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Excessive use of smartphone may increase suicide risk in teens

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KATHMANDU — Teenagers who spend more time on smartphones and other electronic devices may be at the higher risk of developing depression and suicidal tendencies, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from the Florida State University in the US said screen time should be considered a modern-day risk factor for depression and suicide.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, showed that teens who spent more time on the devices were less happy than those who spend more time on nonscreen activities like sports and exercise.

“There is a concerning relationship between excessive screen time and risk for death by suicide, depression, suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts,” said Thomas Joiner, from the Florida State University.

“All of those mental health issues are very serious. I think it’s something parents should ponder,” he added.

The researchers discovered 48 per cent of teenagers who spent five or more hours per day on electronic devices reported a suicide-related behaviour compared to 28 per cent of adolescents who spent less than an hour using electronic devices.

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Those who focused more on nonscreen activities like sports and exercise, talking to friends face to face, doing homework and going to church were more likely to be happy.

Depression and suicide rates for teens between the ages of 13 and 18 increased dramatically since 2010, especially among girls, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study identified excessive use of electronic devices as a likely culprit.

According to CDC statistics, the suicide rate increased 31 per cent among teenagers from 2010 to 2015, while a national survey shows that the number of adolescents reporting symptoms of severe depression rose 33 per cent.

Those increases were largely driven by teenage girls.

Their suicide rate soared 65 per cent and those suffering severe depression increased 58 per cent.
The rate of suicide-related behaviours — feeling hopeless, thinking about suicide or attempting it– increased 14 per cent.

With PTI Inputs

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Health

Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes. Representational image.

KATHMANDU — It is known that diabetes increase a person’s risk of kidney disease. But, now a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true which means Kidney dysfunction also increases the risk of diabetes.

The researchers deduced that a likely culprit of the two-way relationship between kidney disease and diabetes is urea. The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

The nitrogen-containing waste product in blood comes from the breakdown of protein in foods. Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

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“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes .

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, is published December 11 in Kidney International journal.

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