Medical notes this week…

Some people have insomnia because they’re genetically predisposed to be unable to sleep. And a new study shows that those people are also more likely to have heart disease. The study in the journal Circulation finds that people with genetic insomnia are 12 percent more likely to have heart disease, 16 percent more likely to have heart failure, and seven percent more likely to have a stroke. However, the risk appears to apply to only a small proportion of insomniacs.

Vaping is being called a “gateway drug” for marijuana use, after a new study showing it can more than triple the risk of becoming a pot smoker. And it’s even worse for youngsters. The study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics finds that adolescents age 12 to 17 who vape are more than four times as likely to become marijuana users compared to those who don’t use e-cigarettes. About a third of American high schoolers say they’ve vaped. 

And finally, if you want toddlers to learn something, don’t use video. A study in the journal Developmental Psychology finds that the brains of toddlers resist learning from screens, even live video chats. The problem, researchers say, is that to a toddler, a flat image of a person on a screen isn’t real. So their brains tell them what they’re seeing isn’t personally relevant, and they “tune out.”

Check out this week’s Medical Notes!


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