Age of First Pot Smoking Does Matter

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Natalie Castellanos Ryan, PhD

École de Psychoéducation
Université de Montréal
Outremont Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our study followed a group of boys living in low socioeconomic neighbourhoods in Montreal (N=1030) from early childhood to 28 years of age to investigate:

1) whether the age at which one starts to use cannabis across adolescence is associated with the risk of developing drug abuse by early adulthood, when one controls for  arrange of known risk factors for cannabis use and problems assessed across development (risk factors in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood); and

2) the developmental pathways from early risk factors to drug abuse problems.

To examine these associations, the study collected  self-reported cannabis use information from these boys annually from ages 13 to 17 years and drug abuse symptoms at 28 years, as well as teacher, parent and child reported information on a number of environmental (family and friend) and child characteristics (e.g., impulsivity, delinquency, school performance) across childhood and adolescence. Alcohol and other drug use was also assessed across adolescence and early adulthood.

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Preterm Infants Need Optimized Nutrition For Maximal Brain Growth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Katherine Ottolini MD, lead study author

Children’s National Health System and

Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., senior study author

Dr. Limperopoulos

Catherine Limperopoulos, Ph.D., senior study author and
Director of Developing Brain Research Laboratory
Children’s National Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nutrition is an important modifiable factor for brain development in premature infants, however few studies have evaluated the impact of nutritional interventions in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on structural brain development in very premature infants using advanced, quantitative MRI techniques.

The goal of this study was to utilize quantitative MRI to evaluate the impact of macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and energy intake throughout the duration of the NICU stay on brain volumes and white matter development in very premature infants at term-equivalent age (TEA).

We prospectively enrolled 68 very low birthweight infants (< 1500g) admitted to Children’s NICU within the first 7 days of life. We found significant negative associations between cumulative macronutrient and energy intake on both the brain’s white matter microstructural development (in the superior cerebellar peduncle, corpus callosum) and regional brain volumetric growth (cortical gray matter and cerebellum).

In contrast, when evaluating average nutritional intake, we found significant associations between lipid and energy intake and regional brain volumes in the cortical gray matter, brainstem and cerebellum.  Continue reading

When Do Organized Activities for Kids Become Too Much?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health Department of Sport and Physical Activity Faculty of Arts and Sciences Edge Hill University Lancashire

Dr. Wheeler

Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health
Department of Sport and Physical Activity
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Edge Hill University
Lancashire

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well-known that family background and parents’ investment in their children has a big impact on a number of outcomes, including how well people do at school, the jobs they get, and how they spend their leisure time. It is also known that it is middle-class parents who tend to work particularly hard to make sure their children get on in life.

This research starts to question whether parents’ investment in their children’s organised activities is having the desired impact. Parents initiate and facilitate their children’s participation in organised activities as it shows that they are a ‘good’ parent and they hope such activities will benefit their children in both short-term (keeping fit and healthy, developing friendship groups) and long-term ways (getting jobs, having lots of opportunities in the future).

The reality, which has been highlighted in this research, is that while children might experience some of these benefits, a busy organised activity schedule can put considerable strain on parents’ resources and families’ relationships, as well as potentially harm children’s development and well-being.

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Fewer US Children Taking Prescription Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, MS CDR, U.S. Public Health Service Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys National Center for Health Statistics Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Hales

Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, MS
CDR, U.S. Public Health Service
Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Monitoring trends in prescription medication use among children and adolescents is an important part of understanding the health of youth in the U.S. and the healthcare they receive.

For this study we used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES, which is a nationally representative survey of the US population and as part of this face-to-face survey in the home, we ask participants about their prescription medication use in the last 30 days and collect information about the prescription directly from the medication package.

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Parents More Willing To Lets Kids Watch ‘Justified’ Violence on TV

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Crime Scene _MG_4847” by thierry ehrmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0Daniel Romer, PhD

Research Director Annenberg Public Policy Center and
Director of its Adolescent Communication Institute (ACI)
University of Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have been studying the steady increase in gun violence that has been occurring in popular PG-13 movies since the new rating was adopted in 1984.  It has recently even surpassed the amount of gun violence in R-rated movies.  Since these movies are open to the public at any age, we are concerned that they promote the use of guns and potentially socialize youth to believe that using guns to defend oneself is an appropriate way to handle threats and other conflicts.

We knew that the rating requires the omission of graphic consequences, such as blood and suffering, that can make the violence more acceptable.  But we also wondered whether the motivation for the violence might make a difference as well.  Many of the characters in PG-13 movies are seen as heroic (e.g., Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson).  Could that also be a factor that makes such films more acceptable to parents despite their concerns about their children seeing so much violence in the movies.  So, we conducted this experiment to see if parents are less upset by justified violence in PG-13 style movies.  Continue reading

NICU Babies’ Parents at Risk For Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Karen Fratantoni, M.D., M.P.H. Pediatrician and lead study author Children’s National Health System

Dr. Fratantoni

Karen Fratantoni, M.D., M.P.H.
Pediatrician and lead study author
Children’s National Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We looked at the prevalence of depressive symptoms at NICU discharge and at six months after discharge among 125 parents randomized to the control group of a larger PCORI-funded trial of peer-to-peer support after NICU discharge. Determining factors associated with parental depressive symptoms at NICU discharge may help to identify at-risk parents who could benefit from mental health support.

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How Many Diseases Should Newborns Be Screened For?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Newborn” by Brad Carroll is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Sian Taylor-Phillips MPhys, PhD
Associate Professor Screening and Test Evaluation /
NIHR Career Development Fellow
Division of Health Sciences
Warwick Medical School
University of Warwick Coventry

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In newborn blood spot screening a small amount of blood is taken from newborn babies heels, and this is tested for a range of rare diseases. The idea is to detect each disease earlier when it is more treatable. However, it would be better not to test for some diseases, for example if the test is inaccurate so worries parents that their baby may have a serious illness when they do not. Some countries test for as few as 5 diseases and others as many as 50. In this study we investigated how different countries choose which diseases to test for.

We found that many national recommendations on whether to screen newborn babies for rare diseases do not assess the evidence on the key benefits and harms of screening. Evidence about the accuracy of the test was not considered in 42% of recommendations, evidence about whether early detection at screening has health benefits was not consulted in 30% of recommendations, and evidence around the potential harm of overdiagnosis where babies have variants of the disease that would never have caused any symptoms or ill effects was not considered in 76% of recommendations.

We also found through meta-analysis that when a systematic review was used to bring together the evidence then countries were less likely to recommend screening for the disease.

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Should Kids With Traumatic Injuries Be Screened For Mental Health Issues?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Julie-Leonard

Dr. Leonard

Dr. Julie Leonard MD MPH
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Columbus, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We looked at children with unintentional injuries who were hospitalized to see if there was an increase in their mental health needs. We saw an average 63% increase in mental health diagnoses and a 155% increase in medications prescribed to treat a mental illness.

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Over 2.5 Million US Kids Diagnosed With Anxiety and Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rebecca H. Bitsko, PhD

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities(https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/index.html) (NCBDDD) is committed to helping children who have mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Anxiety and depression are both internalizing mental disorders that often start during childhood, and that frequently occur together.

In this study, we show that more than 1 in 20, or 2.6 million, US children aged 6-17 had a current diagnosis of anxiety or depression, by parent report, in 2011-12. We also found an increase of diagnosed anxiety in these children from 1 in 28 in 2007 to 1 in 24 in 2011-12.

Further, in 2011-12, approximately 1 in 5 children with current anxiety or depression did not receive mental health treatment in the past year.

Children with current anxiety or depression were more likely than those without to have:

  • Another mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder such as ADHD, learning disability, or speech or language problems
  • School problems
  • Parents who report high levels of stress and frustration with parenting
  • Unmet medical and mental health service needs

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Severely Malnourished Children May Benefit From Vitamin D Supplement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Javeria Saleem PhD

Department of Public Health, Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
London, United Kingdom

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition. Affected children have very low weight for their height and severe muscle wasting; they may also have swollen feet, face and limbs. Around 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition worldwide of whom an estimated 1.4 million live in Pakistan. The condition is a major cause of death in children under 5 in Asia and Africa. The standard treatment is to give a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste called ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be a risk factor for severe wasting in children with severe acute malnutrition Ready-to-use therapeutic food contains relatively modest amounts of vitamin D. However, the effects of adding high-dose vitamin D to this standard treatment have not previously been evaluated.

We therefore did a clinical trial to assess whether high-dose vitamin D hastened recovery in 185 children aged 6-58 months who were receiving standard treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The 93 children in the active arm of the study received two doses of 5 mg vitamin D by mouth, while the 92 children in the control arm received placebo (a dummy medicine containing no vitamin D).

Our findings were very striking: after 2 months of treatment, the children who received high-dose vitamin D in addition to standard therapy had significantly better weight gain, and significantly better motor and language development, than those who received standard treatment alone.

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