Medical Notes this week…

We recently reported on the age that parents should consider getting their kids a smartphone. Now comes a study in the journal Emotion finding that teens who spend more time on their phones are less happy than those who find other things to do. Researchers determined that teens who spend less than an hour a day on their smartphones are happiest. However, there’s one large caveat to the study. Scientists admit they don’t know if smartphone use makes kids unhappy or if unhappy kids use their phones more.

Experts are beginning to realize that one of the more serious public health threats of the modern world is loneliness. It’s a particular problem among older people with studies showing as many as half of those over age 60 are lonely. Other studies are showing that loneliness markedly increases heart disease risk, depression and cognitive decline. Now government is trying to do something about it.  Great Britain has appointed a minister for loneliness.

And finally, if you’re tempted to stifle a sneeze – don’t. the British Medical Journal has published the extreme case of a 34-year old man who tried to bottle up his sneeze and ended up hospitalized for a week. The sneeze ruptured the man’s throat after he held his nose and clamped a hand over his mouth leaving the sneeze’s force no place to go.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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