These were the top neuroscience stories for the week of September 7, 2020.
Vaping Among Teens Declines
The proportion of teens who use e-cigarettes declined for the first time in three years, the CDC reported September 9. They surveyed more than 20,000 teens earlier this year for the National Youth Tobacco Survey and found just under 20% of high school students and 5% of middle schoolers used e-cigarettes in the past month. In 2019, 28% of high school students and 11% of middle school students reported vaping in the past month. But the number of high schoolers who reported heavy use — vaping on 20 or more days during the last month — increased from 34% to 38%.
Big picture: While the findings are encouraging, they obscure a larger trend: teen vaping has increased at an alarming rate over the past decade. In 2011, for example, just 1.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes.
Read more: Vaping among teens falls for the first time in three years (The Washington Post)
Blackout Drinking Linked to Dementia
Heavy drinking leading to blackouts may up the risks of developing dementia later in life, researchers reported September 9 in JAMA Network Open. Using survey data from more than 130,000 European adults collected between 1986 and 2012, they found people who said they consumed alcohol to the point of losing consciousness had more than double the risk of developing dementia a decade later than people who didn’t experience blackouts. The correlation held up even in moderate drinkers who consumed between one and 14 drinks a week.
Related: Alcohol and the Brain
Read more: Research Links Blackout Drinking to Doubled Dementia Risk (Futurism)