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What’s New

Check out the latest additions to Teen Health & Wellness!

Scientific American: Resource Articles

Teen Health & Wellness has partnered with Scientific American magazine to offer reviewed content about important research, health, technology, science, the environment, and society. These high-interest articles have been reviewed and selected by Rosen’s team of editors and provide additional and unique content regarding Teen Health & Wellness topics to further support health and science inquiry and instruction.

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New Articles

  • Social Media Anxiety addresses information overload, FOMO (fear of missing out), self-esteem, and other mental health consequences of excessive use of social media.

 

Notable Article Updates

  • Concerns about bird flu (avian influenza, or H5N1) increased in April 2024 when it was discovered that a strain of bird flu had spread among cattle in the United States, even appearing in inactive, fragmented traces of the virus in the U.S. milk supply. CDC officials warn against consuming dairy products made from raw milk, but note that the risk of H5N1 passing to humans through pasteurized milk products is low. We’ve updated our Avian Flu article with the latest developments.

  • A study released in April 2024 found a direct link between exercising in teenage years and improved mental wellbeing in adulthood. The ages 15 to 17 were the most critical period for developing lifelong exercise habits, with 58 percent of young people who regularly exercised between those ages still exercised regularly in later life. We’ve updated our article on Staying Fit with the good news that exercising in your teenage years can improve your mental health as an adult.

  • Nicotine pouches are a type of smokeless tobacco product that have become increasingly popular with teens and young adults. In 2023, the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey estimated that about 1.5 percent of middle and high school students had used nicotine pouches. Pouches contain nicotine and other fillers, and come in mint, fruit, and candy flavors. Users place the pouch under their upper lip and the nicotine is absorbed through their gums and saliva. We’ve updated our Tobacco and Nicotine article to address the dangers of this increased use of nicotine pouches.

  • A survey released in March 2024 by the EdWeek Research Center found that 55 percent of students have self-diagnosed mental health issues using social media sites like TikTok and Instagram. As with everything online, there are both risks and benefits to using social media to improve one’s mental health, which we discuss in our updated article on Depression and Mood Disorders.

  • Diabetes among young people continues to be a major health concern. About 24,000 young people are diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Increasingly, diabetes specialists are calling for mass screening of children for type 1 diabetes to help head off diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening. Our Diabetes article covers the essentials of the disease, its diagnosis, its treatment, and the challenges with living with diabetes.

  • If you’re not familiar with Delta-8, you should be. It’s a chemical compound that naturally occurs in marijuana and hemp plants, but most Delta-8 available in commercial cannabis products is synthetic and much more powerful than the natural kind. Its popularity among young people is on the rise, as are visits to poison control centers due to adverse health effects from taking the compound. Our Marijuana article keeps you up to date on Delta-8 and marijuana more generally.

  • Teens and children in North American consume a lot of chocolate, perhaps not knowing that a lot of children in West Africa produce it. Child labor among small farms is a common problem in Ivory Coast and neighboring West African countries, where most of the world’s cocoa is produced. Soaring chocolate prices due to poor harvests in 2024 have also brought attention to the environmental impacts of cocoa production. We’ve updated our Fair Trade article with this and other examples of how young people’s consumer habits affect environmental and working conditions around the world.

  • Teaching financial literacy to young people means keeping up with the increasing variety of employment types and ways in which money is transacted. We’ve updated our Parent Is Out of Work article to explain gig work jobs at businesses like Uber and DoorDash. We’ve also updated our First Bank Account and First Investments article to give young people advice on protecting their privacy while using digital wallets like Venmo or Cash App.

  • As noted in Food Allergies and Sensitivities, in February 2024 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first medication that can help protect against multiple severe food allergies, including milk, eggs, and nuts. The drug, called Xolair, is not taken during an allergic reaction. Instead, it is taken at regular intervals, such as every few weeks, to help reduce the risk of allergic reactions over time. Xolair is not a cure, so people taking the drug must continue to avoid foods they are allergic to.

  • Also in February 2024, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new findings on why teens might experiment with drugs and alcohol. The CDC’s study, the first of its kind, expanded on limited research previously done on why teens use substances. CDC researchers surveyed teens who were receiving treatment for substance abuse. We cover this and other recent surveys in an entire article dedicated to the links between Drugs, Alcohol, and Emotional Health.

  • Dengue fever is endemic in most tropical regions and is a constant threat to people’s health. Brazil is currently experiencing an enormous outbreak of dengue fever, and public health experts predict a surge in cases in the Americas, including Puerto Rico. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2024 says a single-dose vaccine called Butantan-Dengue is highly effective at preventing dengue fever, even after just one dose. We cover the news as well as explain the nature of dengue and other tropical infectious diseases in Dengue Fever, Zika, and Chikungunya.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear oral argument beginning on March 26, 2024, over access to the drug mifepristone, which is used in combination with another drug to produce a medical abortion. Mifepristone is used in over half of all abortions performed in the United States, but in April 2023 a federal judge in Texas suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug. We cover the case in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in our article on Reproductive Rights.

  • In January 2024, the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media released results of its “The State of Kids and Families in America” survey. It found that girls are more likely than boys to rank mental health challenges as most important. The majority of teens rate the mental health of youth in their community as just fair or poor. When asked about causes of the youth mental health crisis, teens cite social media and bullying/discrimination as major contributing factors. We keep our Depression and Mood Disorders article up-to-date with the most recent findings on the mental health challenges young people face today.

  • The low cost of energy drinks comes at a high medical price. Our article on Sodas, Sports Drinks, and Bottled Water cites numerous reports that have demonstrated the short- and long-term health effects of sugary beverages. Raise the price of those drinks and consumption drops. According to a January 2024 report published in the medical journal JAMA Health Forum, after Boulder, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle placed taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, purchases of these drinks declined by 33 percent.

  • In January 2024, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared measles a “growing global threat,” with twenty-three new measles cases appearing in the U.S. in the previous month. Most of the cases were in unvaccinated children and teens. We’ve updated our Measles and Rubella article to reflect increasing concern among global health authorities about declining vaccination rates against these otherwise preventable diseases.

  • Our Diet Drugs article reports that in January 2024, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open found that almost one in ten teens had used ineffective and potentially harmful nonprescription weight-loss products like laxatives, diet pills, supplements, and diuretics. These types of products are promoted heavily on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram, but they typically haven’t been tested for safety or proven to produce meaningful weight loss. The study found that girls were more likely to seek out weight-loss products than boys, but boys were also at risk from using pre-workout products that are marketed as stimulants.

  • Since a December 2023 autopsy of the late actor Matthew Perry revealed that he had died due to “acute effects of ketamine,” the powerful anesthetic has come under increased scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Once a popular party drug in the 1990s, ketamine has increasingly been used to treat depression and other mental health disorders, but its dangers are real. Our Ketamine article contains the latest clinical research about the drug.

  • In 2023, Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of new treatment for teens with severe alopecia areata (hair loss). The drug, called Litfulo, inhibits the pathway in the immune system that attacks the body’s hair follicles. It helps to lower inflammation at the hair follicle and has shown significant hair regrowth—including scalp hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes—in patients who participated in clinical trials. It is the first FDA-approved treatment for kids and teens twelve and up. Our article on Alopecia Areata contains the latest information.

  • In December 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new treatments for sickle cell disease, including one that uses CRISPR gene-editing technology. The FDA has approved these therapies for anyone twelve and older suffering from the most severe form of sickle cell disease. Scientists will study the patients who receive the treatments over time, but for now they say this represents an important advance in treating this life-threatening disease. Keep up with the latest groundbreaking developments in our Sickle Cell Disease article.

  • Canada has a new Suicide Crisis Helpline, a 24/7 service that gives everyone in Canada immediate, real-time support by calling or texting 988. Support is available in English and French, and teens and Indigenous people can choose to access services specifically geared to them. The United States has its own 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, also available 24/7 by calling or texting 988. There are also many free, anonymous, and confidential helplines that provide counseling and support. You can find more ways to get help on our Hotlines page.