Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Psychological Science, Social Issues / 31.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Angeline Lillard PhD Professor of Psychology University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Montessori education was developed in the first half of the last century, but has been subject to little formal research. Prior research on its outcomes was problematic in using poor control groups, very small samples, demographically limited samples, a single school or classroom, or poor quality Montessori, or data from just a single time point and limited measurements. This study addressed all these issues: it collected data 4 times over 3 years from 141 children, experimental children were in 11 classrooms at 2 high quality Montessori schools at which the control children were waitlisted and admission was done by a randomized lottery, family income ranged from $0-200K, groups were demographically equivalent at the start of the study, and many measures were taken. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, Pediatrics / 26.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Erik Stratman, MD Chairman, Department of Dermatology Marshfield Clinic, WI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The United States Food and Drug Administration has classified tanning beds as cancer-causing. Tanning bed exposure has been linked with increased risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer that preferentially affects young people.  While no current federal ban exists on indoor tanning of minors, there have been over 40 states (43) and the District of Columbia that passed laws limiting the use of tanning beds for minors.  Despite these laws, nearly 1.9 million high school students in the United States are tanning in tanning salons. In this study, researchers posed as minors called 427 tanning salons in 42 states and the District of Columbia.  Following a script that included questions like ‘would my mom have to come with me? I was hoping to come after school.’ Salons were randomly selected by zip code, with 10 salons selected for each state.  Overall, 37.2% of tanning salons were out of compliance with state legislation. Illinois, New Hampshire, and Oregon were the only states scoring 100% compliant with the state law for those tanning salons contacted.  Alabama scored the lowest with 0% compliant for those tanning salons contacted.  Statistically significant decreases in compliance were found for rural, independently owned, and Southern US tanning salons. (more…)
Author Interviews, Epilepsy, NEJM, Neurological Disorders, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 25.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Manjari Tripathi Professor, Epileptology, Neurology Dr. P Sarat Chandra, Chief epilepsy Neurosurgeon AIIMS, New Delhi MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?:
  1. Surgery for drug resistant epilepsy (DRE) is an accepted procedure for children and there have been multiple surgical series and surgical techniques published in literature. However, till date there are no randomized controlled trials (RCT) available to objectively demonstrate the safety and efficacy of surgical therapy in children with DRE. There are till date only 2 randomized trials for adult patients with drug resistant epilepsy (both for mesial temporal sclerosis only, Wiebe S et al, New Eng J Med, 2001 & Engel J et al, JAMA, 2012).
  2. Children constitute a significant proportion of patients undergoing surgical therapy for DRE (close to 50% in tertiary centers). They have unique problems associated due to uncontrolled epilepsy and some of these include epileptic encephalopathy and status epilepticus. In addition, surgery is also associated with problems like hypothermia, issues related to blood loss etc. Thus the senior author (Manjari Tripathi) and her team felt that a RCT would be very important to objectively assess the role of surgery and hence designed this study.
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Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Pediatrics / 21.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jingzhen (Ginger) Yang, PhD, MPH Principal Investigator Associate Professor, Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio 43205  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: From 2009-2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed their state TBI laws, more commonly known as concussion laws, to mitigate severe consequences of concussions. These laws often include 3 core components: (1) mandatory removal from play following actual or suspected concussions, (2) requirements to receive clearance to return to play from a licensed health professional, and (3) education of coaches, parents, and athletes regarding concussion symptoms and signs. Our study aimed to evaluate whether the laws achieve the intended impact. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The main findings showed that:
  • The rates of new and recurrent concussions initially increase significantly after a law goes into effect. This is likely due to more people – athletes, athletic trainers, coaches, and parents – becoming aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion and actually reporting a potential or actual concussion. Lack of knowledge about concussion signs and symptoms may have resulted in underreporting of concussions during the prelaw period. This trend is consistent across sports in our study and other studies looking at youth sports-related concussions.
  • The rate of recurrent concussions shows a significant decline approximately 2 ½ years after the law is in place. This demonstrates that the laws are having an impact. One of the core function of these laws is to reduce the immediate risk of health consequences caused by continued play with concussion or returning to play too soon without full recovery. The decline in recurrent concussion rates in our study is likely the results of the laws requirements of mandatory removal from play or permission requirements to return to play.
  • Football had the highest average annual concussion rate, followed by girls’ soccer and boys’ wrestling. Males had a higher average annual concussion rate than females. However, when comparing the rates in gender comparable sports (basketball, soccer, baseball/softball), females had almost double the annual rate of concussions as males. These results are consistent with findings from other studies. It is possible that girls have higher risk of concussions than boys or are more likely to report injuries. Future studies are needed to look specifically at these disparities.
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Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics / 18.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. med. Reinhard Holl Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Medical Faculty Aachen University, Aachen, Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry University of Ulm, Ulm Germany  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Today there are two accepted strategies to treat type-1 diabetes: pump or multiple daily injections. In a large group of patients we compared both strategies, and our results indicate advantages for pump therapy with fewer severe hypos, fewer events of diabetic ketoacidosis, and better metabolic control. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Technology / 18.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sunghee Han Professor Seoul National Unversity College of Medicine Seoul National University Hospital Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicin What is the background for this new technology and study? What are the main findings? Response: The time from patient arrival in the operating theatre to induction of general anesthesia is one of the most stressful moments for children undergoing surgery. Various strategies such as 'pre-operative guided operating room tour' or 'therapeutic play intervention' have been developed in order to reduce children's pre-operative anxiety. Although these existing simulation-based approaches may be effective, they have not been widely used in real clinical settings with limited budget and resources such as manpower and space. Virtual Reality(VR), a relatively new technology in the field of healthcare, can allow the user to experience an immersive environment. In this study, using VR technology, we provided the children with a realistic trip to the operating theatre accompanied by ‘My best friend’ Pororo. “Pororo, The Little Penguin” is a very famous cartoon character in Korea and Asia. Most children in Korea watch Pororo in TV, play with Pororo toys since early yeas and perceive Pororo as a ‘close friend’. In the VR content used in this study, Pororo acts as a patient and is subjected to anesthesia and surgery himself. Pororo kindly brings his friend(the viewer; paediatric patient) to the theatre and shows all that is going on in there. Intervention with the VR content was able to reduce the level of anxiety in paediatric patients and promote collaborative behavior and acceptance of the invasive procedures, especially general anesthesia. Parental satisfaction level was also relatively higher in the VR group. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen Durkin, PhD, DrPH Professor and Interim Chair Department of Population Health Sciences University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children in the U.S. have found two consistent patterns.  One is a higher prevalence among white non-Hispanic children than among black non-Hispanic or Hispanic children.  The other is a positive socioeconomic gradient, meaning that ASD prevalence in the U.S. is found to increase with increasing income and other indicators of socioeconomic status. One of the findings of this new study is that the racial and ethnic differences in autism spectrum disorder prevalence are not explained by socioeconomic factors, because even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors, ASD prevalence was found to be significantly lower in black and Hispanic children than in white non-Hispanic children.  Another finding is that the gap in ASD prevalence between children of high and low socioeconomic status did not change over time between 2002 and 2010, though the overall prevalence of ASD more than doubled during this period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pharmacology / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mehmet Burcu, PhD, MS Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research University of Maryland, Baltimore  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used psychotropic medication classes in U.S. youth, with serotonin reuptake inhibitors representing a large majority of total antidepressant use in youth. The most interesting finding was that the current use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in youth was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and this increased risk intensified further with the increasing duration of use and with the increasing dose. A secondary analysis also revealed that the risk of incident type 2 diabetes was most apparent in youth who used serotonin reuptake inhibitors for longer durations AND in greater daily doses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 12.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jack Peltz, Ph.D. Clinical assistant professor in Psychiatry Rochester Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 90% of high-school aged adolescents get either insufficient sleep during school nights or barely meet the required amount of sleep (ie, 8–10 hours) expected for healthy functioning.(1) In fact, sleep problems and insufficient sleep are so pervasive for adolescents that they could be considered an epidemic due to their adverse impact on adolescent mental and physical health.(2–5) As a result,addressing insufficient adolescent sleep represents a critical point of study and intervention. The growing body of evidence suggests that later school start times (SST), 8:30 AM or later as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians,6 convey multiple benefits on adolescents, including improved sleep, better mental and physical health, and improved academic outcomes.(7–10) This research, however, has focused on the direct effects of delaying school start times, or specifically how moving SST back directly predicts changes in an outcome (eg, mental health, academic achievement). This type of analysis precludes examining the important role that SST might play as a condition or context under which other sleeprelated processes take place. For instance, earlier school start times might exacerbate the impact of sleep-related processes on adolescent behavioral health outcomes. Thus, incorporating school start times as a larger contextual variable that might moderate models of sleep and adolescent functioning represents a gap in the literature and a unique opportunity to advance conceptual models. Accordingly, the current study examines the moderating role of school start times on the associations between sleep hygiene, sleep quality, and mental health. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Pediatrics / 06.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott D. Grosse, PhD National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2007 published estimates of the economic costs associated with preterm birth. That report is publicly available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20669423. The total societal cost over a lifetime of a single year’s cohort of infants born preterm was estimated as $26 billion in 2005 US dollars. The study in Pediatrics sought to provide more current estimates of one component of those costs: medical care between birth and 12 months and to answer two additional questions:
  1. What costs are specifically incurred by employer-sponsored private health plans?
  2. How much of the overall cost burden of prematurity is attributable to infants born preterm with major birth defects (congenital malformations and chromosome abnormalities)?
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Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Respiratory / 06.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giovanni Piedimonte, MD Steven and Nancy Calabrese Endowed Chair for Excellence in Pediatric Care, Research, and Education Professor & Chair of Pediatrics Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Case Western Reserve University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study proves that asthmatic children already have a hyperactive calcium channel that’s extremely sensitive to environmental triggers. If these children contract a virus, such as RSV, the hyperactive channel causes more severe symptoms that may require care in a hospital setting. When a child developed asthma or bronchitis in the past, doctors thought these conditions could only be triggered by environmental allergens. There was no explanation why two out of three children ages five and under who wheeze and cough – and still test negative for allergies. We needed to explore the mechanisms of the calcium molecule and the epithelial cells, which seem to trigger these symptoms without an allergic reaction. If the molecule’s behavior is producing the cough, we just need to figure out how to control the molecule to properly deactivate the cough mechanism in the asthmatic child (more…)
Author Interviews, Mineral Metabolism, Pediatrics / 03.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Staffan Berglund MD PhD Umeå University Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Iron deficiency has been associated with impaired neurodevelopment and iron supplementation is recommended to those at risk. While it is well known that very low birth weight infants are at risk of iron deficiency, less has been known regarding the large subgroup of children born with only marginally low birth weight (2000-2500g). In the present study, we previously showed that this relatively common group of otherwise healthy children is at risk of iron deficiency during infancy (Berglund Pediatrics 2010;126). In the study published this week, we now also found that supplementation during the first six months of life had long term positive effects on their behavioral profile, with significant reduction of externalizing behavioral problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 03.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tami H Skoff Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GeorgiaTami H Skoff Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infants are at greatest risk for severe pertussis (whooping cough) morbidity and mortality, especially during the first months of life before infant immunizations begin.  CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) currently recommend that women receive a dose of Tdap during the third trimester of each pregnancy.  This recommendation has been in place since 2012.  By getting Tdap, pregnant women pass critical short-term protection to their unborn babies. This helps protect babies until they are old enough to start getting their own whooping cough vaccines at 2 months of age. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of maternal Tdap during pregnancy at preventing whooping cough in infants <2 months of age. In our evaluation, Tdap administration during the third trimester of pregnancy prevented more than 3 in 4 (78%) infant cases.  Additionally, Tdap vaccination during pregnancy was even more effective (90%) at preventing whooping cough serious enough that the baby had to get treatment in a hospital. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JCEM, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 28.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duo Li, PhD Chief professor of Nutrition Institute of Nutrition and Health Qingdao University, China.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Childhood obesity is becoming an emerging public health issue worldwide, owing to its association with a variety of health problems at younger ages in adulthood, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Identification of prenatal and early life risk factors is key for curbing the epidemic of the childhood obesity. Main finding of the present study is that among pregnant women, elevated blood pressure is associated with a greater risk of overweight and obesity for their children. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Pediatrics / 28.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elena Netchiporouk, MD, FRCPC, MSc Dermatology Resident - PGY5 and Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan, MD, FRCPC, MSc McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We have followed a pediatric cohort of 139 patients with chronic urticaria (CU) (hives) between 2013 and 2015 in a single tertiary care center and assessed the comorbidities, the rate of resolution and determined predictors of resolution. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 26.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shabih U. Hasan, MD, DCH, FRCPC Professor and Staff Neonatologist, Alberta Health Services Department of Pediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 8% of all infants are born prematurely (preterm birth <37 weeks postmenstrual age). Preterm infants have many challenges including establishment of adequate pulmonary gas exchange. Due to not yet fully developed lungs, preterm infants require respiratory support consisting of respirators and other forms of non-invasive ventilation modalities and supplemental oxygen.  Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is the commonest morbidity among very low birth weight infants as 40% of survivors at postmenstrual age <30 weeks develop BPD. This is a serious condition as it can lead to short- and long-term pulmonary complications, increased hospital visits and neurodevelopmental impairment. BPD is defined where preterm infants require respiratory support and/or supplemental oxygen at 36 weeks postmenstrual age. A number of therapeutic and non-therapeutic modalities have been used to prevent BPD including inhaled nitric oxide (iNO).  In 2006, the NO CLD trial demonstrated that iNO prevented BPD (Relative benefit 1.81; CI 1.27-2.59, P = 0.006) if used according to the NO CLD Protocol (Ballard et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 355:343-353, 2006). Our study (NEWNO; Newborns treated with Nitric Oxide) was designed to replicate the NO CLD study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 22.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen Pirog PhD Rudy Professor of Policy Analysis School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We analyzed parenthood, education and income statistics over a long time span from two groups of about 10,000 people -- those born in 1962-64 and those born in 1980-82.
  • Teen fathers and mothers came increasingly from single-mother families with disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The proportion of teen mothers or fathers living with their partners didn't change, but far fewer were married.
  • The birth rates to teenage girls across the two groups didn't change, but the reported rate of teenage fatherhood increased, a seemingly contradictory conclusion. For example, 1.7 percent of the men in the older group were fathers by the time they were 17, while in the younger group, nearly double that number were dads. About 8 percent of the 17-year-old females in both groups were mothers.
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Author Interviews, Education, Karolinski Institute, Pediatrics, Psychological Science / 22.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Malin Bergström PhD Center for Health Equity Studies Karolinska Institutet   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The increase in children who move between their parent's homes after a divorce is one of the major changes in children's life circumstances during the last decade. Spending equal amounts of time in both parents' homes means that these children move fifty times a year. Child experts have claimed this to be stressful and potentially harmful to children's attachment relations to their mothers. Especially for children this young the practice of joint physical custody has been questioned. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Infections, Pediatrics, Technology / 19.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Alain Gervaix Head of the Emergency Division Department of Children and Adolescents University Hospitals of Geneva Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many are familiar with the following ‘seemingly’ simple clinical dilemma that occurs on a daily basis across the world. A patient visits the doctor with a fever. Commonly, assigning a diagnosis comes down to deciding whether the infection is bacterial or viral. Accordingly, the doctor decides if to treat or not to treat with antibiotics. The problem is that bacterial and viral infections often present with very similar symptoms, causing uncertainty that leads to antibiotics being used, in many instances, when they are not needed. This antibiotic misuse contributes to the rise of antimicrobial resistance, one of the biggest health threats of the 21st century. Host biomarkers hold great promise as routine diagnostic tools that can assist doctors in making correct antibiotic treatment decisions, as they overcome key limitations of currently applied pathogen-based tests. Recently, a novel host-assay (ImmunoXpert™) for differentiating bacterial from viral infections was developed and validated to yield high sensitivity and specificity. The three-protein host-assay comprises tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), Interferon gamma-induced protein-10 (IP-10) and C-reactive protein (CRP). (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 19.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Alosco, PhD NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease & CTE Center Boston University School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: TThe goal of this study was to investigate whether playing youth tackle football, particularly before the age of 12, is associated with worse emotional, behavioral, and cognitive difficulties later in life. Participants in this study included 214 former amateur and professional American football players who were part of the LEGEND study at Boston University. Participants had an average age of 51. 43 played high school football, 103 played college football, and there were 68 professional American football players. The former players were divided into two groups: those who began playing tackle football before age 12 and those who began at age 12 or older. Participants received telephone-administered cognitive tests and completed online measures of depression, behavioral regulation, apathy, and executive functioning, such as initiating activity, problem-solving, planning, and organization. Results from former players who started playing tackle football before the age of 12 were compared to those of participants who started playing at age 12 or later. The study showed that participation in tackle football before age 12 increased the odds for having problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive functioning by two-fold and increased the odds for clinically elevated depression scores by three-fold. These findings were independent of the total number of years the participants played football or at what level they played, such as high school, college, or professional. Even when a specific age cutoff was not used, younger age of exposure to tackle football corresponded with worse clinical status. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Smoking / 19.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Filippos Filippidis MD MPH PhD Lecturer in Public Health School of Public Health Imperial College London London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Smoking kills millions of people every year. It is well established that increasing tobacco prices is the most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption and hence mitigate the devastating effects of tobacco on health. Taxation on tobacco products is high in the European Union, which makes cigarettes less affordable. However, transnational tobacco companies are known to manipulate prices, ensuring that cheap or ‘budget’ cigarettes are still available. This is particularly important for younger smokers and those of low socioeconomic status who are more sensitive in price increases. Smoking during pregnancy, as well as exposure of pregnant women and babies to cigarette smoke increase infant mortality. There is also evidence that increasing tobacco prices is associated with lower infant mortality. However, researchers typically use average or premium cigarette prices. We analysed 54 million births from 23 European Union countries to see if the differential between average priced and budget cigarettes (i.e. the availability of cigarettes much cheaper than average priced ones) is associated with infant mortality. We found that increasing average cigarette prices by 1 Euro per pack was associated with 0.23 fewer deaths per 1,000 live births in the same year and an additional 0.16 fewer deaths per 1,000 live births in the following year. A 10% increase in the price differential between budget and average priced cigarettes was associated with 0.07 more deaths per 1,000 live births the following year. This means that 3,195 infant deaths could potentially have been avoided in these 23 countries if there was no price difference between cigarette products over the 10-year study period. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Education, Pediatrics / 13.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Catherine N. Rasberry, PhD Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health CDC Atlanta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years, researchers have documented links between health-related behaviors and educational outcomes such as letter grades, test scores, and other measures of academic achievement. However, many of those studies are becoming out-of-date or have used samples that were not nationally representative. The aim of this study was to see if previous findings held in a current, national sample of high school students. Consistent with previous studies, our findings revealed that regardless of sex, race/ethnicity and grade-level, high school students who received mostly A’s, mostly B’s, or mostly C’s had higher levels of most protective health-related behaviors and lower levels of most health-related risk behaviors. For example, we found that:
  • Students who reported receiving mostly Ds and Fs, were nine times more likely than students who received mostly As to report having ever injected any illegal drugs.
  • Also, students who reported receiving mostly Ds and Fs were more than four times more likely than students who received mostly As to report that they had four or more sexual partners.
  • Conversely, students who reported receiving mostly As were twice as likely as students who received mostly Ds and Fs to report eating breakfast every day in the past week.
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Allergies, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Pediatrics, Technology / 07.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lee, Hakho, PhD Department of Systems Biology Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The incidence of food allergy is increasing worldwide, particularly among children, and yet no handy test is available for general public. There are plenty of allergens testing methods for the factories producing the products, we wanted to solve this issue. Our pilot test showed wide variation in allergen contents in packaged food products and restaurant meals. Hidden allergens (like gluten in salad dressing, likely from additives) were also found. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 05.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ashley Larsen, PhD Assistant professor Bren School of Environmental Science & Management University of California, Santa Barbara MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The relationship between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes has been recognized as an important question for quite some time, and there have been many good studies on the topic. Since randomly exposing people to different levels of pesticides is clearly unethical, researchers focused on the health consequences of non-occupational pesticide exposure often have to choose between detailed studies that follow a couple hundred or couple thousand individuals through pregnancy or larger scale studies that use easier to observe, but less accurate metrics of pesticide exposure (e.g. nearby crops or crop types). Here we tried to provide complementary insight by bridging the gap between detail and scale using detailed pesticide use data and individual birth certificate records for hundreds of thousands of births in an agriculturally dominated region of California. While we found negative effects of pesticide use on birth outcomes including low birth weight, preterm birth and birth abnormalities, these effects were generally in the magnitude of a 5-9% increase in probability of an adverse outcome, and only observed for individuals exposed to very high levels of pesticides. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 05.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jan Alexander, MD,PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo Norway  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study was the widespread uncertainty and general concern among the public about increasing exposure to weak radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF-RF). The concern on whether using your cell phone while pregnant can harm your foetus are mainly due to the extensive use of cell phones, that emit EMF-RF. Even though the RF-EMF exposure that may reach the foetus is very low, evidence from previous epidemiological studies with mothers and children are inconsistent as to whether EMF-RF emission from cell phone might harm the developing brain of the foetus. This includes also animal experiments where the exposure may be very different from that in humans. We therefore studied the association between maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and child’s neurodevelopment at 3 and 5 years. We included around 45,000 mother and their children from all over Norway from the Norwegian Mother and Child Study (MoBa study) and used language development as the outcome because we in previous studies found this parameter to be sensitive to exposure to neurotoxicants. T here was no evidence of a harmful effect of the mother using her cell phone during pregnancy on her child’s neurodevelopment at 3 and 5 years. Surprisingly, we even found that the more the mother was using her cell phone during pregnancy the better language and motor skills her child had at 3 years of age. We observed no associations when the child was 5 years old. (more…)
OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 30.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leanne M. Redman MS, PhD LPFA Endowed Fellowship Associate Professor Pennington Biomedical Research Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Two well-documented risk factors for aberrant weight gain and obesity is whether your mother was obese when she was pregnant and the amount of weight she gained. Up until now few studies have asked questions about whether the pattern of weight gain in pregnancy affect outcomes in offspring, such as birth weight. In a cohort of over 16,000 pregnant women and infants, we found that regardless of the obesity status (BMI) of the mother at the time of pregnancy, weight gain that occurs up until week 24, had the strongest effect on infant birth weight. Infants born to mothers who had weight gain in excess of the 2009 IOM guidelines from conception until week 24, had a 2.5 times higher likelihood of being born large for gestational age. The weight gain that occurred after 24 weeks until delivery, did not attenuate this risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Psychological Science / 24.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dan Romer PhD Research director, Annenberg Public Policy Center Director of its Adolescent Communication Institute University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In recent years, findings from research in developmental neuroscience indicate that the myelination of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) extends into the third decade of life, proceeding more slowly than in other brain regions. Because subcortical and sensory brain regions appear to mature earlier, this and other findings have been taken as evidence that adolescents may have less ability to control their behavior than children do. These findings spawned theories of “imbalanced” adolescent brain development that were proposed to explain heightened vulnerability to risky behavior and adverse health outcomes during adolescence. Although there is little doubt that as adolescents enter adulthood, they are at risk for many health outcomes that can accompany the initiation of such behaviors as driving, having sex, using drugs, and playing sports. But most adolescents make it through this period of development without serious health consequences. Thus, the argument that a brain deficit is responsible for such adverse health outcomes seemed to overgeneralize effects that only occur for a minority of adolescents. Furthermore, when my colleagues and I examined the evidence in support of imbalance theories, we found it unconvincing. Indeed, it seemed that findings from neuroscience were interpreted through the lens of stereotypes about adolescents that conflate exploration with impulsivity. That is, many of the risky behaviors that attract adolescents are novel activities that reflect lack of experience rather than lack of control over behavior.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders, University of Michigan / 22.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Galit Dunietz, Ph.D., MPH Epidemiologist, Sleep Disorders Center Department of Neurology University of Michigan Ann Arbor MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Insufficient sleep has a negative impact on health, cognition and mood and is linked to motor vehicle accidents. However, sleep loss in adolescents has become an epidemic and arises in part from biological processes that delay sleep and wake timing at the onset of puberty. This biology does not fit well with early school start times (before 8:30 a.m.). Despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to delay school start times, most schools in the U.S. have current start times before 8:30 a.m. In this nationally representative study of US parents of teens, we examined whether parents supported or opposed later school start times (after 8:30 a.m.). We also examined what may have influenced their opinions. We found that only about half of surveyed parents of teens with early school start times supported later school start times. Opinions appeared to depend in part on what challenges and benefits were expected to result from the change. For example, parents who expected an improvement in their teen’s academic performance or sleep quantity tended to support the change, whereas parents that expected negative impact on afterschool activities or transportation opposed delays in school start times.  We also found that parents had misconception about sleep needs of their adolescents, as the majority perceived 7-7.5 hours of sleep as sufficient, or possibly sufficient even at this young age when 8-10 hours are typically recommended. (more…)