Children Are Having Exposure To Pornography Younger And Younger, But Little Guidance Is Being Offered By Adults In Navigating It
Experts say that watching pornography can rewire a child's brain. But even though it's unlikely adults will succeed in blocking them from watching it, there's little help being offered to the young people to help them navigate it more safely. In other public health news: the flu, sugar intake for infants, hibernation, mental health, sleep, exercise and more.
Porn And America's Kids: 'Their Sexuality Has Been Hijacked'
Ryan, a senior in high school, recalls his early sexual encounters as attempts to replicate an idea of sex he says was shaped by pornography. "Me getting on top of her, and holding her down, and doing all this stuff that I had seen and was just trying to implement and just trying to replicate ... as a man who had only experienced porn, that's what I perceived to be the only way that you could do it." The internet brought with it a boom in access to free pornography, and although many sites warn that the content is for adults 18 and over, there is very little standing in the way of accessibility. (Sherman, 11/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
One Problem With Flu Shot? Not Enough People Get It
Each year, influenza sickens millions of people. But typically, too few Americans get the flu shot to shield everyone from the contagious disease. For maximum protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that 70% of Americans should get the shot. In the last decade, fewer than 50% were vaccinated annually, and sometimes, the level dipped as low as 42%. (McGinty, 11/15)
The New York Times:
Infants And Toddlers Eat Too Much Sugar, Researchers Say
Nearly all American toddlers and about two-thirds of infants consume added sugar, despite nutritionists’ recommendations that children avoid the sweetener, according to a government study released this week. Researchers, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that from 2011 to 2016, 98 percent of toddlers ages 12 to 23 months consumed added sugar in fruit drinks, baked goods, candy and ready-to-eat cereals. Black toddlers ate the most added sugar — about eight teaspoons a day — while toddlers of Asian descent consumed the least, about 3.7 teaspoons a day. (Holson, 11/14)
The New York Times:
Hibernation Works For Bears. Could It Work For Us, Too?
There are three major seasons in the life of a bear: the active season, beginning in May; a period of intense eating, in late September, and hibernation, from January into spring. Physiologically, the hibernation period is the strangest, and the most compelling, to researchers. When a bear hibernates, its metabolic rate and heart rate drop significantly. It does not defecate or urinate. The amount of nitrogen in its blood rises sharply, without damaging the kidneys or liver. The animal becomes resistant to insulin but doesn’t suffer from fluctuations in its blood sugar levels. (Lockwood, 11/15)
The Unspoken Pandemic
The stigma against mental illness is a persistent problem that the law isn’t currently built to solve. Congress has tried, by requiring insurers to cover mental health care and expanding the Americans With Disabilities Act to cover some conditions. But, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, 80% of sufferers still don’t seek help because they’re ashamed or embarrassed. Not only a human tragedy, this unspoken pandemic is a drag on the economy. Depression alone costs America $210 billion a year, half of which is borne by employers as lost productivity. (11/14)
Why Good Employers Want You To Put Down The Phone And Get More Sleep
Companies, aware that sleep deprivation costs the US economy more than $400 billion each year in lost productivity, are trying to change that, says Debra Wein, CEO and founder of Wellness Workdays, a Hingham company whose offerings include sleep quality assessment programs. She says her company, which has worked with Columbia Construction and Cape Cod Healthcare, has seen a jump in requests for sleep-related seminars and workshops in the last two years. (Keene, 11/14)
Exercise Helps Astronauts Cope In Space. Could It Help Cancer Patients Too?
Astronauts go through a lot of training in preparation for spaceflights, including intensive exercise routines to stay fit and stave off the harmful effects of space travel. Researchers writing in a commentary published Thursday in Cell say fitness programs could also have an application in cancer patients, who go through physiological changes that are similar to astronauts. (Chakradhar, 11/14)
The New York Times:
Germany Mandates Measles Vaccine
Parents in Germany must vaccinate their children against measles or face fines of several thousand euros under a law passed on Thursday that aims to stop the spread of a disease that has returned in recent years after decades of decline. The law, which is to take effect from March next year, will require all children seeking to attend preschool to prove that they have been immunized or risk losing their placement. (Eddy, 11/14)
Kaiser Health News:
Surgeon General’s Marijuana Warning Omits Crucial Context
Speaking about a recent federal advisory on marijuana, Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, put a new spin on long-standing admonitions about the drug. “Marijuana has a unique impact on the developing brain. It can prime your brain for addiction to other substances,” Adams said at a Washington, D.C., substance abuse conference held late in August and sponsored by Oxford House, a recovery center network. (Luthra, 11/15)