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PR and Med Ed news in brief

Our weekly round-up of PR and medical education stories.

Teens burdened by depression

The majority of Britain's teenage girls now suffer from depression, self-loathing and an inability to cope with the pressures of everyday life, according to a survey commissioned by the magazine Bliss. The poll of 2,000 girls with an average age of 14 found that nine out of 10 have felt depressed, 60 per cent feel insecure and 6 per cent think ìlife's not worth livingî.

Mental health specialists have warned that pubescent girls are copying the stressed behaviour of the adults around them. Parental divorce, bullying at school and image issues were among the factors driving this lack of confidence. Lisa Smosarski, the editor of Bliss, said, ìWe live in a rough, tough world and there are no society safeguards any more to protect young people.î

Global anti-smoking drive

A global treaty aimed at dissuading children and adults from smoking came into force this week with the approval of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control gives countries three years to print strong warnings on packets and five years to ban advertising, promotion and sponsorship. It also calls for tax rises on tobacco products, a crackdown on smuggling and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke. Almost 170 countries have signed the treaty, but so far only 57 have ratified it.

Incepta to merge with Huntsworth?

Incepta, the marketing research and PR company are in discussions with Huntsworth PR regards a possible merger. The talks follow their failed negotiations with Chime Communications last year. A recent statement said, ìAlthough these discussions are at an advanced stage, there can be no certainty that they will lead to a transaction in due course. The terms of any such merger would be based on recent share price averages.î Incepta, which also owns Red Consultancy, would add Huntsworth PR to its growing market research operation Incepta Marketing Intelligence which includes Momentum Research Group, DVL Smith and Hauck Research.

HIV teens lead riskier lives

US teenagers with HIV are taking more risks than their counterparts who did not have access to the new Aids drugs 10 years ago, research of 500 people suggests. The University of California studied two groups of students - one before and one after the widespread introduction of the highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in the mid 90s. The post HAART group was almost twice as likely to have had unprotected sex in the previous three months; had nearly double the sexual partners; and were more likely to have had a sexual partner who used injection drugs. Although the study does not prove that HAART is the cause of increased risky behaviour, researchers say the issue needs further scrutiny.

2nd September 2008

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