Science & Research

Science & Research Roundup: Nov. 20, 2013

By
Science & Research Editor
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Prenatal cocaine exposure affects adolescent risk-taking

Adolescents who grow up in adverse environments are likelier to “engage in risk-taking behaviors,” according to a new study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics last week.

The study involved a multi-institution collaboration between researchers including Associate Professor of Pediatrics Linda Lagasse.

Researchers evaluated risk-taking behavior in close to 1,000 15-year-olds, including over 400 who were prenatally exposed to cocaine.

After controlling for other environmental factors, the researchers found that adolescents who experienced prenatal cocaine exposure were likelier to be arrested and to engage in “early onset sexual behavior” than those who did not.

  

Head impacts more common among male hockey players

Female hockey players are less likely to suffer head injuries than their male counterparts, according to research published last month in the Journal of Biomechanics. The research was led by BJ Wilcox, a researcher in the department of Orthopedics at the Warren Alpert Medical School.

Wilcox and his team examined 99 collegiate hockey players over the course of three seasons, recording over 37,000 head impacts.

They found that male players experienced an average of 287 head impacts per season, compared to 170 for females.

They also found that players were likelier to experience impacts during games than during practices.

Understanding the conditions in which players are most likely to experience head impacts may inform strategies for reducing the frequency of their occurrence.

Such strategies “need to be sport and gender specific, with considerations for team and session type,” according to the study.

 

Renal stenting does not affect patient outcomes

Professor of Medicine Lance Dworkin and Professor of Diagnositic Imaging Timothy Murphy led a national study on the effects of renal artery stenting, a process to open arteries that lead to the kidneys, according to a Lifespan press release.

They shared their results Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

The study focused on people “who suffer from a narrowing of the arteries,” according to the release.

“The use of stenting to treat patients with renal artery stenosis is a treatment that clinicians have disagreed on for some time,” Dworkin said in the release.

Close to 1,000 patients across the world enrolled in the study — one group of participants received medical therapy and renal-artery stenting and one group only received medical therapy.

The researchers tracked patients for seven years, finding no differences in the outcomes of patients between the groups.

“Stents do a good job in opening the arteries, but less invasive medical therapies, which have only gotten better over time, means that patients can often avoid more invasive stenting procedures,” Dworkin said in the release.