Social media posts about suicide games may spread for months before parents know
Reuters (3/8, Rapaport) reported, “Social media posts about suicide games may spread for months online before mainstream media reports help alert parents to the potential threat,” researchers concluded after collecting “95,555 social media posts and news articles about the blue whale challenge” across “social media and mainstream news outlets from 2013 to 2017.” The study revealed that “by the time the first U.S. news article about this suicide game appeared, the game had been circulating in English language social media posts for four months and in other languages for nine months.” The findings were published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
U.S. health officials emphasize importance, safety of vaccines
The New York Times (3/6) features an opinion piece by Admiral Brett P. Giroir, assistant secretary for Health and Human Services, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, U.S. surgeon general, that stresses the importance of vaccines and their proven safety. They lament that “misinformation about vaccines is still widely reported,” for which reason they “feel it is crucial to state clearly and unambiguously: Vaccines do not cause autism and they do not contain toxic chemicals.” They conclude, “We are committed to countering the misinformation that fuels anti-vaccine sentiment among parents and legislators who are earnestly trying to protect their children and the public. Science that sits on the shelf has no value. We must take advantage of the lifesaving tools we have to protect our nation’s most vulnerable.”
The consequences of early exposure to TV in the bedroom
Canadian researchers linked having a TV in the bedroom at age 4 to a significantly elevated body mass index and worse eating habits, as well as reduced sociability and increased emotional distress, depressive symptoms, physical aggression and victimization at ages 12 and 13. The findings in the journal Pediatric Research also showed that individual and familial factors didn’t affect the association between early childhood TV exposure in the bedroom and adverse physical and mental health outcomes in adolescence.
Dog-walking associated with increased risk of bone fractures, study suggests
The Washington Post (3/6, Brulliard) reports a new study suggests that dog-walking for seniors can be risky and is associated with increased rates of bone fractures. Data show that “nearly 8 in 10 who suffered fractures were women, and the most commonly broken bones were hips, wrists and upper arms.” The piece says the reason for the association and an increase between 2004 and 2017 in dog-walking related accidents remains unclear, but points out that “the senior population has grown as a percentage of the U.S. population.” The findings were published in JAMA Surgery.
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Price shopping could help consumers save as much as $5,400 annually on asthma inhalers and $102 on hypertension drugs, according to a study conducted by the US Public Interest Research Group. Researchers surveyed over 250 pharmacies in 11 states to determine the prices of 12 drugs for asthma, hypertension and diabetes, and they found that eight of those medicines were 8% to 840% cheaper at smaller, independent pharmacies compared with prices at large pharmacy chains.
Becker’s Hospital Review (3/6)