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Using smartphone for long hours every day may do you more harm than you can probably think of. Pixabay

Using smartphone for long hours every day may do you more harm than you can probably think of. Researchers have found that spending a lot of time with the device and on social media may lead to mental distress and suicidality among adolescents.

The findings, published in the journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) contains guidance for physicians, parents and teachers on how to help teenagers manage smartphone and social media use for a healthy balance between sleep, academic work, social activity, interpersonal relationships and online activity.


“Physicians, teachers and families need to work together with youth to decrease possible harmful effects of smartphones and social media on their relationships, sense of self, sleep, academic performance, and emotional well-being,” said lead author of the study Elia Abi-Jaoude from Toronto Western Hospital in Canada.

This review of evidence, led by the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), focuses on smartphone use and does not consider online gaming.


Parents should discuss appropriate smartphone use with teenagers to determine together how to reduce risks and set boundaries. Pixabay

“For adolescents today, who have not known a world without social media, digital interactions are the norm, and the potential benefits of online access to productive mental health information — including media literacy, creativity, self-expression, sense of belonging and civic engagement — as well as low barriers to resources such as crisis lines and Internet-based talking therapies cannot be discounted,” the authors wrote.

The researchers recommend that doctors should ask teenagers to reduce social media use rather than eradicate it completely and encourage parents to be part of the conversations.

Parents should discuss appropriate smartphone use with teenagers to determine together how to reduce risks and set boundaries.

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A recent poll from the US indicates that 54 per cent of teenagers think they spend too much time on their smartphones and about half said they were cutting back on usage.

“Encouragingly, youth are increasingly recognising the negative impact of social media on their lives and starting to take steps to mitigate it,” the authors wrote. (IANS)


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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

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The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

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Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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