Entries in Youth (14)


Young Cancer Survivors Face Later Health Risks

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While much progress has been made in the field of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment as whole, these same trends are not evident in cancer among young adults.

The National Cancer Institute reports survival rates in young adults have not improved significantly over the years, and a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that young adult and adolescent cancer survivors are at higher risk for developing chronic diseases, engaging in risky health behaviors such as smoking and having mental health problems.

The study authors analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationwide, ongoing phone survey that monitors risky behaviors and health problems.

They compared data from 4,054 adolescent and young adult survivors with more than 300,000 people who never had cancer and found that more young cancer survivors smoked, were obese, had chronic medical conditions such as hypertension and asthma and also suffered from more mental health problems.

"I think it illustrates that this population, which is already vulnerable because of their prior cancer, is continuing to engage in behaviors that lead to long-term outcomes, which can lead to problems down the road for them," said Dr. Eric Tai, the study's lead author and a medical officer with CDC's Cancer Prevention and Control division.

There is evidence from other studies, the authors wrote, that certain risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking may be linked to an increased risk of secondary cancers later on.

Significantly more young cancer survivors also reported having heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes compared with those with no cancer history. "This is consistent with late effects of cancer treatment, including cardiac and pulmonary complications, among childhood cancer survivors," they said.

Tai added that young survivors struggled much more with their psychological well-being, which suggests they may benefit from counseling and care that revolves around promoting healthy behavior after cancer. They may also benefit from interventions that address their risky behaviors, such as smoking cessation programs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teen YouTube Videos Shed Light on Self-Esteem Issues

Naomi Gibson(NEW YORK) -- Naomi Gibson, who lives just outside Denver, always makes a point to tell her 13-year-old daughter, Faye, that she's beautiful. So when she started getting calls from media asking to interview Faye about a video she had posted, she couldn't believe her ears.

"I was floored," Gibson said.

The video was called "Am I Pretty or Ugly?" and asked anyone who watched the YouTube video to comment on her attractiveness.

Faye says that she has long been a victim of bullying. A day does not pass when someone at school does not call her ugly, she said. "I get called a lot of names, get talked about behind my back," she said.

The psyche of a teenage girl is understandably muddled. Faye said she goes to the Web to get opinions from those who don't know her.

"Deep down inside, all girls know that other people's opinions don't matter, but we still go to other people for help because we don't believe what people say," she told ABC News.

What she received were mixed reactions. Though some comments were innocuous enough, others spewed hateful messages toward the young teenager.

One read, "FAYE! Stop asking for this attention. It makes you look so pathetic and dumb."

"It hurt me to see those comments about my daughter," Gibson said.

Faye's case is not unique. Similar videos have been posted in recent months, all asking often-unknown users to comment on whether or not a teen is ugly. Some have accrued thousands of hits, with one video, posted by user sgal01, getting 3,622,844 views. Comments are mixed, with some Good Samaritans imploring the teens to know their self-worth, as more disparaging commentors hurled insults, some even taking a sexual, predatory tone.

But while posting videos like this may be a recent phenomenon, experts say that teens' desire for approval is nothing new.

Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, says that teens have always had a fervent desire to be accepted.

"This is just an extreme version of something that's very normal," Klapow said, adding, "Another piece that's normal is impulsivity. Give them a medium that is so easily accessible and so potent, you get the problem we're seeing."

Dr. Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale, agrees. "There's a part of it that's unfortunate, but there's a part of it that's natural. Technology has made it so that it's not new in principle but new in practice," he said.

Older generations may have used slambooks to share their feelings about peers but, for this technology-inundated generation, the Internet is teenagers' open forum, providing them the comfort and ease to open themselves up to the enormous and often-anonymous cyber-universe.

"The question is not, why would [teenagers] take their problems to the Web? The question is, why wouldn't you take it to the Web?" said Kazdin.

Experts say that part of the appeal of asking viewers open questions comes from the immediate reward the teens get. Rather than sitting down and having a conversation, teenagers can post something on the Internet and immediately experience the thrill associated with seeing a response, whether positive or negative.

But the negative comments can have deleterious effects.

"They have no safe place now," Kazdin said. "As long as they're electronically connected, they become vulnerable."

Gibson had already instituted rules to try and protect her daughter, requiring Faye to tell her when she posted a video so she could screen it. Initially, Faye had been using YouTube to showcase her singing and dancing talents as a way to detract from the bullying that she has been a victim of since she was 11. Now, Gibson says that the privilege may soon be revoked.

"I took away her Facebook and Twitter account because of bullying. She needs to stop putting herself out there. Now people are walking around asking her if she's pretty to her face. It's hurting her more in the long run, I think," Gibson said.

For Faye, the pain of not being accepted is inescapable.

"I feel like I could just go away and never come back…I feel like I've been standing all these years and keep getting torn down," Faye said.

Aside from the emotional damage the video has caused, Gibson has a deeper concern, worrying that the video could be fodder for predators. On several such videos, users have posted lewd and sexual comments.

She has appealed directly to YouTube to try and get these videos and comments taken down. In a statement sent to ABC News by a YouTube spokesperson, YouTube reiterated its policy on underage users:

YouTube is for people thirteen years or older only, and we provide information for teens and parents in our Safety Center on staying safe online. Our Community Guidelines prohibit videos or comments containing harassment, threats, or hate speech -- we encourage users to flag material so we can quickly review it and remove anything that breaks the rules. Videos involving children (anyone under the age of 18) are particularly sensitive. Videos containing children should never be sexually suggestive or violent.

Experts insist that effective parenting can help minimize insecurity, although nothing can completely eradicate it.

"Parents have to get serious about monitoring what their teens and tweens are doing. They've got to monitor regularly. They may not prevent [the video] from going up, but they need to catch it as soon as it goes up. They should use these videos as teachable moments. Perhaps ask the kids, 'How would you feel if you saw these comments?'" Klapow said.

Gibson is hoping that Faye's and her experience can help alert parents before their children's insecurities spiral into something dangerous.

"Hopefully it will open up the eyes of the parents," she said. "The kids aren't letting their parents know what's wrong, just like Faye didn't let me know. Hopefully, parents can get more proactive. [Faye's] internet usage is limited even more, I have the computer locked after a certain time. I've taken all the steps that I needed to take, here's another step I need to adjust and move on from."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teen Boxing Is Too Dangerous, Doctors Say

Photos dot com/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Youth boxing may be too risky, doctors say.  The amount of risks presented by the sport is simply too great, according to a policy statement released by pediatrician groups in the U.S. and Canada.

"Children and adolescents should not be participating in boxing because of the risk of head and facial injuries," statement co-author Laura Purcell, MD says, according to WebMD.

Previous research has proven that brain injury is the biggest risk posed by boxing, with more than half of boxing injuries being concussions, WebMD reports.

Purcell tells WebMD, "There is no evidence that headgear prevents concussions."

Because children's brains are more susceptible to physical harm such as concussions, pediatricians are urging health care professionals to "vigorously oppose boxing for any child or adolescent," citing longer recovery in children.

And doctors are not only worried about risk of brain and facial injury.  The process of "making weight," or any practice employed to qualify for competition in a certain weight class could lead to unhealthy habits of eating or fluid restriction, according to child care physicians.

The two groups, the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, joined efforts in authoring the policy statement published in the journal Pediatrics, updating a 1997 statement by U.S. doctors.  The Canadian Pediatric Society is addressing youth boxing for the first time, according to WebMD.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Drug Makes Mice Live 44 Percent Longer: Hope for a Human Longevity Pill?

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the Fountain of Youth is a legend, a fountain of longer life may be real.

According to an article in Thursday's issue of Scientific Reports, researchers have found a new drug that can make mice live 44 percent longer, on average, than similar mice who didn't get the drug. The drug is a synthetic compound called SRT1720, and it was developed by Sirtris, a pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass.

The New York Times reported that studies are currently testing versions of SRT1720 on humans, the goal being a pill that will make this type of drug's benefits available to the general public.

In 2007, Nightline interviewed David Sinclair and Dr. Christoph Westphal, two of three co-chairs of Sirtris' Scientific Advisory Board. Sinclair was the company's scientific genius, Westphal its primary investor.

The pair shared a passion to capitalize on Sinclair's discovery that resveratrol, an ingredient of red wine, activated the genes that control aging, making mice who received it in his study live 30 percent longer than those who didn't. SRT1720 is designed to imitate resveratrol.

"Think of a Pac-Man controlling things in the cell, and resveratrol binds to the Pac-Man and makes it more active," Sinclair said, "and tells the cell to be more efficient, ramp up metabolic rate and overall health of the cell and [is] resistant to diseases of aging."

"If we are right, these drugs will be enormously successful drugs and treat very important diseases," Westphal told Nightline. "If we're right, this is a game-changer."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ex-NFLer, Dick's Sporting Goods Promote Concussion Tests for Young Athletes

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, who suffered several serious head injuries during his career, is encouraging student-athletes to undergo concussion tests before starting fall sports.

In a 30-second television spot that began airing Monday, Bettis never directly mentions sports gear sold by Dick's Sporting Goods, the Pittsburgh-based chain of more than 400 stores. Instead, Bettis picks up a white football helmet inside one of the stores and says, "You wouldn't get on the field without this, and you shouldn't get on the field without a baseline concussion test either."

He closes the spot by saying, "Let's bench concussions with the help of Dick's Sporting Goods."

An estimated 3.8 million youngsters suffer concussions annually while engaging in sports and recreational activities, putting them at risk for neurological damage. Studies have confirmed that these brain injuries eventually can contribute to such disorders as dementia and Parkinson's disease. They've also been associated with a newly identified condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which has led to suicides among some athletes, especially professional football players.

On Aug. 2, Bettis and Dick's launched the Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education (PACE) program. Their goal is to test about one million middle school and high school athletes at more than 3,300 U.S. schools using a tool called Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT), already widely used by pro football, baseball and hockey teams.

The 20-minute computerized quiz asks about a player's health history, symptoms, sleep and medications. Other questions focus on the ability to remember words and images, as well as reaction time. Responses establish a baseline level of brain function. Athletes then can be retested after a concussion and the results compared to determine when they've recovered. Based on those results, "young athletes will know when to sit out," Bettis says in the ad.

ImPACT was developed in the 1990s by Dr. Joseph Maroon, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who appears in the ads with Bettis. The testing subsequently was improved and computerized by Dr. Mark Lovell, founding director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, and Dr. Michael "Micky" Collins, current director of the program, which sees 10,000 athletes a year, the majority of whom are youngsters.

Physicians contacted by the ABC News Medical Unit generally supported baseline testing for youngsters who play sports. The tests provide a more accurate picture of an athlete's neurological function than what might be apparent for athletes who understate their injuries or claim to be symptom-free because they're eager to resume playing. "Some of these athletes may be hiding symptoms and others may truly feel OK, but the test can pick up subtle deficits," said Dr. Ken Mautner of Emory Sports Medicine Center in Atlanta.

Divine said athletes who return to play too soon and become reinjured are "at greater risk of post-concussion syndrome, an indefinite time period of headaches and other symptoms, cognitive dysfunction, problems with emotions, behaviors, sleep and many other normal day-to-day activities."

Dr. Aaron Karlin, director of the pediatric concussion management program at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, likes the tests because, among other things, the results are "easy to show to parents, athletes, coaches and trainers alike so there is limited argument/discussion."

Dr. Mark Halstead, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Washington University Sports Medicine in St. Louis and team physician for professional, college and high school athletes in the area, said the tests must be properly administered and interpreted. "Whomever purchases the test to use must have a physician or neuropsychologist who is trained in the test," he said. "These tests should not be interpreted by coaches, parents, athletes or any other non-medically trained providers."

Dick's will donate $1 for each pair of sport shoes bought by Sept. 12 in its stores or online. It is pledging up to $1 million for the PACE program, according to the ad running on ESPN, the Discovery Channel, Food Network, VH1, TLC, BET, Oxygen and Golf Channel. The new campaign includes four YouTube videos, including one with Bettis.

He also is among several pro athletes, including Ali Krieger, a defender on the U.S. Women's National soccer team; Daryl "Moose" Johnston, a former Dallas Cowboys fullback; Brian Mitchell, a former Philadelphia Eagles running back; and Doug Flutie, former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots, making in-store appearances and participating in concussion seminars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Movies Show Less Tobacco Use, CDC Study Finds

Michael Matisse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Top-grossing, youth-rated films have significantly slowed the frequency of smoking over the past five years, according to a CDC report released Thursday.

The study found that total on-screen tobacco occurrences fell by 72 percent between 2005 and 2010. The average number of smoking incidents per youth-rated movie decreased from 20.1 to 6.8 during the same time period.

Despite the Hollywood's progress, 45 percent of the top-grossing movies still show tobacco use including 31 percent of youth-rated films.

On Thursday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for Hollywood producers to continue to cut down use of tobacco in films even further.  The organization of pediatric medical specialists also wants the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to approve new rating policies that would give an "R" rating to films featuring tobacco use.

Saying that on-screen smoking is the biggest threat to child health, AAP President O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, doesn't want to compete with glamorized tobacco imagery.

"As pediatricians and parents, we do our best to help kids understand the dangers of tobacco use.  But if we're competing with movies that glamorize smoking to kids, it's an uphill battle," Burton said.

"It’s possible for media companies to change the way they expose children to these images by embracing responsible policies, such as the R-rating, considered to be effective by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those companies that have done so should be commended, and the others should follow suit."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


ECG Screening in Young Athletes Not Very Accurate?

Comstock/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) -- After recent media coverage of a number of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes, some people became louder in their demands for better heart health screening of young athletes -- specifically asking for mandatory electrocardiograms, or ECGs, to be a part of the already required physical exams.  

But the view of many heart rhythm specialists is that the ECG is not an appropriate test as it does not detect the type of heart abnormality most associated in sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.  

A Stanford University study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, gives further support to this view, showing that when it comes to interpreting ECG screens, pediatric cardiologists are only 67 percent accurate.  

Though this study is very small -- involving only 53 physicians reading 18 ECG screens -- the authors conclude that ECGs are not very effective at correctly identifying children with heart defects who should not participate in sports, nor are they any better at clearing healthy ones for physical activity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Diabetes a Major Concern Among Young People

Stockbyte(BOSTON) -- At 20, Erika Rodriguez struggles to do the adult thing and manage the Type 2 diabetes that's remained stubbornly uncontrolled since she was diagnosed in junior high.

She frequently forgets to test her blood sugar and take her medications. Down from 260 pounds to 213 pounds on a 5-foot-3 frame, she's no longer morbidly obese, but a BMI of 38 puts her solidly among obese Americans.

Although she doesn't feel sick, she takes medication to protect her from the silent indications of early kidney disease and remains at risk of the heart attacks, strokes, blindness and eventual amputations that make diabetes one of the most brutal maladies.

Her struggle has become the new face of the nation's intertwined epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, as ever-widening waistlines in tender years have shifted to children and young adults the burdens of a chronic illness once called "adult onset" diabetes because it struck at 40 or later.

Because the disorder can go undetected for years, it's difficult to quantify the numbers of young Type 2 diabetics.

Like many younger patients with diabetes, Rodriguez has had a tough time making lifestyle changes for a diagnosis that blindsided her.

"When they first told me about it, I was in shock," she told ABC News Friday. "I didn't know what I was going to do. I thought, 'oh, my God.' I thought I was going to die."

She has since joined a clinical trial at Harvard's Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, where doctors, nurses and nutritionists regularly implore her to exercise, test her blood sugar and take metformin pills and insulin injections.

Nevertheless, she admits she's largely noncompliant.

"I'm worried. I try to do one thing at a time to be able to change the way my health is now," she said. Perhaps this fall, "in between classes or after classes I could go to the gym and work out."

That youthful denial of potential death and disability down the road troubles diabetes specialists, who say that halting Type 2 diabetes' menacing march into youth requires the discipline and focus to make lasting changes.

Stubborn resistance to change, even among those participating in innovative programs for the disorder, is among topics under discussion at the American Diabetes Association's 71st Scientific Sessions in San Diego, where more than 13,500 people, including Rodriguez' doctor, Lori Laffel, a pediatric endocrinologist at Joslin, are gathered through Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Girl, 5, Becomes Makeup Guru: How Young Is Too Young?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Madison Hohrine of Hurst, Texas, is an expert at applying lipstick, applying blush to the contours of her cheeks and applying mascara to her eyes. She is such an expert, in fact, that millions of people are logging online every day to watch and learn from one of Madison's makeup tutorials.

What they see when one of Madison's videos pops up may surprise them. Madison is just 5, but despite her youth, Madison is a makeup-applying Internet sensation.

Her tutorials on the video-sharing site YouTube, in which she covers everything from her favorite lipsticks, to what beauty products to buy, to how to bring out the colors in your eyes with shadow, have generated over 1.2 million clicks. Her video tutorial on the intricacies of makeup brushes alone was viewed more than 700,000 times.

Madison became fascinated by makeup as so many little girls do, by watching her mom.

"I started watching the YouTube videos and she would watch them with me," Madison's mother, Mary Hohrine, told ABC’s Good Morning America. "And one day she just asked me if she could record herself just to see what she would look like doing the video."

A few brushes of blush and rehearsals in front of the camera later, and Madison was hooked.

Popping up more and more frequently next to Madison's videos on YouTube are those of other young girls, ages 3 to 11, who, like Madison, are just as well-versed in mascara as they are the fairytales and alphabet letters more familiar to childhood.

That young girls are both using grown-up cosmetics and airing their makeup tips online has some parenting experts raising their eyebrows.

"It's weird for a little girl to know about contouring and makeup and angles," Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of the book Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be, said to GMA.

"We have a society where we sexualize little girls, almost from birth on," she said.

In an age where celebrities, makeover shows and beauty pageants are all the rage, the trend is putting back in focus the question of whether little girls and makeup is too cute, or too much too soon. Experts such as Levkofk believe the young girls offering makeup tips online, and the public's fascination with them, are the result of today's pressure-filled, beauty-obsessed society.

"The fact is all these Toddlers & Tiaras shows, the products, whether it's push-up bras for tween girls or shapeups for girls to firm their butts, all of this sends the message that our girls aren't good enough," said the New York City-based psychologist.

"It's the message that our girls aren't valued."

But that is a message Mary Hohrine feels confident her daughter is not receiving.

"She is a normal 5-year-old," said Mary. "It's the same thing as if she's playing dress-up."

Mary says that does not mean she is not aware of the dangers of letting her daughter grow up too fast and so enforces strict rules when it comes to allowing Madison free reign with the blush, eye shadow and lipstick she flaunts online.

Though makeup made her famous, Madison is not allowed to use products or wear any makeup on a daily basis.

"When she asks to be putting makeup on every day, then I'll be getting worried," said Mary.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CDC Report Finds Fewer Youths Are Having Sex

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fewer teens and young adults are having sex, according to a report on sexual behavior, attraction, and identity released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which presented updated findings from the national survey of family growth between 2006 and 2008, found that 27 percent of males and 29 percent of females between the ages of 15 and 24 reported never having sex.  The new percentages represent an estimated five percent rise from 2002, when similar data was last released.

Among the report's other findings, which did not differ from 2002, are:

-- More than 50 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 who reported having oral sex engaged in this behavior prior to having vaginal intercourse

-- 13 percent of women, but only 5.2 percent of men, reported having same-sex contact in their lifetime

-- 3.5 percent of women reported they were bisexual compared to 1.1 percent of men

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio