Quarter of 14-year-old girls 'have signs of depression'

teenage girl with her mumImage copyright Getty Images

A quarter of girls and nearly one in 10 boys show signs of depression at the age of 14, say UK researchers.

The findings[1] come from more than 10,000 young people who shared their worries and emotions.

Surveys with their parents, however, suggested many were not attuned to the true anxieties of their teenage sons and daughters.

Parents often underestimated daughters' stress and had concerns about sons that the boys themselves did not voice.

Lead investigator Dr Praveetha Patalay, from Liverpool University, said teenagers, and particularly girls, were facing more mental health difficulties than previous generations.

Image copyright Getty Images

Many factors could be contributing, including exam stress and worries about body image, experts believe.

The Millennium Cohort Study survey suggests:

  • Teenage girls report more anxiety and depressive symptoms than boys
  • 14-year-olds from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to report depressive symptoms than peers from better-off families
  • Girls from mixed and white ethnic backgrounds are the most likely to report high depressive symptoms
  • Black African girls are least likely to report high depressive symptoms at this age
  • For boys, those from mixed and other ethnic groups are at greatest risk of depressive symptoms
  • Bangladeshi and Indian boys are the least likely to report these symptoms
  • Agreement between self- and parent-reported emotional symptoms of 14-year-olds is weak

Half of all cases of adult mental illness start by the age of 14, and it is important they are diagnosed and treated early.

Demand for specialist services is growing, but child and adolescent mental health teams are overstretched and turn away nearly a quarter of the young patients referred to them, says the National Children's Bureau[4], which has published the survey findings.

Its chief executive, Anna Feuchtwang, said:"With a quarter of 14-year-old girls showing signs of depression, it's now beyond doubt that this problem is reaching crisis point.

"Worryingly, there is evidence that parents may be underestimating their daughters' mental health needs.

"Conversely, parents may be picking up on symptoms in their sons, which boys don't report themselves.

"It's vital that both children and their parents can make their voices heard to maximise the chances of early identification and access to specialist support."

Dr Marc Bush, from the charity Young Minds, said:"We know that teenage girls face a huge range of pressures, including stress at school, body image issues, bullying and the pressure created by social media.

"Difficult experiences in childhood, including bereavement, domestic violence or neglect, can also have a serious impact, often several years down the line.

"To make matters worse, it can be extremely difficult for teenagers to get the right support if they're struggling to cope.

"That's why it's crucial that mental health services are properly funded, with a focus on early intervention."...

Signs of depression

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming


  1. ^ The findings (www.cls.ioe.ac.uk)
  2. ^ Celine's depression:'My selfies tell a story' (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ The advice I'd give to my teenage self (www.bbc.co.uk)
  4. ^ National Children's Bureau (www.ncb.org.uk)

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Life-extending lung cancer drug approved

Writer AA GillImage copyright Getty Images

A life-extending lung cancer drug will be made immediately available to NHS patients in England, say advisers.

Campaigners, including the late Sunday Times restaurant critic AA Gill, have repeatedly called for access to the pioneering immunotherapy, which can add months to life.

Scotland already offers nivolumab to people with advanced disease who have also tried chemotherapy.

England's drugs watchdog had originally said nivolumab was too expensive.

More life

In new draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence[1] (NICE) has approved nivolumab through the fast-track Cancer Drugs Fund[2] while more evidence is gathered on its cost-effectiveness.

That means some patients - about 1,300 people with advanced squamous and non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (whose tumours express a molecule called PD-L1) - will now be eligible for the drug.

During his final weeks living with terminal cancer, AA Gill described nivolumab as "more life spent on Earth - but only if you can pay".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption AA Gill, pictured with his partner of 23 years Nicola Formby

The former smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his neck and pancreas, with tumours that were inoperable and unsuitable for radiotherapy.

Gill said he had been denied a drug - costing about £5,000 a month - that may have helped him live "considerably" longer and was the weapon of choice for "every oncologist in the First World".

What is Nivolumab?

Nivolumab (brand name Opdivo) is a type of immunotherapy that stimulates the body's immune system to fight cancer cells.

It works by interrupting the chemical signals that cancers use to convince the immune system they are healthy tissue.

Patients can have nivolumab into a vein as a drip.

It is used to treat advanced melanoma, blood cancer (Hodgkin lymphoma), kidney cancer and the most common type of lung cancer - non small-cell lung cancer.

It is also used in clinical trials for other types of cancer.

Prof Carole Longson, from NICE, said:"We know that nivolumab is clinically effective for some people with lung cancer, but the full extent of its benefit is not clear.

"This new deal means that we can give patients access to what we know is a promising treatment whilst more evidence is gathered on its value."

Prof Paul Workman, from the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, said:"Immunotherapies are currently very expensive, but one of the ways to make them more cost-effective is to direct them to patients most likely to respond.Today's decision is a welcome step in the right direction."...


  1. ^ National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (www.nice.org.uk)
  2. ^ Cancer Drugs Fund (www.england.nhs.uk)

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Newspaper headlines: Johnson's backs off and Trump speech stuns

Image caption The Times says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has pulled back from the brink of resignation after striking a backroom deal with Number 10 before Theresa May's key Brexit speech in Florence on Friday.The development follows four days of cabinet turbulence, notes the Times. Image caption Similarly, the Daily Telegraph says Mrs May made peace with Mr Johnson by securing a cabinet truce over the UK's future payments to the EU."The deal involves paying substantial sums to the EU until at least 2020, but no further payments after Britain's transition period," it reports. Image caption The Financial Times says German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be told to expect an offer of at least 20bn euros (£18bn) to fill a post-Brexit black hole by Theresa May.The paper says it is the first attempt by London to meet European demands to settle its divorce bill. Image caption The Metro reflects on US President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations General Assembly.The paper says he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, describing Kim Jong-un as a "'Rocket Man on a suicide mission". Image caption It also makes the lead for the Guardian, which says Mr Trump lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on "righteous" nations to confront them."The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes," recounts the Guardian. Image caption The i says Mr Trump denounced "wicked, evil" Iran and threatened to intervene in Venezuela.The speech echoed George Bush's "axis of evil" address a year before the Iraq War, remarks the i. Image caption The Daily Express says Mr Trump warned that the US might have "no choice but to totally destroy" North Korea. Image caption "Kim Jong-un...the monster and me." The Daily Mirror has a special report from the North Korean border about a defector who has fled the dictator's inner circle to tell of his horror. Image caption The Daily Mail says Theresa May will use a summit in New York on Wednesday to warn tech giants Google and Facebook they will face punishing fines unless they remove terrorist propaganda within two hours.Her patience is running out over their and their rivals' failure to clamp down on jihadist groups, says the Mail. Image caption The Sun carries the same story on its front page, but leads on delighted 47-year-old Tess Morten who has stunned the medical world by having her first baby seven years after going through the menopause.

Get news from the BBC in your inbox, each weekday morning[1]...

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Neolithic Orkney rivalries detailed in new study

Ring of BrodgarImage copyright Colin Richards / UHI Image caption Ring of Brodgar is a famous Orkney site

Rivalries in Orkney more than 4,500 years ago led to competition between communities including over how people were buried, according to new research.

Scientists were able to gather much more precise estimates of the timing and duration of events in the period around 3200-2500 BC by examining more than 600 radiocarbon dates.

The study challenges many previously-held ideas about Neolithic Orkney.

The study has been published in the journal Antiquity.

It was led by Prof Alex Bayliss from Historic England, with Prof Colin Richards of the University of the Highlands and Islands in Kirkwall as co-author.It is part of a wider project called The Times of Their Lives.

Ritual clues

The study concludes that seemingly rapid changes in settlements and monuments indicate that there were rivalries and tension between social groups.

This was played out in how they buried their dead and in their communal gatherings and rituals.

The study covered famous Orkney sites including Skara Brae[1] and Maeshowe[2].

Key dates indicated by the study

  • Orkney was probably first colonised in 3600 BC
  • Settlement peaked in the period 3100-2900 BC
  • There was a phase of decline 2800-2600 BC, measured by the number of stone houses in use
  • Settlement resumed in 2600-2300 BC, and it could have been about this time that the Ring of Brodgar itself was erected.

Prof Bayliss said:"This study shows that new statistical analysis of the large numbers of radiocarbon dates that are now available in British archaeology really changes what we can know about our pasts.

"People in the Neolithic made choices, just like us, about all sorts of things - where to live, how to bury their dead, how to farm, where and when to gather together - and those choices are just beginning to come into view through archaeology.

"It's an exciting time to be an archaeological scientist."

Image copyright Colin Richards / UHI

Prof Richards said:"Our study shows how much remains to be discovered in Orkney about the Neolithic period, even though it may appear well known."

Prof Alasdair Whittle of Cardiff University is the lead investigator for The Times of Their Lives.

Prof Whittle said:"Visitors come from all over the world to admire the wonderfully preserved archaeological remains of Orkney, in what may seem a timeless setting.

"Our study underlines that the Neolithic past was often rapidly changing, and that what may appear to us to be enduring monuments were in fact part of a dynamic historical context."...


  1. ^ Skara Brae (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Maeshowe (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Miscarriage study points to IVF success chances

This type of IVF is known as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The injected sperm fertilizes the egg and the resulting zygote is cultured until it reaches an early stage of embryonic development. It is then implanted into the uterusImage copyright Science Photo Library

Mothers-to-be who miscarry during the first round of IVF are more likely to have a baby with further treatment than those who did not get pregnant, researchers have said.

The University of Aberdeen study looked at data for more than 100,000 women.

The results showed that those who miscarried during the first cycle had a 40.9% chance of having a baby over two further cycles of IVF.

There was a 30.1% chance for those who did not conceive in the first cycle.

Offer reassurance

And women who gave birth following their first full cycle of IVF had a 49% chance of giving birth again in subsequent IVF cycles.

It is hoped the study can offer "reassurance" to those considering their options.

The study - published in Human Reproduction - examined data from more than 112,000 women who started IVF treatment between 1999 and 2008.

Fertility facts

  • One in six couples in the UK experiences problems conceiving
  • Infertility in women is linked to age - the biggest decrease in fertility begins during the mid 30s
  • Common causes of infertility in women include lack of regular ovulation, blockage of the fallopian tubes and endometriosis
  • For 25% of couples the cause of infertility is unexplained
  • In men, the most common cause of infertility is poor quality of semen
  • More than five million people had been born as a result of IVF or Icsi (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) by the end of 2013

The study was carried out by fourth year medical student Natalie Cameron, led and supported by Dr David McLernon, Prof Siladitya Bhattacharya, and Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya.

Image caption Natalie Cameron led the research

Ms Cameron said:"Miscarriage can be a devastating experience for any couple, but especially for those who have already struggled with infertility.

"This, coupled with the emotional and financial burden of multiple cycles of treatment can make many couples lose confidence and give up.

"We hope our findings will provide reassurance to these couples as they consider their options for continuing treatment."

IVF was pioneered[1] by biologist Robert Edwards who, with gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe, fertilised the first human egg in a Cambridge laboratory in 1978....

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption IVF pioneers Robert Edwards (L) and Patrick Steptoe (R) pose with the world's first IVF baby, Louise Brown


  1. ^ IVF was pioneered (www.bbc.co.uk)

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