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A Conversation on COVID-19

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A Conversation on COVID-19
I had an excellent conversation about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with my NIH colleague Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a true expert on the subject. While the conversation streamed over Twitter and Facebook Live, I posed questions to Dr. Fauci that were sent into NIH recently over social media. The topics addressed included the current status of the COVID outbreak, social responsibility, vaccine development, and so much more. We video-conferenced on July 6, 2020.


All of Us Research Program Speaker Series

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I took part in the inaugural All of Us Research Program Speaker Series live-streamed on YouTube on March 14, 2019. Here I’m preparing for this 30-minute program with Dara Richardson-Heron, chief engagement officer for the All of Us Research Program. The live stream provided an opportunity to interact with a range of people about the latest advances in precision medicine and how All of Us will accelerate this incredibly promising area of research. Credit: All of Us Research Program

Future Service Dogs

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NIH Director Francis Collins with puppies at NIH

I got to join in the four-legged fun with NIH’s “Puppycam” event on November 29, 2018 at the NIH Clinical Center. The event, which was live streamed for folks on Twitter, offered demonstrations from service dogs, therapy dogs, and puppies-in-training (including these adorable ones at rest). Credit: Stephanie Clipper


Study Associates Frequent Digital Media Use in Teens with ADHD Symptoms

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Teens using smart phones

Credit: Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages

The rise of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile technologies has put digital media, quite literally, at the fingertips of today’s youth. Most teens now have ready access to a smartphone, with about half spending the majority of their waking hours texting, checking social media sites, watching videos, or otherwise engaged online [1].

So, what does this increased access to digital media—along with the instant gratification that it provides—mean for teens’ health and wellbeing? In a two-year study of more than 2,500 high school students in Los Angeles, NIH-funded researchers found that those who consumed the most digital media were also the most likely to develop symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [2].


Is Social Media Making Us Lonelier?

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Social mediaInitially, most of us thought that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media applications would help to bring people together. And, yes, in many instances that has been true. Such apps have made it possible—even simple—to catch up with former classmates living thousands of miles away, share a video of your baby’s first steps with relatives near and far, or strike up new acquaintances while discussing the stock market or last night’s ballgame. Yet, a new NIH-funded study suggests that social media may also have the power to make people feel left out and alone.

Based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,700 young adults, researchers found that individuals who were the heaviest users of social media were two to three times more likely to feel socially isolated than those who used little to no social media [1]. And that’s a concern to those of us in the medical field: previous research has linked social isolation to worsening physical and mental health, and even an increased risk of death [2,3]. In fact, some experts have gone so far as to label loneliness a major public health concern.


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