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Study of 'screen time' on mood, memory, and cognition wins top NIH Addiction Science Award
Date:5/17/2013

An exploration of electronic "screen time" and sleep on mood, memory and learning was given the top Addiction Science Award at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)the world's largest science competition for high school students. The awards are coordinated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Friends of NIDA, a coalition that supports NIDA's mission. The Intel ISEF Addiction Science Awards were presented at a ceremony Thursday night at the Phoenix Convention Center.

First place distinction was awarded to Zarin Ibnat Rahman, a high school junior at Brookings High School in Brookings, S.D., for her project, The At-Risk Maturing Brain: Effects of Stress Paradigms on Mood, Memory and Cognition in Adolescents and the Role of the Prefrontal Cortex. The 16 year-old hypothesized that excessive screen time with computers, phones and other electronic devices serves as a stressor ultimately affecting mood, academic performance and poor decision making. She asked 67 teens -- divided into two groups -- to take a series of tests measuring factors such as use of electronic devices, sleep patterns, anxiety, mood, and attention. She concluded that excessive screen time shapes adolescents' sleep patterns, compromising academic success and emotional health. Rahman noted that electronic devices are tools, and like tools, they can be used to build or destroy. She hopes teens will re-think the amount of time they spend on these devices after reading about her project.

"This young scientist identified important risk factors that can cause a teen to stumble on his or her way to adulthood," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "By taking a comprehensive look at how the developing teenage brain responds to various stressors of modern teenage life, she was able to make the link between excessive use of electronic devices to sleep deprivation and its consequences."

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Contact: NIDA Press Team
media@nida.nih.gov
301-443-6245
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse
Source:Eurekalert

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