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Signs of ADHD linked to heavy screen time

TEENAGERS devote much time to using mobile devices.  They spend a third of their leisure time on devices. Teens are seen texting even at the dinner table. Young people who spend a lot of time using digital media show a small increase in symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study says. If a kid is a heavy media user, maybe parents should have a conversation about why they like it so much.
The study monitored ADHD symptoms in a group of nearly 2,600 high school teenagers. Students who used multiple types of digital media multiple times a day were roughly twice as likely to report new symptoms of ADHD over a two-year period than their less digitally active classmates, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Facebook use linked to drops in well-being
Studies have linked digital media like social networks to changes in mental health before. Facebook use, for instance, has been linked to drops in well-being, but it’s hard to say what the cause is. In depression studies, one possibility is that depressed people who find it difficult to socialize are substituting online interaction for real-world interaction, which means the internet isn’t causing the depression at all.
It’s possible that the emerging symptoms of ADHD are driving kids to the instant gratification of digital media. It could also mean that the constant distractions of the internet make it harder for adolescents to learn patience, impulse control, and focus, and lacking those things are hallmarks of ADHD.

Not a doomsday scenario
“It’s not a doomsday scenario. It shouldn’t add to the moral panic about technology,” says Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the study. But it is a reason for parents to talk to their kids about their motivations for and reactions to using technology.
Michael Rich, the director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital who also did not participate in the study, agrees. “We want to do more than just wring our hands and say, ‘Oh me, oh my. This is not the ‘50s anymore,’” he says. “Is this how we are evolving as a species? And is this a bad thing to do, or is this actually going to be helpful for the future?”

Smartphones provide ready distractions
 The study is the first to take a long-term look at ADHD in the modern media environment, where smartphones provide ready distractions whether we want them to or not. Researchers led by Adam Leventhal, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, surveyed high school sophomores at 10 different schools in Los Angeles County. More than 2,800 teens completed one questionnaire about ADHD symptoms and another about their digital media use.
The ADHD survey asked students to evaluate whether statements like “I’m easily distracted” or “I don’t listen when spoken to directly” applied to them. The students also filled out a survey ranking how often they used 14 different types of digital media — like checking social media sites, texting their friends, streaming TV or movies, or playing games.
Students who already had significant ADHD symptoms in the first survey were eliminated from the study because the researchers wanted to figure out which came first: the ADHD symptoms or the digital media use. The nearly 2,600 students who didn’t have significant ADHD symptoms continued on and retook the same surveys periodically over the next two years.

Nearly 81 percent
The team found that nearly 81 percent of the students reported using at least one form of digital media multiple times a day (often social media or texting). With each additional digital media platform the students reported using frequently — like streaming TV or playing games — their odds of experiencing ADHD symptoms climbed.
The 495 teens who reported infrequently using digital media had a 4.6 percent chance of reporting ADHD symptoms in the follow-up surveys. That likelihood almost doubled to 9.5 percent for the 114 students who reported using seven of the 14 digital media platforms frequently. And it climbed to 10.5 percent for the 51 students who said they used all 14 platforms multiple times a day.
— Internet

Comment

TEENAGERS devote much time to using mobile devices.  They spend a third of their leisure time on devices. Teens are seen texting even at the dinner table. Young people who spend a lot of time using digital media show a small increase in symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study says. If a kid is a heavy media user, maybe parents should have a conversation about why they like it so much.
The study monitored ADHD symptoms in a group of nearly 2,600 high school teenagers. Students who used multiple types of digital media multiple times a day were roughly twice as likely to report new symptoms of ADHD over a two-year period than their less digitally active classmates, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Facebook use linked to drops in well-being
Studies have linked digital media like social networks to changes in mental health before. Facebook use, for instance, has been linked to drops in well-being, but it’s hard to say what the cause is. In depression studies, one possibility is that depressed people who find it difficult to socialize are substituting online interaction for real-world interaction, which means the internet isn’t causing the depression at all.
It’s possible that the emerging symptoms of ADHD are driving kids to the instant gratification of digital media. It could also mean that the constant distractions of the internet make it harder for adolescents to learn patience, impulse control, and focus, and lacking those things are hallmarks of ADHD.

Not a doomsday scenario
“It’s not a doomsday scenario. It shouldn’t add to the moral panic about technology,” says Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the study. But it is a reason for parents to talk to their kids about their motivations for and reactions to using technology.
Michael Rich, the director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital who also did not participate in the study, agrees. “We want to do more than just wring our hands and say, ‘Oh me, oh my. This is not the ‘50s anymore,’” he says. “Is this how we are evolving as a species? And is this a bad thing to do, or is this actually going to be helpful for the future?”

Smartphones provide ready distractions
 The study is the first to take a long-term look at ADHD in the modern media environment, where smartphones provide ready distractions whether we want them to or not. Researchers led by Adam Leventhal, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California, surveyed high school sophomores at 10 different schools in Los Angeles County. More than 2,800 teens completed one questionnaire about ADHD symptoms and another about their digital media use.
The ADHD survey asked students to evaluate whether statements like “I’m easily distracted” or “I don’t listen when spoken to directly” applied to them. The students also filled out a survey ranking how often they used 14 different types of digital media — like checking social media sites, texting their friends, streaming TV or movies, or playing games.
Students who already had significant ADHD symptoms in the first survey were eliminated from the study because the researchers wanted to figure out which came first: the ADHD symptoms or the digital media use. The nearly 2,600 students who didn’t have significant ADHD symptoms continued on and retook the same surveys periodically over the next two years.

Nearly 81 percent
The team found that nearly 81 percent of the students reported using at least one form of digital media multiple times a day (often social media or texting). With each additional digital media platform the students reported using frequently — like streaming TV or playing games — their odds of experiencing ADHD symptoms climbed.
The 495 teens who reported infrequently using digital media had a 4.6 percent chance of reporting ADHD symptoms in the follow-up surveys. That likelihood almost doubled to 9.5 percent for the 114 students who reported using seven of the 14 digital media platforms frequently. And it climbed to 10.5 percent for the 51 students who said they used all 14 platforms multiple times a day.
— Internet


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JUST TO SAVE HUMANS
Keep half of Earth reserved for wildlife

WILDLIFE is very much important for survival of humans. Biodiversity is the basis of ecosystem to which human well-being is closely linked. No feature of Earth is more complex, dynamic, and varied than the layer of living organisms that occupy its surfaces and its seas.  It's not just about saving wildlife, says Jonathan Baillie of the National Geographic Society, one of the authors. It's also about saving ourselves."We are learning more and more that the large areas that remain are important for providing services for all life," he says. "The forests, for example, are critical for absorbing and storing carbon."
If humans want to avoid mass extinctions and preserve the ecosystems all plants and animals depend on, all governments should protect a third of the oceans and land by 2030 and half by 2050, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity. So say leading biologists in an editorial in the journal Science.
At present, just 3.6 per cent of the planet's oceans and 14.7 per cent of the land is protected by law. At the 2010 Nagoya Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity, governments agreed to protect 10 per cent of the oceans and 17 per cent of land.

Extinction crisis
But this isn't nearly enough, says Jonathan Baillie. He and his coauthor, Ya-Ping Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, want governments to set much bigger targets at the next major conference in 2020."We have to drastically increase our ambition if we want to avoid an extinction crisis and if we want to maintain the ecosystem services that we currently benefit from," says Baillie. "The trends are in a positive direction, it's just we have to move much faster."
It's very difficult to work out how much space is needed to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem benefits, because there's so much we don't know about life on Earth - like how many species there are. However, most estimates suggest that between 25 and 75 per cent of regions or major ecosystems must be protected. And we should err on the side of caution when setting targets.
Could we feed a global population that may reach 10 billion people by 2050 if half the planet is set aside? We won't be able to do so if we don't, says Baillie. "That's why we need an intact planet," he says. "If we want to feed the world's population, we have to be thinking about maintaining the ecological systems that allow us to provide that."

Which areas should we protect?
"There is no doubt we need far more land and sea secured for conserving and retaining nature," says James Watson at the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Australia. "Targets like 50 per cent are in the right ball park when it comes to the minimal amount of area needed to conserve biodiversity."
"The key thing is to protect the right areas," says Jose Montoya of the Station for Theoretical and Experimental Ecology in Moulis, France. "If we merely protect a proportion of the territory, governments will likely protect what's easy, and that's usually areas of low biodiversity and ecosystem service provision."
"We have to do both," responds Baillie. "I don't think they are mutually exclusive."
— Internet

Comment

WILDLIFE is very much important for survival of humans. Biodiversity is the basis of ecosystem to which human well-being is closely linked. No feature of Earth is more complex, dynamic, and varied than the layer of living organisms that occupy its surfaces and its seas.  It's not just about saving wildlife, says Jonathan Baillie of the National Geographic Society, one of the authors. It's also about saving ourselves."We are learning more and more that the large areas that remain are important for providing services for all life," he says. "The forests, for example, are critical for absorbing and storing carbon."
If humans want to avoid mass extinctions and preserve the ecosystems all plants and animals depend on, all governments should protect a third of the oceans and land by 2030 and half by 2050, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity. So say leading biologists in an editorial in the journal Science.
At present, just 3.6 per cent of the planet's oceans and 14.7 per cent of the land is protected by law. At the 2010 Nagoya Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity, governments agreed to protect 10 per cent of the oceans and 17 per cent of land.

Extinction crisis
But this isn't nearly enough, says Jonathan Baillie. He and his coauthor, Ya-Ping Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, want governments to set much bigger targets at the next major conference in 2020."We have to drastically increase our ambition if we want to avoid an extinction crisis and if we want to maintain the ecosystem services that we currently benefit from," says Baillie. "The trends are in a positive direction, it's just we have to move much faster."
It's very difficult to work out how much space is needed to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem benefits, because there's so much we don't know about life on Earth - like how many species there are. However, most estimates suggest that between 25 and 75 per cent of regions or major ecosystems must be protected. And we should err on the side of caution when setting targets.
Could we feed a global population that may reach 10 billion people by 2050 if half the planet is set aside? We won't be able to do so if we don't, says Baillie. "That's why we need an intact planet," he says. "If we want to feed the world's population, we have to be thinking about maintaining the ecological systems that allow us to provide that."

Which areas should we protect?
"There is no doubt we need far more land and sea secured for conserving and retaining nature," says James Watson at the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Australia. "Targets like 50 per cent are in the right ball park when it comes to the minimal amount of area needed to conserve biodiversity."
"The key thing is to protect the right areas," says Jose Montoya of the Station for Theoretical and Experimental Ecology in Moulis, France. "If we merely protect a proportion of the territory, governments will likely protect what's easy, and that's usually areas of low biodiversity and ecosystem service provision."
"We have to do both," responds Baillie. "I don't think they are mutually exclusive."
— Internet


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