specific wavelengths and frequencies. Three different types of cone...
Why consulting ‘Dr Google’ is not a good idea

Why consulting ‘Dr Google’ is not a good idea

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 (Bernama) — If you are feeling a little under the weather or come down with a sniffle or find yourself aching all over, what do you do? Grab your smartphone and consult Dr Google? The search engine is, no doubt, a good tool to scour the Internet to find recipes, diet tips, weather report or just about any information on any subject. But to entirely depend on it for information and advice for health issues is going too far as Google does not necessarily have all the correct answers. It may get you the recipe you want or an accurate weather report, but the exact diagnosis and prescription for your health ailment? Not likely and, beware, adhering to the online doctor’s medical advice may land you in further trouble. GOOGLE TAKES ON DOCTOR’S ROLE Commenting on this, Malaysian Doctors Club President Dr Muhammad Hakim Nordin said some people have the tendency to think they need not consult a doctor as they could “google their symptoms” and rely on the information that pops up on their screen. He said by typing keywords like fever or joint pain, a google search would reveal a wide range of possible ailments, including serious ones, and their symptoms. “Reading all that information will make the patient even more anxious, more so if the list of ailmentsinclude cancer or other serious diseases. “It’s important to know that any Internet search can only yield information on common diseases, which may not be applicable to the patient concerned,” he told Bernama. Dr Muhammad Hakim said the so-called informed patient would have doubts if the advice given by his regular doctor contradicted the information he had retrieved from the Internet. He said...
Improved Survival Seen For Premature Infants

Improved Survival Seen For Premature Infants

–Better maternal care practices credited with better outcomes While overall survival rates for premature infants remained relatively stable, survival rates to discharge and survival rates without major morbidities have exhibited slight increases over time, according to a large prospective, longitudinal study of data from extremely premature infants over the last 20 years. Barbara J. Stoll, MD, of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues found that overall survival to discharge for infants at 23 and 24 weeks gestation increased slightly from 2009 to 2012 (27% to 33%, P<0.001 and 63% to 65%, P<0.001, respectively), with smaller increases reported for infants born at 25 and 27 weeks gestation. In addition, the portion of infants surviving without any major morbidity increased from 43% in 1993 to almost 60% (59%) in 2012 (P<0.001), they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There was no change in survival rates for infants born at 22, 26, or 28 weeks, though researchers noted slight year-to-year increases for infants born from 25 to 28 weeks gestation (approximately 2% per year). Not surprisingly, trends in overall survival and survival without major morbidity varied by gestational age. Stoll told MedPage Today she was not exactly surprised by the findings, but was pleased to see these steady increases in survival rates. “We’re cautiously optimistic that outcomes are improving, that a number of morbidities have decreased,” she said. “Although this study doesn’t report long-term outcomes, we hope that the improvements in survival without hospital complications will result in an improvement in long-term outcomes.” Along with improved survival rates, the authors observed improvements in maternal care practices. The most significant...
Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

The human eye is composed of two million working parts and is an important part of our health. But how do you keep them that way? There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you #SeeLifeClearly. Below is an infographic that will allow you to protect your eyes and make sure you are seeing your best....

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