Coronavirus spreads to more than 800 in China: First death outside epicentre | Stuff.co.nz

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China’s National Health Commission said Friday afternoon (NZ time) the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths.

The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Many countries are screening travellers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation has decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, a step that can bring more money and resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision a politically fraught one.

The decision “should not be taken as a sign that WHO does not think the situation is serious or that we’re not taking it seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO is following this outbreak every minute of every day.”

The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that originate in animals before making the jump to humans.

Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties. And the effectiveness of such measures is unclear.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the WHO”s representative in China. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

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People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan

Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in Britain, said the lockdowns appear to be justified scientifically.

“Until there’s a better understanding of what the situation is, I think it’s not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said. “Anything that limits people’s travels during an outbreak would obviously work.”

But Ball cautioned that any such quarantine should be strictly time-limited. He added: “You have to make sure you communicate effectively about why this is being done. Otherwise you will lose the goodwill of the people.”

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A resident wears a mask to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan.

During the devastating West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Sierra Leone imposed a national three-day quarantine as health workers went door to door, searching for hidden cases. Burial teams collecting corpses and people taking the sick to Ebola centres were the only ones allowed to move freely. Frustrated residents complained of food shortages.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub. Local authorities demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged civil servants wear them at work.

After the city was closed off Thursday, images showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as people stocked up. Trucks carrying supplies into the city are not being restricted, although many Chinese recall shortages in the years before the country’s recent economic boom.

Analysts predicted cases will continue to multiply, although the jump in numbers is also attributable in part to increased monitoring.

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese passenger that just arrived on the last bullet train from Wuhan to Beijing is checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station.

“Even if (cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” the WHO’s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of infected is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity so long as the death rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. This time, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasised that as a priority.

Health authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, placing those believed infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes, with air passed through filters.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, now closed for an investigation. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

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Facing ‘certain death’, boy in US with vaping injury gets double lung transplant, United States News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

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NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – A 17-year-old boy whose lungs were irreversibly damaged by vaping received a double-lung transplant at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a life-saving measure taken when a patient’s own lungs are diseased or damaged beyond repair and there is no other hope of survival, doctors said on Tuesday (Nov 12).

Without the transplant, performed last month, the patient “would have faced certain death”, Dr Hassan Nemeh, who led the surgical team, said during a news conference at the hospital.

The patient’s lungs were scarred, stiffened, pocked with dead spots and extremely inflamed, he said.

On a CT scan before the surgery, the patient’s chest appeared almost empty, as if the lungs had vanished. Normal lungs look dark on imaging because they are full of air; the patient’s were not visible because they were not working. There was no air.

“What I saw in his lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Dr Nemeh said. He added, “This is an evil I haven’t faced before.”

The patient is recovering well and is up and about now, but still in the hospital. His name is being withheld to protect his privacy, but he and his family wanted to release information about his case in the hope that it might persuade other people to quit vaping or never start, hospital officials said.

A doctor at the briefing read a statement from the family, which said, in part: “We asked Henry Ford doctors to share that the horrific life-threatening effects of vaping are very real! Our family could never have imagined being at the centre of the largest adolescent public health crisis to face our country in decades.

“Within a very short period of time, our lives have been forever changed. He has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year-old athlete – attending high school, hanging out with friends, sailing and playing video games – to waking up intubated and with two new lungs, facing a long and painful recovery process as he struggles to regain his strength and mobility, which has been severely impacted.”

The doctors declined to say what products the patient had been vaping, how long he had been doing it or how often.

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About 86 per cent of the patients with lung injuries in this outbreak had vaped THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes people high.

The case is the first transplant reported in the nationwide outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries, and it highlights the severity of an illness that, as of Nov 5, had sickened 2,051 people and killed 40.

Researchers have described the lung damage from vaping as chemical burns, similar to the injuries in people who have inhaled toxic fumes in industrial accidents, or in soldiers attacked with mustard gas in World War I.

The patient was first admitted to a different hospital on Sept 6 with what was thought to be pneumonia. His condition worsened and he was placed on a ventilator on Sept 12. He continued to deteriorate.

On Sept 17, he was transferred to a second hospital, where he was connected to a machine that delivers oxygen directly to the bloodstream.

His health continued to decline, and in early October, he was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital, where he was put on the waiting list for a lung transplant. A national organisation sets the criteria for eligibility, not individual hospitals. Several factors quickly pushed him to the to top of the list, Dr Nemeh said: He was a child, the lung damage was irreversible and he would die without the transplant.

The surgery was performed on Oct 15. The doctors said they could not reveal any information about the source except to say that the donor had been healthy.

Health officials investigating the outbreak described a major advance last week: Researchers found a “very strong culprit”, a form of vitamin E, in the lungs of patients who had the vaping illness. The substance, vitamin E acetate, is sometimes used by illicit sellers to “cut” or dilute THC and increase profits.

Finding the chemical in the lungs meshed with earlier investigations that had already found it in vaping products.

The vitamin compound is thick and sticky. Precisely how it might damage the lungs is not yet known, and health authorities say it is still possible that other chemicals added to vaping fluids may also contribute to lung disease.

The doctors in Detroit did not say whether vitamin E acetate had been found in the patient’s lungs.

“We’re going to see more of this,” said Dr Mangala Narasimhan, a lung specialist at Long Island Jewish Medical Centre and Northwell Health’s regional director of critical care, who has treated several severe cases of the illness.

“We definitely see some patients who have such severe lung damage, we are thinking that some of it might not be completely reversible.”

None of her patients have needed transplants. In general, lungs for transplantation are difficult to obtain, she said.

“A huge number of patients die waiting.”

About 2,500 lung transplants were performed in the US in 2018, compared with more than 21,000 kidney transplants.

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Noise pollution: Court seals Anambra church

Emma Elekwa, Onitsha

A Chief Magistrate Court in Nnewi, Anambra State presided over by Emekwue AC has sealed off one of the new generation churches in the area over noise pollution.

The church leadership which was sued by the Director of Environmental Health Services and the Nnewi North local government area, was also given ten days for relocation.

In a charge number NMC/10c/2019, the church was prosecuted on two count charges under the public health laws of Anambra state.

The church was accused of mounting amplifier and five loudspeakers in front of its premises, tuned at a very high pitch, leading to heavy noise pollution and restless night within the neighbourhood.

The prosecution described the situation as ‘prejudicial to man’s health’, which is punishable under section 21 of the public health laws of Anambra state 2006.

The church was also accused of failure to comply with terms and requisition of abatement notice referenced No: 00000896 served on it.

The prosecution maintained that the condition was punishable under sections 8(1,4b) and 9(1,2) of the public health laws of Anambra state.

It presented three witnesses who all testified that the church activities, particularly during its vigils held between 11pm to 4am constituted source of noise pollution as well as serious disturbance to an 86 year-old woman.

The President-General of the community who appeared as witness to the defendant, said he was a neighbour to the complainant, adding that the church activities did not disturb anybody.

Read Also; Three waiters burn to death in Anambra hotel

Delivering judgement on the matter, Emekwue AC directed the Director of environmental health services and Nnewi North Local Government Area to seal off the church and stop the defendant from continuing church activities in the facility.

The court also directed the defendant to relocate the church within 10 days or face one-year jail term without option of fine.

A resident of the area who witnessed the sealing off of the church, but preferred anonymity, described the court ruling as long awaited.

He said, “It is a thing of joy that the court has finally come to the rescue of the people who have not known peace since the church was opened in their neighbourhood.

“We are all Christians here but all attempts to make the pastor and his church see reason on the danger his activities pose to the well being of the people has always been misunderstood.

“They always tag those of us who are complaining as being occults.”

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How my son went from gamer to compulsive gambler

The NHS has opened its first clinic for young people addicted to gaming and gambling, a year after a Gambling Commission report found that 55,000 11-to-16-year-olds in the UK were problem gamblers. For some the path to gambling begins with playing online games, as the BBC’s Becky Milligan heard from the father of one young man now getting help for his addiction.

“Not in a million years, not in a million years did I think that gaming could lead to compulsive gambling.”

Steve is sitting on a bench in a churchyard. He’s agreed to talk to me about his son’s gambling addiction. He’s nervous, he hasn’t done an interview before and I can feel his anxiety.

His son, now in his early 20s, is in recovery and doing well, “but we take one day at a time” he says.

“We’ve had a terrible three years. We wouldn’t want anyone to go through what we have gone through. When we first discovered our son had the compulsive gambling disorder we didn’t know what to do.”

I tell Steve that I’ve spoken to other parents whose children have developed gambling disorders, and they also paid off the debts at first, not realising the extent of their children’s addiction.

“We thought this was just a little glitch, this is what kids do,” one father told me. And that’s what Steve thought at first.

He and his wife had known for some time that their son enjoyed having the odd bet. But lots of their friends enjoyed a flutter and it didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary.

A year later, though, Steve was shocked to find out his son was gambling with other people’s money and losing large amounts.

“It was online roulette. That was his downfall,” he tells me.

Now Steve realised it was a very serious problem. He and his wife didn’t know what to do. They began to isolate themselves, avoid going out or seeing friends. They were worried what people would say.

“We were pretty helpless. We didn’t know which way to turn. We spent months finding the answers and doing our own research,” Steve says.

Last year, he and his wife went to a GamAnon meeting for families. Earlier this year his son also began to get help.

Steve has had a few months to do a great deal of research and he now believes his son’s addiction was sparked when he was 12 or 13 and was obsessed with playing online games, particularly football games.

He would play for hours and hours in his bedroom, Steve tells me, and all his mates were into to it as well. Steve didn’t really understand what the games were about, let alone the new technology the games used. And anyway, at least his son was occupied, he says.

“We all want an easy life, a quiet life. Parents can be lazy. If he was playing upstairs I would think, ‘It’s not doing any harm is it?'”

Steve now thinks that the football games promoted habits, including spending hours online, that “developed into gambling”.

Crucially, Steve’s son was encouraged to pay for extra products, such as “ultimate team packs”.

The identities of the players in these packs would only be revealed once he had paid, which Steve says introduced his son to the “thrill of gambling”, the game of chance and risk – including the chance of acquiring a star player who would make him unbeatable.

Steve thinks the difference between online gaming and gambling is very subtle, and that those children who excessively game online, like his son, are at risk of becoming compulsive gamblers later in life. It doesn’t matter, he says, whether the game involves winning or losing real money.

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a psychiatrist at the new NHS treatment centre, says no link between gaming-related activities “that may be toxic for young people” and gambling has yet been established. It’s currently a “big controversial conversation”, she says.

“I believe so little is known in this country about both these behavioural addictions in children, that we need to hear it on the ground, we need to understand what these people are doing then work with policy makers, politicians and public health professionals to change the environment they live in,” she told the BBC.


It has been a very hard few years for Steve and his family. He recently decided to leave his teaching job and set up a charity, GamFam, to help other parents who might be in a similar position.

However complicated it is, Steve says that parents need to know what their children are doing online, they need to become the experts in order to protect them.

“Do research, put the barriers in place, take control of the device, set up family time. Screen [the child’s activity] so that you are in control of what’s going on. And most importantly do not have any of your credit cards, debit cards linked to the account,” he says.

“There are horror stories where children are spending excessive amounts of money on in-game purchases. Many of these games promote themselves as free games but the loot boxes in the games [are not].”

Like the “ultimate team packs” that Steve’s son used to buy, loot boxes may contain virtual items such as weapons or shields that help a player win the game – and gamers don’t know what’s in them until they have bought them.

MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee recently recommended that the sale of loot boxes should be regulated as gambling, and that selling them to children should be banned entirely.

In a statement to the BBC, the association for UK interactive entertainment, Ukie, echoed Steve’s call for parents to monitor their children’s behaviour online.

“Alongside robust age-ratings for games, all major consoles and mobile devices offer smart and simple parental controls. Above all, we recommend that parents and carers engage directly with players, talk to them about the games they are playing and even join in,” the statement said.

Wes Himes, chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association, said it was very difficult for children to get through the verification process to gamble online. He added that the industry was not allowed to advertise near schools, or to target under-25s with its advertising.

Steve Ginnis of Ipsos Mori, however, told the BBC that focus groups conducted by his company showed that children and young people found aspects of existing gambling advertisements appealing – “in terms of promotional offers and use of celebrities and presenting it as fun or skilful”.


‘Part of the game’

Stewart Kenny, the Paddy Power founder who resigned in 2016 over what he saw as the failure to tackle problem gambling, says advertising is “normalising” gambling for children, and that it has become “nearly part of the game” when watching football.

“That is dangerous, because it is promoted by well-known people, it’s a constant barrage of advertising they see it before, during and after the match… It’s become normal for children to think gambling and soccer are the same thing.”


Steve says his family is now doing better. His son’s last bet was in February. They are not ashamed any more about what happened, but in order to protect his son, Steve doesn’t want to give his full name.

He hopes his new charity will be able to visit schools and talk to parents.

Steve says the problem of children’s gambling addiction has to be addressed. If nothing is done, he believes we will have an “epidemic on our hands of catastrophic proportions”.

At present, he says, the only help these youngsters have got is their parents.

“For me, if I don’t do this now, then I will never do it, I feel it is a calling, I need to do, I need to be putting the message out there and support the parents. I wouldn’t wish what we have been through on my worst enemy.”

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Mental health website struggles after royal advert

A mental health website has struggled to cope with demand after a promotional video voiced by the dukes and duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex aired on TV. The film screened on Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and MTV on Monday evening.

Since then the Every Mind Matters website has been intermittently showing the message: “Something went wrong. Please refresh or try again later.”

Public Health England said it was looking into the crash but thought it could be due to a surge in traffic.

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The three-minute film is intended to promote Every Mind Matters, an initiative by Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS, to help people look after their mental health and support others.

The film is narrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who in May launched a text messaging service for people experiencing a mental health crisis through their royal foundation.

In the film, written by Richard Curtis and directed by Rankin, Prince William begins: “Everyone knows that feeling, when life gets on top of us.

“All over the country, millions of us face challenges to our mental health – at all ages – at all intensities, and for all sorts of reasons.

“We feel stressed, low, anxious, or have trouble sleeping. Me, you…”

Prince Harry continues: “Your brother, your mother, your colleague, or your neighbour. Waiting, wondering, hoping, hurting.

“We think there’s nothing to be done. Nothing we can do about it.”

Meghan then says: “But that’s so wrong. There are things we can do. From today, there’s a new way to help turn things around. Every Mind Matters will show you simple ways to look after your mental health.”

BBC Catherine continues: “It’ll get you started with a free online plan designed to help you deal with stress, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control.”

The royals are joined by other celebrities and public figures whose lives have been affected by poor mental health.

They include the actresses Gillian Anderson and Glenn Close, singer Professor Green, former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, television presenter Davina McCall, and Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain.

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More Than 130 Whales Dead After West African Mass Stranding Event

At least 136 melon-headed whales are dead after a mass stranding event off the coast of western Africa last week, according to environmental conservation non-profit BIOS.CV.

Dozens of volunteers from local agencies assisted in relocating a total of 163 adult, juvenile, and calf whales back into the water after they were discovered on September 24 on the island of Boa Vista.

“Unfortunately, upon being re-introduced in the sea, most of the animals stranded again,” wrote the organization in a Facebook post.

Officials are working to bury the individuals to “prevent any environmental and public health hazards,” said BIOS.CV in an update posted on September 26. Samples were taken from 50 of the whales and another four individuals were frozen for future examination by veterinarians.

Though the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers melon-headed whales a species of least concern, the toothed cetaceans are threatened by a number of concerns including habitat changes from climate change, ocean noise, and fisheries bycatch. Closely related to pygmy sperm whales and false killer whales, Peponocephala electra are often found in deep tropical waters around the globe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They typically live together in groups of hundreds to over 1,000 individuals.

Researchers are still unclear as to what caused the whales to beach themselves.

 

In recent years, a number of mass stranding events have occurred around the world. Last November saw several events, including two pods of pilot whales, totaling 145 individuals, dead after stranding on New Zealand shores. Just three days later, a humpback whale and 27 pilot whales were found beached in Australia. Earlier this year, at least 50 pilot whales were found dead on a remote beach in Iceland after possibly becoming caught in a strong tidal current that prevented them from reaching deeper waters. Since the beginning of 2019, at least 70 gray whales have washed up along the west coast of North America, from Alaska southward to Mexico – so many that NOAA has run out of space to bury decomposing carcasses. 

Mass mortality events and whale strandings are becoming more common than before and the reason why is unclear. This could in part be due to the fact that protections in the last few decades have increased whale populations in waters around the world. However, it could be due to external factors such as disease or extreme weather. Cetaceans may also become stranded after being chased into shallower waters by predators or when chasing prey, increasing the likelihood that they become disoriented and caught by a retreating tide. Furthermore, studies have suggested that naval sonar could impact whales’ ability to navigate via echolocation, perhaps even giving them decompression sickness.

Even after human intervention, many whales die from dehydration and can drown if the tide rises over their blowholes.

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Yes, you need to talk to your kids about porn. Here’s how to do it

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(CNN)At a certain age, every kid learns about the difference between fantasy and reality, whether it applies to fairy tales, video games or superhero movies.

For the generations who’ve never lived without Wi-Fi, the internet is often the first place they’re exposed to sexual imagery. And in the absence of good, comprehensive sex education, some kids may think it’s the only way to actually learn about sex.
“The sad fact is that more than half of our children get their first ‘sexual education’ from adult films on the internet,” said Dr. Mark Schoen, founder of SexSmartFilms.com and former director of sex education at the Sinclair Intimacy Institute. What’s missing is a sense of context and conversation around this imagery — a conversation that would help a young person distinguish between real sex and porn sex.
    Although many sex educators are advocating for this kind of porn literacy in schools, the conversation also needs to happen at home.
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    In general, there can be real benefits from having frank discussions about sex, said Debby Herbenick. In one recent study by Herbenick and her colleagues at the Indiana University School of Public Health, exposure to porn was only associated with an increased probability in having unprotected sex when parents had little-to-no sexual health communication with their children. When parent-teen sexual health communication was high, pornography use was unrelated to teenagers’ engagement in unsafe sex.
    Here’s how to approach “the talk” in the age of online porn.

    Start early

    “Parents would be wise to start discussing sexually explicit media during childhood,” said Herbenick. “It’s not just porn that they need literacy about — it’s Hollywood movies, music and social media, too.”
    Rather than viewing access to porn as a negative, welcome it as an opportunity to educate your kids. “In my experience, the more sex ed a child receives from their parents, the less likely they are to develop shame around sex and use pornography in a compulsive or unhealthy manner,” said sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson.

    Just do it

    Yes

      Teens make the case for porn literacy

    “Starting the conversation can be as easy as saying something like, ‘I know this might seem like it’s coming out of nowhere, but I’m concerned about the messages you are getting about sex, sexual behaviors and what’s real or normal from the stuff that’s out there,'” said sexologist Lanae St. John.
    Or you might do some advance planning. “A conversation on sex and porn should allow for honesty and the time it takes to have a serious discussion,” advised sex therapist Heidi Crockett. “I recommend arranging an agreed upon time so that both parent and child can bring their questions and thoughts to the table.”

    Explain the differences

    Remind your child that porn is meant for entertainment, not education, in terms they can understand.
    you need to talk to your kids about porn. Here's how to do it - CNN

      What it’s really like to be an adult film star

    “I tell them that just as the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are not driver’s ed, porn is not sex ed,” said St. John. Explain that just like movies, porn portrays how we might fantasize about things but not act on them.
    Likewise, you can stress that masturbation — to porn or otherwise — and sex are two different experiences. “It’s fun to text our friends or play video games with them online, but it’s another thing to hang out in person,” said sex therapist Kristen Lilla. “Porn can also be fun to watch, but it doesn’t mimic or replace real-life sex and relationships.”

    Don’t make assumptions

    Part of what makes porn tough to talk about is how divisive it’s become. You might hear from some adults that porn use has led to dependency, erectile dysfunction, fear of intimacy and other problems. For others, it’s simply part of a healthy sex life.
    The truth is that medical experts don’t know for certain whether porn use is truly responsible for all of the effects attributed to it; so far, there isn’t a clear scientific consensus around the influence of porn on the human adult brain, much less the teenage brain.
    Health
    While some experts say that porn is highly addictive, others say that the concept of true porn addiction isn’t supported by scientific evidence. Impulsive or compulsive porn use, this camp says, is usually a symptom of something else, such as depression or anxiety.
    The only thing we do know for certain is that the more open parents are with their kids about sexual health, the better.

    Don’t limit it to sex

    View your conversations as laying the foundation for helping children question all the media they consume.
      “We begin this process of becoming aware of how roles or stereotypes are portrayed when you watch TV or PG movies with your kids beginning when they’re 7 to 8 years old,” said sex therapist Sari Cooper. “Bringing up some of the uncomfortable feelings one has when watching a film with younger ages because of the way a woman, person of color, or a person with disability was portrayed begins a training of critical thinking with your children.”
      However you choose to approach it, know that “the talk” is really a series of conversations. When you discuss topics like sexuality, masturbation and porn early on, you open the door for trust and honesty with your kids — and that helps build a foundation for good sexual health throughout their lives.

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