COVID-19 Update: Screen Time Use Has Spiked Among Adolescents Amid Pandemic; and More

Screen Time Use Among US Adolescents Has Spiked Amid COVID-19 Pandemic and is Linked with Poor Mental Health and Stress

A new analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in US adolescent screen time use, up to almost eight hours per day. The implications of these findings are important, considering excessive screen time use in adolescents is linked with physical and mental health risks.

Researchers analyzed data on a sample of 5,412 adolescents (aged 12-13, 50.7% female, 49.3% male) from the May 2020 COVID-19 survey (COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Release) from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The sample was both racially and ethnically diverse (7.2% Asian, 11.1% Black, 17.2% Hispanic, Latina, and Latino, 2.5% Native American, 60% White, 1.4% Other).

According to the results, adolescents reported an average of 7.70 hours per day of screen use, mostly spent watching or streaming videos, movies, or TV shows (2.42 h/d). Streaming/watching content use was followed by multi-player gaming (1.44 h/d), and single-player gaming (1.17 h/d). The researchers observed that higher total screen use was associated with poorer mental health (B, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.06-0.52; P = .01), and greater perceived stress (B, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.43-0.91; P < .001).

More Evidence COVID Shots Less Effective for People With Weak Immune Systems

Transplant patients and certain other folks may need four shots of COVID-19 vaccine for optimal protection, new research suggests.

People with weakened immune systems who’ve received both doses of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines aren’t adequately protected against severe illness. They should be given a third shot plus a booster, according to the study.

“These findings indicate that while two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are beneficial in immunocompromised individuals, they are significantly less protected from severe disease than people with normal immune systems,” said study lead author Dr. Peter Embí. He is president of the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis and associate dean for informatics and health services research at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Postacute COVID-19 Syndrome May Affect Physical, Cognitive Function

Persistent symptoms associated with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS) may impact physical and cognitive function as well as quality of life, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

“This study is a concerning reminder of how severely debilitating PACS symptoms are, the toll they take on health and wellness, and the fact that, without active treatment, these symptoms appear to persist indefinitely,” a coauthor said in a statement.