Posted on

Researchers believe brain study could help cut suicide deaths

Researchers believe they have identified key networks in the brain that interact to increase the risk that someone will think about – or attempt – suicide.

Around 800,000 people die globally by suicide every year, and is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.

Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen, co-first author from the University of Cambridge, said: “We know very little about what’s happening in the brain, why there are sex differences, and what makes young people especially vulnerable to suicide.”

Scientists reviewed 20 years’ worth of literature relating to brain imaging studies of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

They looked at 131 studies, which covered more than 12,000 individuals, analysing changes in brain structure and function that might increase an individual’s suicide risk.

According to the study published in Molecular Psychiatry, they identified two brain networks – and the connections between them – that appear to play an important role.

One involves areas towards the front of the brain known as the medial and lateral ventral prefrontal cortex and their connections to other brain regions involved in emotion.

More from Mental Health

Scientists say alterations in this network may lead to excessive negative thoughts and difficulties regulating emotions, stimulating thoughts of suicide.

The second involves regions known as the dorsal prefrontal cortex and inferior frontal gyrus system.

Alterations in this network may influence suicide attempt, in part, due to its role in decision making, generating alternative solutions to problems, and controlling behaviour, researchers say.

They suggest that if both networks are altered in terms of their structure, function or biochemistry, this may lead to situations where an individual thinks negatively about the future and is unable to control their thoughts.

This might lead to situations where they are at higher risk for suicide, the study suggests.

Hilary Blumberg, John and Hope Furth Professor of psychiatric neuroscience at Yale, said: “The review provides evidence to support a very hopeful future in which we will find new and improved ways to reduce risk of suicide.”

Scientists say there is an urgent need for more research looking at whether their proposed model relates to future suicide attempts and at whether any therapies could change the structure or function of these brain networks and thereby perhaps reduce suicide risk.

Co-first author Dr Lianne Schmaal, from the University of Melbourne, said: “The biggest predictor of death by suicide is previous suicide attempt, so it’s essential that we can intervene as early as possible to reduce an individual’s risk.

“For many individuals, this will be during adolescence. If we can work out a way to identify those young people at greatest risk, then we will have a chance to step in and help them at this important stage in their lives.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Researchers believe brain study could help cut suicide deaths

Posted on

Lib Dem official ‘faked email to quash negative story’

The Liberal Democrats have suspended a member of staff after being accused of faking an email in order to quash a negative news story.

The staff member, who has not been named, is alleged to have falsified the email to prove that the Liberal Democrats had responded to a request for comment from the website OpenDemocracy.

Lawyers for the Liberal Democrats had accused OpenDemocracy of “irresponsible” behaviour that was “intended to be disparaging against our client”, after the website published a piece on the party selling data to the Remain campaign in 2016.









Campaign Check: Lib Dem manifesto

Top commercial law firm Goodman Derrick claimed OpenDemocracy had failed to include comment from the Liberal Democrats and demanded the piece be changed or removed.

In order to prove the party had responded, the lawyers supplied an email from the staff member which the official claimed was the Liberal Democrat response to OpenDemocracy.

The email was dated 12 November.

OpenDemocracy had not asked for comment on the story until 13 November.

More from General Election 2019

The “reply” also had a subject heading that was not about the story in question.

When presented with this information, along with further evidence that OpenDemocracy had not received a comment from the Liberal Democrats, the party initially threatened the website with legal action.

In an email sent at 10.57 on 29 November, seen by Sky News, Goodman Derrick told OpenDemocracy that the Liberal Democrats “may wish to seek an urgent injunction to prevent publication of any false allegations of forgery and fraud”.

Just over three hours later, the party changed its story.

A letter from Goodman Derrick to OpenDemocracy, sent by email at 14.17 on 29 November, admitted that the staff member’s email was “incorrect”.

The letter said that the Liberal Democrats had “suspended the member of staff involved in producing that email and has launched an urgent enquiry into the matter”.

It added: “Neither our client contact [the Liberal Democrats] nor this firm had any reason to believe the email was anything other than genuine.”

Mary Fitzgerald, editor-in-chief of OpenDemocracy, told Sky News this was “shocking behaviour” that she “didn’t expect” from the Lib Dems.



Britain's opposition Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson speaks during the launch of the Liberal Democrats general election manifesto in central London, on November 20, 2019. - Britain will go to the polls on December 12, 2019 to vote in a pre-Christmas general election. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)







Lib Dems promise ‘remain bonus’ after Brexit

“What does it say about the Lib Dems’ regard for fact-checking, accuracy and press freedom?” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The party urgently needs to clarify who sanctioned this aggressive and expensive legal pursuit, which repeatedly made false claims and included a poorly-faked document.”

The original OpenDemocracy story, by former Independent political correspondent James Cusick, revealed “new evidence” that the Liberal Democrats sold voter data to the Remain campaign.

The story, which was published on 13 November, says the UK’s data watchdog has documents showing that the party made a £100,000 deal with the Remain campaign to supply it data during the 2016 EU referendum.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson told Sky News: “The Liberal Democrats refute allegations made in OpenDemocracy’s piece of 13 November.

“However, we have been made aware that the information OpenDemocracy subsequently received from the Liberal Democrats was incorrect.

“We have suspended a member of staff involved and are following due process.”

The Brexit Election on Sky News – the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.

  • Watch Dermot Murnaghan live from 9pm on 12 December
  • See the exit poll at 10pm Watch KayBurley@Breakfast election special on 13 December
  • Find out what happens next in All Out Politics special from 9am with Adam Boulton.

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Lib Dem official ‘faked email to quash negative story’

Posted on

Crypto developer arrested ‘for helping North Korea’

A cryptocurrency researcher has been arrested for allegedly helping the North Korean government use the technology to launder money and evade sanctions designed to restrict its nuclear programme.

Virgil Griffith, 36, attended a conference in Pyongyang in which he gave a presentation on topics that were pre-approved by North Korean officials, according to the US Department of Justice.

Aware of sanctions against the country, Griffith had previously applied to the State Department for permission to attend the conference.

Although this was refused, the legal complaint against him alleges that Griffith attended the conference anyway, travelling via China.

He paid €100 for a visa which he attached to a paper separate from his US passport to avoid creating physical proof that he had been to North Korea.

After he had completed his presentation, titled “Blockchain and Peace”, Griffith discussed helping exchange cryptocurrency between North and South Korea, which he acknowledged would be in violation of the sanctions.

The complaint alleges that following the trip he expressed a desire to return to North Korea, and also seek alternate citizenship.

More from North Korea

The FBI’s assistant director-in-charge William Sweeney said: “There are deliberate reasons sanctions have been levied on North Korea.

“The country and its leader pose a literal threat to our national security and that of our allies,” Mr Sweeney added.

“Mr Griffith allegedly travelled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with knowledge what he was doing was against the law.

“We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk.

“It’s even more egregious that a US citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary.”

TOPSHOT - This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 3, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) looking at a metal casing with two bulges at an undisclosed location. North Korea has developed a hydrogen bomb which can be loaded into the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency claimed on September 3. Questions remain over whether nuclear-armed Pyongyang has successfully miniaturise
Image:
North Korea says it has continued parts of its nuclear programme

Pyongyang has consistently launched missiles into the seas neighbouring it – most recently near a disputed sea boundary on Friday – following a detente in negotiations between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

Analysts claim these missiles are an attempt by North Korea to pressure the US to make concessions in their stalemate over the country’s nuclear ambitions.

International sanctions have severely hampered Pyongyang’s ability to access international financial systems and markets, driving the government’s embrace of illicit forms of generating income, prominently including cyber heists.



In this handout image provided by South Korean Presidential Blue House, President Moon Jae-in xxx during the National Security Council at the Presidential Blue House on July 29, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea launched another test missile, believed to be an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which travelled 45 minutes before splashing down in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Japan.







North Korea may be building more ballistic rockets despite US agreement

North Korean cryptocurrency activities have grown since 2017 when the UN passed its most recent sanctions following the country testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang’s holdings of cryptocurrencies could now be as high as $735m (£561m), depending on valuation, according to the Royal United Services Institute, but they could be much lower.

Among the criminal activities which the state has engaged in around cryptocurrencies have been the financially-motivated ransomware attack which hit the NHS in 2017, as well as using cyber attacks to steal millions from cryptocurrency exchanges.

An elite hacking unit based in the country is perhaps the only state-sponsored group in the world which has a financially-motivated mission, rather than being focused on collecting intelligence for national security purposes.

Its operations began in February 2014 according to cyber security firm FireEye, “and were likely influenced by financial sanctions enacted in March 2013 that blocked bulk cash transfers and restricted North Korea’s access to international banking systems”.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walks southward with US President Donald Trump, after Trump briefly stepped into the north of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Image:
Negotiations between the US and North Korea failed this year

North Korea has historically manufactured drugs, counterfeit currency and engaged in smuggling to keep its economy afloat, and FireEye describes the hacking as a similar form of activity.

A secretive agency known informally as Office 39 has been a critical asset of the state by generating black market revenues since at least the 1970s.

It is estimated to bring $1bn a year through illicit activities, including counterfeiting US dollar currency, producing narcotics, and even smuggling gold.

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Crypto developer arrested ‘for helping North Korea’

Posted on

Facebook corrects user’s post under new Singapore fake news law

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) said on Saturday it had issued a correction notice on a user’s post at the request of the Singapore government, but urged for a measured approach to the implementation of a new “fake news” law to protect freedom of speech.

“Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information,” the notice, which could be seen by some users in Singapore, said.

The correction notice was embedded at the bottom of the original post without any alterations to the text, but it could not be seen by other users inside and outside the country.

The Singapore government said on Friday it had instructed Facebook to publish a correction notice on a Nov. 23 post.

“As required by Singapore law, Facebook applied a label to these posts, which were determined by the Singapore Government to contain false information,” a spokesperson for Facebook said in an emailed statement.

“As it is early days of the law coming into effect, we hope the Singapore Government’s assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation.”

Reporting by Fathin Ungku and John Geddie; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Richard Pullin

Source: Reuters: Technology News
Continue reading Facebook corrects user’s post under new Singapore fake news law

Posted on

Apple to take ‘deeper look’ at disputed borders

Apple says it is taking “a deeper look” at how it handles disputed borders.

Ukraine criticised the tech giant for showing Crimea as part of Russia’s territory on its Maps and Weather apps.

An Apple spokeswoman says the company follows international and domestic laws and the change, which is only for users in Russia, had been made because of new legislation there.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 was condemned by much of the international community.

In a statement, Apple stressed “we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia.

“We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labelling on our Maps and make changes if required by law.”

Apple added it as a result of its review of how disputed borders are handled, it might make more changes in the future.

“Our intention is to make sure our customers can enjoy using Maps and other Apple services, everywhere in the world.”

Ukrainian condemnation

The changes to Apple’s Crimea map for users in Russia were announced earlier in the week by the State Duma, Russian parliament’s lower house, in a statement, which described the former boundaries as an “inaccuracy”.

“Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory,” the statement read.

Russia treats the naval port city of Sevastopol as a separate region.

Apple has been in talks with Russia for several months and had hoped to keep Crimea as an undefined territory, part of neither Russia nor Ukraine.

Google, which produces its own popular map app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. That change happened in March.

Apple’s move brought sharp condemnation from Ukraine.

Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted: “Apple, please stick to hi-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side.”

Ukraine’s US embassy was equally critical on Twitter.

“We guess Ukrainians not giving any thanks to @Apple this #Thanksgiving. So let’s all remind Apple that #CrimeaIsUkraine and it is under Russian occupation – not its sovereignty,” it tweeted.

Russian ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov added his voice, calling the decision “unacceptable appeasement”.

He added: “Software is soft power. American tech companies should stand up for the values of innovation that made their success possible, not bow down to dictators for a little extra cash they don’t even need.”

Source: BBC News – Technology
Continue reading Apple to take ‘deeper look’ at disputed borders

Posted on

Sham news sites make big bucks from fake views

Forbes and Business Insider are both well-known news sites. So is forbesbusinessinsider.com a new spin-off?

No. It has nothing to do with either Forbes or Business Insider.

In fact, it’s a site that copies and pastes entire articles from other publishers and reposts them with very slight changes.

There are 350 million registered domain names on the internet. Experts say it’s impossible to count how many are sham news sites.

But just like legitimate websites, they earn money from the major tech companies that pay them to display ads.

Billions of dollars

Amazon and Google are two of the world’s biggest players in the digital advertising industry.

They bring in billions of dollars a year from selling access to ad space across the internet.

When the BBC recently viewed forbesbusinessinsider.com, it saw ads promoting major brands including Sephora and Vitality insurance.

After Google was alerted to the site by the BBC, it stopped publishing ads on it but Amazon is still doing so.

The site was created by a web design firm based in Karachi, Pakistan. Designer Shahzad Memon told the BBC his company built forbesbusinessinsider.com as a test to find ways of increasing search engine optimisation – the ability to make a link to a site appear high up in search results for certain queries.

“You don’t have to be an advanced hacker to do this,” said Dr Augustine Fou, a digital advertising expert based in New York.

“As long as you know a little bit of code, you can build a basic website using templates.”

Often the sites are not designed to be seen by human eyes at all.

The laredotribune.com website also – at first glance – appears to be a regular news site for a city in south Texas. There are stories about local residents and President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

But the stories have no publication date. There are no contact details for the editorial staff and the site loads slowly due to the large number of ads.

Yet the site has had 3.7 million page views over the past three months, according to data from analytics firm SimilarWeb.

Not bad for a news site covering a city of just 260,000 people.

But the audience is fake. Bots are used to give the impression of high traffic, generating very real revenue for the site’s creators.

“We estimate each site is making at least $100,000 [£77,450] a month,” said Vlad Shevtsov, director of investigations at Social Puncher, the firm that exposed a number of fraudulent news sites. The organisation says ad fraud is a million-dollar industry.

Dig a little deeper into the Laredo Tribune’s user data, and there are other clues it is not legitimate.

Advertisers might ask why there were 500,000 page views in September, which jumped to a staggering three million views in October.

Ads for major UK brands including Virgin Media, Superdrug and even TV Licensing were all displayed on related sham news sites seen by the BBC.

“We hope more can be done across the industry to clamp down on these instances of pay-per-con advertising fraud,” said a Virgin Media spokesman.

Google says the Laredo Tribune does not breach its advertising rules, and it found no issues with traffic to the site.

“That means that next month, the anonymous owner will get the next payout cheque from Google,” said Mr Shevtsov.

But many in the industry say Google does not do enough to ensure advertising budgets are not wasted via other bogus sites.

“The ad industry and Google keep ignoring obvious evidence – that they pay fraudsters,” Mr Shevtsov said.

Dr Augustine Fou agrees.

“I get why this is really hard for a platform like Google to police. There are hundreds of thousands of apps and millions of sites that use its advertising technology to make money,” said Dr Fou.

“But after years and years of knowing about abuses, they ought to be doing something more proactively, not just taking action after third parties do all the work for them.”

Google says it is very invested in the fight against ad fraud. The BBC invited Amazon to comment but it did not respond.

Source: BBC News – Technology
Continue reading Sham news sites make big bucks from fake views

Posted on

Drone users must now register and complete theory test

Drone owners will have to register their device, complete an online theory test and pay a one-off £9 fee under new regulations that take effect across the UK from today.

Anyone owning a drone that weighs more than 250g (8.8oz) will be legally required to register it and could face a £1,000 fine if they fail to do so and are caught flying it.

The legislation is aimed at tackling drone misuse and the rising number of incidents that aviation authorities have had to deal with in recent years.

There were 125 incidents last year and 87 reported so far in 2019.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: “UK drone laws are changing and it’s vital that drone users – whether they fly regularly or not – are aware of how the drone registration scheme will affect them.”

A rogue drone caused chaos at Gatwick Airport last December with 1,000 flights cancelled or diverted, affecting 140,000 passengers over two days.

The drone responsible, and its operator, was never found.

More from Drones

The CAA has revealed that just 40,000 of the UK’s estimated 90,000 drone owners have registered their devices since the system was launched earlier this month.

Its website crashed on Friday due to the high volume of owners trying to register their drones.

Passengers queue at Gatwick Airport
Image:
There was chaos at Gatwick Airport last year following a drone incident

Retailers across the country are now bracing themselves for questions about the new regulations from would-be drone owners in the run-up to Christmas.

“For us it’s very much going to be a case of making sure that customers are aware of the new regulations,” said Danny Roe, manager of gadget and technology shop Menkind in Kingston-upon-Thames.

“We have leaflets on the counter too.

“I think some customers will be confused by it, but it’s up to us as retailers to inform them.

“Our drones range in price from £25 up to £250 and we have at least two models which will be affected by the new rules.

“At this time of the year there is always a real ‘wow’ factor to drones, they fly off the shelves in the run up to Christmas.”

In the aftermath of the Gatwick Airport drone incident the no-fly zone around airports was extended in March from 0.6 miles (1km) to 3.1 miles (5km).

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Drone users must now register and complete theory test

Posted on

Black hole ‘so big it should not exist’ has been discovered

A black hole so big that scientists say it should not exist has been discovered 15,000 light years away from Planet Earth.

Black holes are formed after stars die, collapse and explode, and are understood to have a mass about 20 times that of the sun.

However, the latest discovery, named LB-1, has a mass 70 times greater than that of the sun, making researchers question current theories around the size of the interstellar phenomenon.



Black hole







Explained: How a black hole devours a star

Professor Liu Jifeng, the head of an international research team that made the discovery, said: “Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution.

“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life.

“Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant.

“LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible.”

More from Space

Scientists will now have to try to explain why the black hole ended up so big, with one theory being it is two black holes orbiting each other.

They also suggest that an exploding star could have “fallen back” into supernova and created the giant black hole – known as a “fall-back supernova”. However, scientists have never been able to prove the theory.

Although not as big as supermassive black holes, which can have a mass billions of times heavier than the sun, LB-1 could be the largest of its kind.

Scientists have called the discovery a “renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics”.

The black hole was discovered using the LAMOST telescope in China, the Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain, the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in the US; teams in those countries, alongside scientists in Australia, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, took part in the research.

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Black hole ‘so big it should not exist’ has been discovered

Posted on

Home urine test could revolutionise prostate cancer diagnosis

Scientists have developed a new prostate cancer test which could involve collecting a urine sample at home.

Experts hope to revolutionise diagnosis of the potentially fatal disease by creating an at-home collection kit.

Those who use the kit would then post the sample off for analysis.

The Prostate Urine Risk (PUR) test is for men suspected of having prostate cancer, and is much more sensitive than current methods.

It picks up how aggressive the disease is, at what point men will need treatment, and rules out those who do not have prostate cancer.

The test cuts down the need for other procedures, including biopsies, blood tests, a physical examination known as a digital rectal examination, or an MRI scan.

It is also suitable for men already diagnosed with low-risk disease who are on a “watch and wait” approach known as active surveillance.

More from UK

For these men, the test could cut follow-up appointments from once every year to once every two to three years.

The urine test was created by experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The scientists say they have now developed the test further so urine samples can be collected at home.

This means men do not have to go into the clinic to provide a urine sample or to undergo a rectal exam.

The scientists say this is an important step because the first urine of the day provides biomarker levels from the prostate that are much higher and more consistent than at other times.

Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Clark, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “The PUR test looks at gene expression in urine samples and provides vital information about whether a cancer is aggressive or ‘low risk’.

“Being able to simply provide a urine sample at home and post a sample off for analysis could really revolutionise diagnosis.

“It means that men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested.”

The researchers gave 14 men at-home collection kits as part of a small study, and compared the results of their morning-time home urine samples with samples collected after a digital rectal examination.

Medics can currently struggle to identify patients with an aggressive form of prostate cancer who need immediate treatment from those who are low risk and put on active surveillance.

But Dr Clark said: “Using our at-home test could in future revolutionise how those on active surveillance are monitored for disease progression, with men only having to visit the clinic for a positive urine result.

“This is in contrast to the current situation where men are recalled to the clinic every six to 12 months for painful and expensive biopsies.

“Because the PUR test accurately predicts aggressive prostate cancer, and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years earlier than standard clinical methods, it means that a negative test could enable men to only be retested every two to three years, relieving stress to the patient and reducing hospital workload.”

The research team say that their findings could also help pioneer the development of at-home collection tests for bladder and kidney cancer.

Around 48,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK, and more than 11,000 die from it.

Simon Grieveson, head of research funding at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This new test is early in its development, but has the potential to offer a simple, non-invasive way of predicting aggressive prostate cancer without the need for men to attend a clinic.”

Prostate Cancer UK and Movember, the group raising awareness for men’s health, especially for prostate cancer, are awarding funds to the scientists so more men can be tested, he said.

The test has been announced after it emerged some men with advanced prostate cancer could survive for at least two more years on immunotherapy, according to a new study.

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Home urine test could revolutionise prostate cancer diagnosis

Posted on

Anxious, can’t sleep? Smartphone use an addiction for a quarter of youngsters

A quarter of children and young people are “problematic smartphone” users and are using the devices in a way that is consistent with behavioural addiction, research suggests.

The study, by researchers at King’s College London and published in BMC Psychiatry, analysed 41 studies published since 2011 on smartphone usage and mental health involving more than 40,000 under-20s.

It showed that on average 23% of youngsters were showing signs of “problematic smartphone usage” (PSU).

The researchers defined PSU as behaviour linked to smartphone use that has an element of addiction – such as anxiety when the phone is unavailable or causing neglect of other activities.

The study also found that there are links between PSU and mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, poor sleep and depressed moods.

Co-senior author Dr Nicola Kalk from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, said: “Smartphones are here to stay and there is a need to understand the prevalence of problematic smartphone usage.

“We don’t know whether it is the smartphone itself that can be addictive or the apps that people use.

More from Smartphone

“Nevertheless, there is a need for public awareness around smartphone use in children and young people, and parents should be aware of how much time their children spend on their phones.”

The study authors note that 22 of the studies examined were of “poor methodological quality” and that there was wide variation across the research analysed in the definitions of PSU.

Dr Sam Chamberlain, Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, University of Cambridge, said: “Research into PSU is important from a public health point of view. The authors report that approximately 10-30% of young people in the studies included in their meta-analysis met a chosen threshold for having PSU.

“Also, PSU was associated with (by self-report measures) higher levels of depression, anxiety, and worse sleep. These results resonate with previous findings, including those on related topics such as Problematic Usage of the Internet.”

He added: “One challenge for the field, in light of this valuable meta-analysis, is that Problematic Smartphone Use is not consistently defined.

“There are various rating scales, with different cut-offs and criteria, some of which have not been subjected to sufficient clinical (and other) validation.”

Source: Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News
Continue reading Anxious, can’t sleep? Smartphone use an addiction for a quarter of youngsters