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Gender and race influences when teens start drinking, smoking and doing drugs

( Cigarette use among white teenagers is substantially higher than among black and Hispanic teenagers, especially at 18 years old, according to Penn State researchers. Alcohol and marijuana use are also higher in white teenagers, and the numbers continue to increase until age 20. Throughout their 20s, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to pick up a cigarette-smoking habit, while the numbers start to decrease for whites. At 18.5 years old, 44 percent of whites surveyed smoked cigarettes, 27 percent of Hispanics did and 18 percent of blacks. However at 29 years old, 40 percent of whites were using cigarettes, 30 percent of Hispanics and 31 percent of blacks smoked. "I think that the most important point is that there are big age-related differences in substance use by gender and race/ethnicity," said Rebecca J. Evans-Polce, postdoctoral fellow, Bennett Pierce Prevention Center. "In particular, African Americans show an increased prevalence in cigarette use much later than white adolescents. We need to think about tobacco prevention interventions that are targeted towards young adults, when use is increasing among African Americans, instead of just for younger adolescents." Evans-Polce and colleagues also found that use of alcohol was higher for males than for females during adolescence. Cigarette and marijuana use were similar between males and females, although slightly higher for male adolescents, the researchers report in a recent issue of Addictive Behaviors. The researchers looked at four sets of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey conducted beginning in 1994, and repeated in 1996, 2001 and 2008 with the same individuals. "Our research corroborated previous research showing differences in when individuals use substances depending on their race/ethnicity and gender," said Evans-Polce. "But seeing the large difference particularly in cigarette use by race/ethnicity was surprising and being able to see this all graphically really brought the point home in a novel way." The researchers used an innovative statistical method to plot the prevalence of substance use among whites, blacks and Hispanics on graphs that tracked the individuals by age and separately plotted the substance use of males and females. "This research is important for targeting interventions for substance use at the right ages and for the right socio-demographic groups," said Evans-Polce. "In order to better understand why these disparities in substance use behavior exist, we need to look at how risk and protective factors for substance use change as individuals age and for different racial/ethnic and gender groups."


Sara A. Vasilenko, research associate, The Methodology Center; and Stephanie T. Lanza, scientific director, The Methodology Center, and research associate professor, College of Health and Human Development, also collaborated on this research. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute supported this work.


Researchers develop tool to understand how the gut microbiome works

HEIDELBERG, 11 March 2015 - Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University in the United States have developed a way to study the functions of hard-to-grow bacteria that contribute to the composition of the gut microbiome. The new method is published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology. "Our method, TFUMseq, is a powerful tool for understanding how the wealth of microbes that we harbour in our bodies are so successful at colonizing us. It provides a general high-throughput approach to identify genes that enhance the fitness of microbes over time as ...

Uncovering the effects of cooking, digestion on gluten and wheat allergens in pasta

Researchers trying to understand wheat-related health problems have found new clues to how the grain's proteins, including gluten, change when cooked and digested. They report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that boiling pasta releases some of its potential allergens, while other proteins persist throughout cooking and digestion. Their findings lend new insights that could ultimately help celiac patients and people allergic to wheat. Gianfranco Mamone and colleagues point out that pasta is one of the most popular foods in Europe and the U.S. Most people ...

Silk could be new 'green' material for next-generation batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have enabled many of today's electronics, from portable gadgets to electric cars. But much to the frustration of consumers, none of these batteries last long without a recharge. Now scientists report in the journal ACS Nano the development of a new, "green" way to boost the performance of these batteries -- with a material derived from silk. Chuanbao Cao and colleagues note that carbon is a key component in commercial Li-ion energy storage devices including batteries and supercapacitors. Most commonly, graphite fills that role, but it has a limited ...

British Psychological Society report challenges received wisdom about mental illness

21st March 2015 will see the US launch of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology's ground-breaking report 'Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia'. The report, which will be launched at 9am at the Cooper Union, Manhattan, NYC by invitation of the International Society for Psychological and Social approaches to Psychosis (ISPS), challenges received wisdom about the nature of mental illness and has led to widespread media coverage and debate in the UK. Many people believe that schizophrenia is a frightening brain disease that makes ...

Brain waves predict our risk for insomnia

This news release is available in French. Montreal, March 11, 2015 -- There may not yet be a cure for insomnia, but Concordia University researchers are a step closer to predicting who is most likely to suffer from it -- just in time for World Sleep Day on March 13. In his study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Thien Thanh Dang-Vu, from Concordia's Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology and PERFORM Center, explores the impact of stress on sleep. Although researchers already know that stressful events can trigger insomnia, the experiment reveals ...

How 3-D bioprinting could address the shortage of organ donations

Three-dimensional bioprinting has come a long way since its early days when a bioengineer replaced the ink in his desktop printer with living cells. Scientists have since successfully printed small patches of tissue. Could it someday allow us to custom-print human organs for patients in need of transplants? An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores the possibility. Matt Davenport, an associate editor at C&EN, points out that for every organ donor in 2012, there were more than eight patients on ...

New mothers more satisfied after giving birth in a public hospital

Women who give birth in a public hospital are more confident parents compared to women who have babies privately, a new Australian study has found. A joint study by Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland, surveyed more than 6400 mums in Queensland, and found women who birth in the public sector were more likely to receive after-hospital health care, in turn boosting their confidence as a new parent, than women in the private system. Associate Professor Yvette Miller from QUT's Faculty of Health and one of the authors of the study published ...

Cochrane Review of effectiveness of point of care diagnostics for schistosomiasis

Researchers from the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group, hosted at LSTM, have conducted an independent review to assess how well point of care tests detect Schistosoma infections in people living in endemic regions. Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is a parasitic disease classified as a neglected tropical diseases (NTD), which is common in tropical and subtropical regions. The traditional means of testing for the disease is microscopy, which is lab based. Point-of-care tests and urine reagent tests are quicker and easier to use than microscopy in the field, and ...

TRMM sees large and more powerful Cyclone Pam, warnings posted

TRMM sees large and more powerful Cyclone Pam, warnings posted
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite saw powerful towering thunderstorms in Tropical Cyclone Pam, indicating the storm was strengthening as it moved through the Solomon Islands. Pam has now triggered warnings in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Zealand. In the Solomon Islands, a tropical cyclone warning was in effect today, March 11, for Temotu, Malaita and Makira provinces. A tropical cyclone watch was in effect for Rennell and Bellona, Central, Isabel, Western, Guadalcanal and the Choiseul provinces. In Vanuatu, a tropical cyclone warning ...

Finding strengths -- and weaknesses -- in hepatitis C's armor

Using a specially selected library of different hepatitis C viruses, a team of researchers led by Johns Hopkins scientists has identified tiny differences in the pathogens' outer shell proteins that underpin their resistance to antibodies. The findings, reported in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest a reason why some patients' immune systems can't fend off hepatitis C infections, and they reveal distinct challenges for those trying to craft a successful vaccine to prevent them. Due to concerns about the rising costs of newly available ...


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