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Surprising Science

Adolescent Healthcare as Transition

A specialty known as adolescent medicine fills the gap for parents and young people who feel out of place in the pediatrician’s office, but unready for the primary care physicians who see adults.

Important mental and physical changes take place during adolescent years that justify increased attention to teenagers’ health. “Some regular pediatricians make a point of talking with teenage patients without parents or caregivers listening in, but those private chats between doctor and patient are an essential component of adolescent medicine. ‘We always spend time alone with the teen,’ said Blythe, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. ‘This is a time frame in life where we know a lot of kids are going to be making decisions that impact their health, regardless of what the family wishes or wants them to do,’ Blythe said.”


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