News Highlights

2017

MTH Presenting at APHA 2017 Annual Meeting

From November 4-8, MTH will be heading to Atlanta for the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo. Please stop by and see us for more information on the following topics:

  • Sunday 11/5: 1:30 pm social media and sleep disturbance (poster); 3:00 pm social media and eating concerns (poster); 4:30 pm social media and negativity/depression (poster); 4:30 pm HPV vaccine and Twitter (poster)
  • Monday 11/6: 12:30 pm social media relationships and depression (poster); 2:30 pm e-cigarette toxins (poster); 2:30 pm social media and personality (roundtable)
  • Tuesday 11/7: 4:30 pm social media and negativity/social isolation (roundtable)
  • Wednesday 11/8: 8:30 am waterpipe tobacco smoking and Twitter (oral presentation); 10:30 am vape shops and Yelp (oral presentation)

 

Portryal of Alcohol Brands on YouTube

In September, MTH published "Portrayal of Alcohol Brands Popular Among Underage Youth on YouTube: A Content Analysis" in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Among the findings were that YouTube videos depicting alcohol brands favored by underage youth are heavily viewed, and the majority are traditional or narrative advertisements. News outlets such as U.S. News & World Report, ScienMag, the BMJ, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Hindustan Times in India covered the release of this research.

 

Screen Use and Mental Health

Dr. Primack, interviewed by Weight Watchers, describes what MTH research around mental health and multiple social media platforms, social isolation, anxiety and depression.

 

Pokemon Go, the App that Turned a Video Game into a Movement, Has its First Birthday

July 6th was the first birthday of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game that incentivizes moving, and Dr. Primack spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the effect of the game on health and wellbeing.

 

Status of Vaping in 2017

In August, the New Pittsburgh Courier featured e-cigarettes on their health page, including comments from Dr. Primack on what e-cigarettes are and why their use is being regulated and an editorial by Dr. Kar-Hai Chu on the link between vaping and social media.

 

Dr. Primack weighed in on a June JAMA Pediatrics study that found adolescents who try e-cigarettes are more than three times as likely to take up smoking traditional cigarettes. Read the full story in Reuters here.

 

Pitt Analysis Determines Odds of a Hookah Non-Smoker Taking First Puff

In May, MTH published Initiation, Progression, and Sustained Waterpipe Use: A Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study of U.S. Young Adults in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Read about the research in the press release and news coverage in Futurity.

 

Ways to Stay Engergized All DayPurge Your Facebook Friends

Time Health compiled a list of eight ways to stay energized all day, and MTH's Dr. Primack weighed in about the positive and negative ways social media may affect mental health and well-being.

 

"Put Down the Phone" Music Video & the Science Behind It

MTH's Dr. Primack was interviewed by CBS Pittsburgh in relation to a new music video by Pittsburgh rapper Jordan York called "Put Down the Phone." Dr. Primack spoke about why social media can be addictive and how it can increase feeling of depression, anxiety, and isolation. You can read the story and watch the news clip here.

 

Allegheny County's Proposed E-Cigarette Regulations

On Monday, March 6, UPMC and Pitt medical experts, including MTH's Dr. Primack, met in a press conference supporting Allegheny County's proposed e-cigarette regulations. You can watch a clip reel online here, or read about the coverage from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or the Tribune-Review. The regulations passed on March 7.

 

Social Media and Social Isolation

In March, MTH published Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the U.S. in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. The official press release can be read here. Other news appearances include the NIH Director's BlogNPRBBC, Times of Malta, Australian National TV, and 12 live interviews for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for major Canadian markets (similar to the NPR in the US).
 

Ways Social Media Makes Millennials Feel Insecure

Forbes cited MTH's 2016 study on social media and drepression saying that the that subjects who reported the most frequent use of social media had 2.7 times more likelihood of depression than those who used it less frequently.

 

MTH Releases its 2016 Annual Report

The 2016 annual report features the Center's news and accomplishments, including several new publications on social media and mental health, new staff and faculty, and recent conference presentations.
 

2016

Use of Multiple Social Media Platforms and Depression

In December, MTH published Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among U.S. young adults in Computers in Human Behavior. The official press release can be read here, and news appearances include KDKA-AM radio, Yahoo! News, and NPR Pittsburgh (WESA), as well international coverages, such as El Comercio in Ecquador.

 

Frequent vaping by teens linked to heavy smoking later

After a study published in JAMA found that teenagers who vape are more likely to become regular smokers Yahoo! News sought commentary from other professionals in tobacco research.
 

Instagram takes steps to identify troubling posts, answer users' cries for help

Social media photo-sharing platform Instagram just released a support system for users to flag posts related to self-harm or eating disorders. Pittsburgh Triubune-Review covered the developments, supported by medical and communications professionals, including Dr. Primack.
 

Can you treat anxiety with YouTube videos?

Dr. Primack and other experts weighed in on how YouTube videos about mental health can counter social stigma and serve as helpful resources for individuals suffering from anxiety. This was covered in The Guardian.
 

Is Social Media Harming Students?

In the September 2016 issueIB World magazine discussed MTH’s study on the relationship between depression and frequency of social media. The article reviewed the findings, and included comments made by Dr. Brian Primack.
 

Social Media and Eating Concerns

In May, researchers from MTH published a paper in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on the relationship between social media use and eating concerns. The paper was picked up by 105 news outlets and earned an Altmetric score of 840, the highest for any article published in this journal. The official press release can be read here, an interview that discusses the paper can be found here, and news appearances included The Daily Mail UKYahoo! NewsMedical Daily, and PsychCentral.
 

Special Presentation by Dr. Ryan McGarry

Ryan McGarry, MD, clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Cornell University and executive producer of the CBS drama Code Black, delivered a special presentation in Scaife Hall where he discussed how Code Black and other television dramas can harbor significant educational worth beyond entertainment value. The video and additional information are available here.
 

Social Media and Depression

In April, researchers from MTH published a paper in the journal Depression and Anxiety on the relationship between social media use and depression among U.S. young adults. The paper earned an Altmetric score of 883, the highest for any article published in this journal. The official press release can be read here, and news appearances include US News and World ReportYahoo! NewsThe Toronto StarThe Tribune ReviewForbes, and twice in Cosmopolitan magazine (1)(2). It also made international headlines, such as VEČER in Slovenia and News Ghana
 

Society of Behavioral Medicine Presentations

Researchers from the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health presented a total of seven poster and four oral presentations on a variety of topics at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s annual conference in Washington D.C. this March. MTH statistician Ariel Shensa’s poster was featured in an article by Reuters UK, a rare feat for a poster presentation. A summary of the presentations can be found here.
 

Social Media and Sleep Disturbance

Dr. Jessica Levenson of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychiatry worked with Dr. Primack, Dr. Sidani, Mr. Colditz, and Ms. Shensa of CRMTH to author a study published in Preventive Medicine on the relationship between social media use and sleep disturbance. News appearances included The Huffington PostNBC NewsShapeNPR Pittsburgh (WESA)Pittsburgh Business Times, and The Daily Mail UK. 
 

MTH Releases its First Annual Report

The year 2015 was one of growth for the Center. In this, our first annual report, we chronicle our activities and accomplishments.
 

2015

Hookah Meta-Analysis in Public Health Reports

In January, researchers from CRMTH, The University of Pittsburgh, and Dartmouth University published a systematic review and meta-analysis in Public Health Reports that examined the most relevant studies comparing hookah to cigarettes. News appearances included WESA 90.5 (NPR Pittsburgh), Tech TimesMen's FitnessThe Huffington PostYahoo! News, and The Daily Mail UK. The day after its publication, reports about the study began to 'trend' on Facebook, appearing as a featured news story.
 

E-cigarette Use and Progression Towards Cigarette Smoking

In November 2015, researchers at CRMTH and Dartmouth University published a study on the "Progression to Traditional Cigarette Smoking after Electronic Cigarette Use among US Adolescents and Young Adults" in JAMA Pediatrics. The study received national and international attention, with coverage in WESA: Essential PittsburghTIMEThe Washington PostUS News and World Report, and Hindustan Times (of India). In January 2017, the NIH Director's Blog cited the study's results.
 

Children and Electronics

Local Pittsburgh news station WTAE interviewed Dr. Primack for its story the overuse of electronics by children and the resultant missing out on outdoor activities that occur during the summer.
 

Society of General Internal Medicine Presentations

Researchers at CRMTH brought a variety of thought-provoking research topics to the Society of General Internal Medicine’s (SGIM) annual conference in Toronto in April 2015. A summary of the presentations can be found here.
 

Alcohol Intoxication on YouTube

Dr. Primack was interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now about his study on the Portrayal of Alcohol Intoxication on YouTube, which examined more than 70 popular YouTube videos and found that intoxication is mostly depicted as fun and humorous, with few references to the negative consequences of drinking. Dr. Primack discussed his study and how analyzing the videos may help debunk myths about drinking and help design interventions.

2014 & Prior

"Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health" is Founded

In September 2014, The University of Pittsburgh announced the founding of The Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health.
 

Dr. Primack is a Featured Speaker at TEDMED 2014

At TEDMED 2014, Dr. Primack shed light on how principles learned from video game design can be used to create effective changes in health behavior.
 

Dr. Primack’s Editorial on New Insurance Coverage Policies

In January 2014, JAMA published an editorial co-authored by D. Primack on challenges and opportunities arising from new insurance coverage policies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
 

Hookah Smoking

Dr. Sidani’s research on Hookah smoking was featured in a USA Today article on June 5, 2014 titled ”Hitting the hookah: Will the trend rage on, despite recent health warnings?”.
 

Diversification of Tobacco and Nicotine Products

Dr. Primack’s research on students smoking hookah was featured in a lead story on CNN Health on June 7, 2012. The article, titled “1 in 3 college students has smoked hookah,” discusses both the attraction towards and the dangers of smoking hookah.
 

Media Portrayal of Tobacco Use

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute mentioned Dr. Primack’s research in its March 14, 2012 article, “Watching Movie Stars Light Up May Spur Kids to Smoke.”
 

Alcohol Brand Appearances in Music

In October 2011, Dr. Primack collaborated with other researchers to publish a study titled “Alcohol brand appearances in US popular music” in the leading substance use journal Addiction. Newspapers worldwide covered the story, including this article on TheStar.com.
 

Mental Health and Media Exposure

Dr. Primack coauthored a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicinelinking music listening habits to depressions. News coverage included an article titled “Could Pop Music be linked to Depression?” in US News & World Report.
 

2010 Society of Behavioral Medicine Award

On April 8, 2010, Dr. Primack was selected as Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Top Early Career Researcher. This award recognizes an early-career nominee's total career achievements, including the publication of a representative paper.
 

Media Exposure in Children

In an article published in Nature on June 10, 2009 titled, “Media Research: The Black Box”, Dr. Primack’s gave several quotes on the importance of researching the influence of media exposure on children and adolescents, and his research on this topic was cited.
 

Technological Exposures and Depression

Dr. Primack was lead author in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry that examined the association between media use in adolescence and the development of depression in young adulthood. The study was featured in an article in The New York Times titled “Behavior: TV Time Linked to Depression in Future.”
 

Substance Abuse Messages in Popular Music

In a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, Dr. Primack and colleagues found that the average adolescent is exposed to approximately 84 references to explicit substance use daily in popular songs. This research made national news, and was the subject of a New York Times article titled, “Alcohol and Drugs Abound in Pop? Who Knew?
 

Racial Disparities in Advertising of Dangerous Products

Dr. Primack and colleagus research on racial disparities in cigarette advertising made national headlines. The New York Times published an article titled “Insights: Racial Disparity Affirmed in Tobacco Advertising” about the research, and Dr. Primack was also interviewed on National Public Radio for a segment titled “Blacks Seduced by Smoking Ads? ”
 

Dr. Primack Receives Award from Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine

Dr. Primack was selected as the new investigator of the year from The Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine. The Society has established the New Investigator Award to recognize professionals who, through excellence in research, have furthered the Society's goals.