New Studies Show Growing Number of Trans, Nonbinary Youth in US

Two new studies point to an ever-increasing number of young people in the United States who identify as transgender and nonbinary, with the figures doubling among 18- to 24-year-olds in one institute’s research — from 0.66% of the population in 2016 to 1.3% (398,900) this year. In addition, 1.4% (300,100) of 13- to 17-year-olds identify … Read more

Social Activities May Offset Psychosis Risk in Poor Communities

Social engagement such as participation in community or school-based activities may mitigate psychosis risk in susceptible youth living in disadvantaged communities, new research suggests. A study of more than 170 young participants showed reduced hippocampal volume in those living in poor neighborhoods who had low social engagement vs their peers with greater community engagement. Dr. … Read more

Long-Term Cannabis Use Linked to Dementia Risk Factors

Long-term cannabis use is linked to hippocampal atrophy and poorer cognitive function in midlife — known risk factors for dementia. A large prospective, longitudinal study showed long-term cannabis users had an intelligence quotient (IQ) decline from age 18 to midlife (mean 5.5 IQ points), poorer learning and processing speed compared to childhood, and self-reported memory … Read more

Jury Is Out on Universal Screening for Eating Disorders

There is insufficient evidence to weigh the balance of benefits and harms of screening for eating disorders in adolescents and adults, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says in their first-ever statement on the topic. Eating disorders (binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa) can cause “serious harms to physical and psychosocial health … Read more

‘Alarming’ Worldwide Decline in Mental Health

A large global report shows a decline in mental health worldwide, with the poorest outcomes reported in young adults. The Mental Health Million Project of Sapien Labs issued its second report, published online March 15, encompassing 34 countries and over 220,000 internet-enabled adults. It found a continued decline in mental health in all age groups … Read more

Alarming Rates of Self-Harm in Adults With Autism

When a recent study from Columbia University reported that suicide and self-harm were nearly four times more likely in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than in the general population, the findings were sobering. But to many in the field, they were not surprising. Previous analyzes showed individuals with ASD were up to six times … Read more

Caring for Suicidal Youth: An Approach for Pediatricians

This month’s column is driven by the recent increase of youth in crisis, and COVID-19–related limitations of higher-level services. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth1 and populations who face discrimination are at increased risk.2,3 A pediatrician colleague recently asked me about how to support patients who may be at risk. With … Read more