A team of our (smart) researchers from SMAHRT descended on Washington, D.C. last weekend for the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting. SMAHRT = Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team, which is based at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. This week, we’ll feature some of their new research. Megan Moreno, MD, leads the group and is a senior author on all of the research studies. Some of the researchers are based at other academic institutions, demonstrating the collaborative spirit of SMAHRT.

Alcohol bottles, distressed young adult

As a recent undergraduate at one of the top party schools in the United States – Princeton Review’s words, not mine – I have had the opportunity of witnessing worrisome alcohol use at high levels. Freshman year, I can’t count the number of times I came across a person passed out in the bathroom or the number of times I heard the phrase “I’m not drunk yet, let’s take 2,3,4,5 shots. I want to get wasted.”

In college, you definitely learn how to deal with daunting situations like this right away. Alcohol can cause people to do some scary and uncharacteristic things. I think this is what drew me to studying college students with alcohol dependence issues. Additionally, dependence has been correlated with a plethora of life problems, health problems, social problems, and emotional problems, all of which overlap to make a very interesting and worthy topic to study.

It is unique that such a small portion of the population—less than four percent in the U.S., according to a 2006 study—falls into the dependent category. Why? What is it about them? And could Facebook help us reach them before they develop a problem?

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