The study, done before the pandemic hit, shows that homeschooled adolescents have significantly lower abdominal strength and endurance than public school kids even though their BMI’s were the same. Researchers speculate that going to school every day with heavy backpacks may be the difference.

MEDICAL NOTES 20-23


Medical Notes this week…


We told you last week about a smartphone app that can predict whether a person has COVID-19. Now researchers at the University of Utah are working on an app with a sensor to test for the virus itself. The sensor is about the size of a quarter, needs only a drop of saliva, and takes 60 seconds to test for the coronavirus. If the reusable sensor is successful in clinical trials, its developers say it should cost about 50 to 60 dollars. Work on the app had been underway for some time as a way to test for the Zika virus.

Life is stressful now, but a new study shows that even before the pandemic, life was more stressful than it was 25 years ago. And for middle-aged people, it’s much more stressful. The study in the journal The American Psychologist finds that on average, life in the 2010’s was about two percent more stressful than in the 1990’s—that’s about an additional week of stress per year. But for people age 45 to 64 during each time period, life was 19 percent more stressful in the 2010’s. That’s an extra two months of stressful days each year.

However, there are unfortunately other markers that say stress is taking a big toll on children. A study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital published in the journal Pediatrics shows that emergency room visits for mental health disorders has increased 60 percent in the last 10 years, and visits for deliberate self-harm have risen by 329 percent. The largest jump in emergency room visits was among 15 to 17 year-olds. Substance use disorders rose by more than 150 percent.

And finally…with almost all American kids learning at home the last couple of months, it’s appropriate to look at a new study comparing the fitness of homeschooled kids vs. those in public schools. The study, done before the pandemic hit, shows that homeschooled adolescents have significantly lower abdominal strength and endurance than public school kids even though their BMI’s were the same. Researchers speculate that going to school every day with heavy backpacks may be the difference.

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