Blog posts by Paula Cody, MD, MPH

Caffeine Powder Packs More Than an Energy Punch

Caffeine PowderAn Ohio teen mysteriously dies just days away from his high school graduation. One month later, the coroner finds the cause of death: caffeine overdose. He had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, 23 times the amount of a typical coffee or soda drinker. In his room, the teen’s mom found bags of white powder later identified as caffeine powder. This caffeine powder was bought online and is totally legal.

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Too Cool (for Life after High School)

Too Cool for High SchoolWe all love watching movies where the mean, popular teen gets what’s coming to them at the end and the underdog gets carried off the football field/basketball court/etc. on the shoulders of peers (ah, Mean Girls). Is this real life or do the popular kids end up riding off into the sunset with the guarantee of success and happily ever after?

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Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic Cigarettes

After watching a few hours of local TV, I was impressed about the number of commercials dedicated to a new store that specialized in electronic cigarettes (aka a “vape shop”). I have also had quite a few patients answer the question, “Do you use tobacco?” with “Not anymore, I have switched to e-cigs”. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), electronic cigarette use doubled among middle and high school students in the past year. This has encouraged me to investigate electronic cigarettes, or “vaping”, a little more closely.

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Cold Water Challenge

Teens Looking at Tablet

A new (actually not that new, but gaining in popularity) trend is sweeping the teens: the “Cold Water Challenge”. I was hoping to ignore this fad, but today I saw a group of teens do it as I was walking through the park. Now I have to address it.

Polar Plunges sponsored by the Special Olympics have been going on for years; however it’s important to note that these events have emergency personnel on hand just in case something bad happens.

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Talking with Teens about Prom

Talking with Teens about Prom

Talking with Teens about Prom

Parents and health care providers all want the same thing for kids  – for them to make healthy, safe and smart choices. As adults, there are many times when we are faced with moments when we know our own behavior as a teen differed from how we are telling teens they should behave. Prom is likely one of those moments. From the dance itself to the after-prom parties, we know (and may have participated in) some of the less-than-safe behaviors that can take place. So how can we help our teens make safe(er) and smart(er) choices?

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