I, Science News – 13 May 2019

First up, a team at the Oxford Internet Institute have found that social media usage accounts for only 1% of a teenagers’ wellbeing, with factors including interpersonal relationships and family having a much larger impact on happiness. The team have published their findings in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study took place between 2009 and 2017 and consisted of 12,000 10 to 15-year olds. Traditionally studies to do with the relationship between social media and happiness in adolescents have produced negative results, whilst this is the first study to illustrate a minimal, although small, benefit to social media usage.

Next, the NHS has published worrying findings of a sustained drop in the number of GPs over the last five years. This news comes at a time when demands on GPs are rising, with reports of seven-week waits for routine appointments. Until 2014, GP numbers were on the increase, but since then have been steadily falling. Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs, said: “General practice cannot be allowed to fail. It is an absolute cornerstone of the NHS.”

And finally, could we finally be on the road to the eradication of HIV? A new study across 14 European countries published in The Lancet has shown HIV positive patients who are on antiretroviral therapy have a zero risk of viral transmission via unprotected sexual intercourse. With a global population of 40 million currently living with HIV, this finding is of clear importance. With the proper implementation of these drugs the UNAIDS ambition of halting the spread of HIV by the year 2030 seems ever more possible. The main focus now has to be testing populations for the disease so people unknowingly living with it can begin treatment.

This week’s news was presented and written by Madeleine Openshaw, who is studying for a MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.

Banner image: Surgery in hospital, fshoq

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