Don’t miss out on the hundreds of poster sessions hosted at APHA 2020. Watch any poster session — which include 5- to 10-minute prerecorded presentations —  at any time throughout the meeting. You can also leave questions and comments for presenters in the discussion boards.

Visit the Poster Sessions program to add sessions to your schedule. Here’s a tiny preview of what you’ll find:

Seniors negatively impacted by loneliness during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all age groups, most notably older adults who face an increased mortality risk. To stay safe, public health officials strongly suggest such vulnerable residents stay home and avoid nonessential outings. However, that comes with its own potential health impacts as well.

Research presented in poster 2080, “Measuring the prevalence of loneliness among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic,” found older Americans are indeed experiencing more loneliness and isolation since the pandemic began, with opportunities for socializing at places such as local senior centers no longer an option. 

The poster is based on an ongoing assessment from Cobb Senior Services in Georgia, which is measuring loneliness among a sample of older adults who attended senior centers prior to the pandemic and is using the University of California-Los Angeles Loneliness Scale. Continued analysis of loneliness is need to more fully understand the impact of social isolation on older populations and create safe interventions. 

Concussions may contribute to behavioral issues 
Concussions during childhood can cause temporary behavioral changes, but it’s unclear if they have a larger impact, researchers report at APHA 2020. 

In poster 3244, “Association between concussion history and cognitive, behavioral and emotional risk factors among American high school athletes,” researchers examined the relationship between concussions and adverse health behaviors in a sample of U.S. high school athletes.

Study participants reported recent histories of sports-related concussions, drinking and driving, carrying a weapon, physically fighting, substance use, symptoms of depression, suicidality, academic problems and difficulty concentrating. A composite score was calculated and then modeled to estimate the likelihood of having suffered a concussion. 

Results showed that the presence of one additional health-risk factor was associated with significantly higher odds of having suffered one or multiple concussions in the past year, respectively. There was also a significant negative correlation between the number of adverse health behaviors and having no history of concussions.

The study indicated it may be important to take into consideration the potential for emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems following a concussion.

Young people are seeing e-cigs as increasingly less harmful
E-cigarette usage has skyrocketed among teens and young adults in the U.S., with evidence suggesting the trend may be due, in part, to the perception that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. 

Poster presentation 2025, “Determinants of changing perceived harm of e-cigarette use among U.S. adolescents and young adults,” was drawn from data on over 13,600 adolescents and 9,000 young adults and examined the harm perception of e-cigarette use, compared to combustible cigarette use, from 2013 to 2018. 

Results showed that the proportion who perceived e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes significantly decreased, from nearly 53% to just more than 31% in adolescents and from about 50% to 29% among young adults. Among adolescents, those who ever noticed health warnings on the packages of either e-cigarettes or cigarettes were less likely to report e-cigarettes as less harmful than combustible cigarettes over time. Among young adults, those who had ever used e-cigarettes were more likely to report them as less harmful than cigarettes over time. 

Overall, the study found significant changes in the perceived harm of e-cigarette use among youth populations. Researchers said the results indicate an urgent need for accurate communication in the scientific data on the relative harm of e-cigarettes.