Birte Twisselmann on BMJ in the news

Although the medical myths from the BMJ‘s Christmas issue are still making headlines, it’s difficult teenagers that have caught the media’s attention this week. A research paper (with accompanying podcast) on outcomes of conduct problems in adolescence – a 40 year follow-up of the British 1946 birth cohort has been widely cited. The BBC stays reassuringly vague: “Behaviour link to lifelong health” and news channel CNN.com warns cautiously that “Misbehaving teens may be at risk for major adulthood problems.” The Gazette Montreal agrees that “Troubled teens also struggle as adults” – but it’s the Straits Times Singapore that has the gloomiest outlook: “Naughty in school, fail in life.”

What problems will the adolescents with conduct problems face exactly? Science Daily predicts these in general terms: “Behavioral difficulties at school may lead to lifelong health and social problems,” whereas the Guardian actually names two: “Tearaway teenagers prone to depression and divorce as adults.”

And finally, a Christmas BMJ paper made it into last week’s BBC quiz of the week.

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  • In my opinion, based on 53-year-long clinical experience, we must be caushious about statements like “Misbehaving teens may be at risk for major adulthood problems”.In fact, these phrases are EBM-dependent, in the sense that one thinks that all individuals are born equal. As a matter of fact, beside EBM, there is also Single Patient Based Medicine (Ask Google.com: Single Patient Based Medicine and PLOS).