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Negative experiences on social media may increase depression risk : Study

Gorkha Post

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Negative experiences on social media may increase the risk of depression among young adults, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.

The finding, published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, may be useful for designing interventions and clinical recommendations to reduce the risk of depression.

“We found that positive experiences on social media were not related or only very slightly linked to lower depressive symptoms. However, negative experiences were strongly and consistently associated with higher depressive symptoms,” said lead author Brian Primack, MD, PhD, dean of the Honors College and director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at Pitt.

College students who reported more negative interactions online were more likely to have symptoms of depression. However, positive social media experiences did not lower depression risk.

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“Our findings may encourage people to pay closer attention to their online exchanges. Moving forward, these results could assist scientists in developing ways to intervene and counter the negative effects while strengthening the positive ones,” Primack added.

Unsettling experiences on social media may leave you feeling more than just anti-social — they might raise your risk for depression, research suggests.

Primack further said that the notion that negativity packs a stronger punch is not an exclusively online phenomenon.

“There is a theory called ‘negativity bias’, which suggests that negative things we encounter in the world are often more powerful than positive ones,” he said.

“For example, you might be taking four different classes in college, and you might have done very well in three of them. But it is that fourth class that you did very poorly in that takes up nearly all of your mental energy.” But, he continued, there’s an “argument for why the online world might particularly lend itself to negativity bias. This is because the online world tends to be completely oversaturated with false positivity. People get jaded to all of the ‘likes’ and all of the enthusiastic happy birthday wishes. But, when there is an angry or negative comment, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb and to feel particularly bad.”

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The study participants were enrolled full-time at the University of West Virginia in 2016. About two-thirds were women, nearly three-quarters were white and about half were single. All were between the ages of 18 and 30, at an average age of 20. The study authors said about 83 percent of all social media users fall within this age range.

The respondents indicated how much of their social media experience tended to be positive and how much negative. The study participants decided for themselves what constituted a good or bad online experience, without any instruction from the research team.

A second questionnaire assessed the presence of depressive symptoms.

The researchers found that for every 10 percent increase in unpleasant social media experiences, the risk of developing symptoms of depression rose by 20 percent.

The study authors noted that depression is the leading cause of disability around the world.

With Agency Inputs

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Health

Type 2 diabetics can reduce cardiovascular disease risk

Raghu Kshitiz

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With proper treatment and not smoking, individuals with type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study in Sweden.

Individuals with type 2 diabetes have 10 times the risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke, and five times the risk for premature death compared with the control group.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at University of Gothenburg in Sweden said that the increased risks could be theoretically eliminated.

“The study shows that patients with type 2 diabetes with all risk factors within therapeutic target range had an extremely low risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke. This is definitely good news,” author Aidin Rawshani, a doctoral student at the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, said in a press release.

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For the study, researchers analyzed data on 271,174 patients with type 2 diabetes registered in the Swedish National Diabetes Register from 1998-2014 and matched with 1.35 million controls on the basis of age, sex and county. In a median followup of 5.7 years, there were 175,345 deaths.

Risk factors that can be controlled by medication, and cigarette abstinence, are blood pressure, long-term blood glucose, lipid status, renal function and smoking, according to the researchers.

Smoking was the most important risk factor for premature death and an elevated blood glucose level was the most dangerous factor for heart attack and stroke.

“By optimizing these five risk factors, all of which can be influenced, you can come a long way,” Rawshani said adding, “We have shown that the risks can be greatly reduced, and in some cases may even be eliminated.”

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In some cases, patients with type 2 diabetes have no more than a 10 percent elevated risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke compared with the general population. The risk for heart failure is 45 percent higher among those with type 2 diabetes in those instances.

In addition, the risk of complications, especially heart failure, is greatest among those under 55 years.

“This makes it extra important to check and treat risk factors if you are younger with type 2 diabetes.” Rawshani added.

With Agency Inputs

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