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.
(more…)
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…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Pediatrics / 21.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrei Morgan and Dr.Veronique Pierrat Obstetrical, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology Team, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Sorbonne Cité Research Center INSERM, Paris France Descartes University, Paris, France Department of Neonatal Medicine, Jeanne de Flandre Hospital, Lille, France.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The risk of neurodevelopmental and behavioural disabilities remains high in children and adults born preterm. In the 2000s, outcomes of neonates born extremely preterm was described in several settings, but the outcome of neonates born very and moderately preterm was rarely reported. However, in absolute numbers, these infants represent a larger proportion of preterm births and account for more children with long-term deficits and learning disabilities. EPIPAGE-2 is a national study which aims to study short and long term outcomes of children born at 22-26 weeks’gestation, 27-31 weeks’gestation and 32-34 weeks’gestation in France in 2011. We also compared results from this study with the first EPIPAGE study, carried out in 1997. At two years of age, neuro motor and sensory impairment, as well as overall development, were investigated by sending questionnaires to the attending physician and the parents. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 18.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer R. Cope MD Medical Officer Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Wearing contact lenses can increase your chances of getting a severe eye infection. Eye infections can lead to serious problems, including blindness. All contact lens wearers can help prevent serious eye infections by correctly wearing and caring for their contact lenses. Eighty-one percent of young adults, 85% of adolescents, and 88% of older adults regularly did at least one risky behavior related to their contact lenses. The most frequently reported risk behaviors in adolescents were not visiting an eye doctor as least annually, sleeping or napping in lenses, and swimming in lenses. Among young adults and older adults, the most frequently reported risk behaviors were replacing lenses at intervals longer than those prescribed, replacing lens storage cases at intervals longer than those recommended, swimming in lenses, and sleeping or napping in lenses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Education, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jane E. Harding, DPhil Liggins Institute The University of Auckland Auckland, New Zealand MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neonatal hypoglycaemia – low blood sugars in newborns – affects up to one in six babies born. It involves a sustained dip in blood sugar levels following birth. Blood glucose is the only fuel for babies’ brains (adults have alternative, back-up sources). So, if left untreated, this condition can cause developmental brain damage and lowered education outcomes later in life. In developed economies, as many as a third of babies born are at risk. Risk factors include being born smaller or larger than usual, preterm babies and babies whose mothers have any form of diabetes – this last a growing group, with the rising incidence of gestational (pregnancy-related) diabetes. We wanted to systematically track a cohort of babies to see if hypoglycaemia in babies affects their long-term health and development. So we designed the CHYLD study – Children with Hypoglycaemia and their Later Development. We are following 614 New Zealand babies born at risk of low blood sugar levels (neonatal hypoglycemia) into childhood to see if the condition affects their later growth and development. Our team includes researchers from the Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Waikato Hospital, the University of Canterbury and the University of Waterloo. Half of the babies in the study were diagnosed with, and treated for low blood sugars. Seventy percent received extra, continuous monitoring of their blood sugar levels, which detected in some babies low levels that were not diagnosed by the heel-prick tests. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 16.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD, FACS, FARVO Professor of Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Service and Surgery Principal Investigator Retinal Angiogenesis Laboratory Director of Pediatric Retina, Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics John A. Moran Eye Center Salt Lake City UT 84132 On behalf of the co-authors: Julia Shulman, Cindy Weng, Jacob Wilkes, Tom Greene, M. Elizabeth Hartnett MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Maternal preeclampsia causes morbidity to mothers and infants worldwide. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. This study was done to gain insight into the effects of preeclampsia on ROP in a clinical population. The literature is mixed with some reports that preeclampsia increases risk of Retinopathy of prematurity, whereas others suggest preeclampsia is protective or has no effect. The presence of circulating anti-angiogenic factors in preeclamptic mothers that can enter the fetal circulation lends biologic plausibility to the notion that maternal preeclampsia might interfere with developing vascular beds in the fetus, such as the retina, and potentially lead to severe ROP. However, a report using an experimental model provided evidence that uteroplacental insufficiency, a characteristic of preeclampsia, led to protective mechanisms in the offspring that reduced oxygen-induced retinopathy and promoted overall growth. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 10.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lead author, Dr Richard Liu, MCRI Ph.D. student and Senior author - Professor David Burgner PhD The Child Health CheckPoint Investigator Group Murdoch Children’s Research Institute The Royal Children’s Hospital Parkville, Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The socioeconomic gradient in cardiovascular disease is well recognised in adults. The more disadvantaged someone is, the higher their risk of heart attack and stroke. The mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood, but we know the pathological process underlying this, thickening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, begins very early in life. Our current understanding of the early development of atherosclerosis has previously been limited mainly to autopsy studies. Non-invasive imaging is increasingly being used to examine the early development of atherosclerosis. We wanted to determine if there was an association between socioeconomic disadvantage and the thickness of the carotid artery wall in mid-childhood, which in adults is a proxy for atherosclerosis and indicates higher risk for heart attack and stroke in later life. We analysed both family and neighbourhood socioeconomic position data from 1477 Australian families, which included data on income, education and occupation of parents, as well as the relative socioeconomic status of the immediate neighbourhood. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 10.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Layla Parast PhD Statistician RAND MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study examined the association between pet ownership, specifically dog or cat ownership, and children’s physical and mental health. There has been a lot of previous work looking at this association and these previous results seemed to show that kids with pets have better health than those without pets. The hypothesis has been that pets can improve children’s health by increasing physical activating and improving young people’s empathy skills. We used data from over 5,000 households in California which was obtained from the California Health Interview Survey and looked at physical and mental health outcomes among children in households with pets vs. without pets. We found that children in households with pets do have better health than those without pets, but that after we account for factors such as family income and housing type, for example, there is no evidence of an association between pet ownership and health. That is, households that have pets are more likely to be higher income, to be in a house as opposed to an apartment, and to have healthier adults in the household, for example - and these factors are also associated with better child health. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Opiods, Pediatrics / 04.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02120 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Neonatal drug withdrawal is common; in the U.S. about 1 infant is born every 25 minutes with signs of drug withdrawal. Neonatal drug withdrawal is a well-recognized complication of intrauterine exposure to illicit or prescription opioids, but other psychotropic medications can also cause signs of withdrawal. Psychotropic medications are frequently co-prescribed with opioids in pregnancy, and the use of both has increased significantly, raising concerns about an increase in the incidence and severity of neonatal drug withdrawal due to potential drug-drug interactions, but these risks are not well understood. In this study, we found a 30-60% increase in the risk of neonatal drug withdrawal associated with co-exposure to antidepressants, benzodiazepines and gabapentin, compared to opioids alone; no significant increase in risk was observed for atypical antipsychotics and Z-drugs. Exposure to psychotropic polypharmacy along with opioids was associated with a two-fold increased risk of withdrawal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Pediatrics / 30.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carlijn M. P. le Clercq, MD Speech and Language Pathology, Pediatrics, Otolaryngology Erasmus MC , Rotterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been increasing interest for acquired hearing loss among children, and concerns about its prevalence possibly rising over time. One of the questions that come up, is whether there is an association with the growing use of portable music players with headphones, including smartphones and tablets. There have been few longitudinal studies to explore this relation. In order to examine this relation, among other factors, we have conducted a formal hearing screening among more than 5000 9- to 11-year-old children from a population-based birth cohort in the Netherlands. Our study showed that nearly one in five children did not have normal hearing. Of the cohort, 7.8% of the children showed signs of permanent hearing loss. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 26.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Y. Moon, M.D. Division Head, General Pediatrics Professor of Pediatrics University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville, VA 22908 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 3500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep in the US every year. Even though there are safe sleep recommendations, many parents do not follow them because of misinformation or misconceptions. Therefore we tested 2 complementary interventions to promote infant safe sleep practices. The first was a nursing quality improvement intervention aimed at ensuring that mothers would hear key messages and that there was appropriate role modeling of safe sleep practices by hospital personnel. The second was a mobile health intervention, in which mothers received videos and text messages or emails with safe sleep information during the baby's first two months of life. We randomized mothers to receive either the safe sleep interventions or breast-feeding interventions (the control interventions). Mothers who received the mobile health intervention reported statistically significantly higher rates of placing their babies on their back, room sharing without bed sharing, no soft bedding use, and pacifier use, compared with mothers who received a control intervention. Although the nursing quality improvement intervention did not influence infant safe sleep practices, there was an interaction such that mothers who received both the safe sleep nursing quality improvement intervention and the safe sleep mobile health intervention had the highest rates of placing their babies on the back. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 21.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Parvati Singh B. Tech, MBA, MPA PhD student, Department of Public Health, University of California, Irvine and Dr. Tim Bruckner, first author MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study builds upon earlier research by our group which showed that male fetal deaths rose and the number of liveborn males fell after the 9/11 attacks. Here we show that, in California, the number of live born males with birth defects fell after 9/11. This finding appears consistent with the notion that frail male gestations, such as those with defects, may have been lost in utero as a result of the stress induced by the 9/11 attacks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics / 19.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly Gooding, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Harvard Medical School Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine Boston Children's Hospital Division of General Internal Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Dr Stephanie Chiuve and colleagues at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health developed the Healthy Heart Score to predict the risk of heart disease in older adults based on lifestyle factors measured in middle age. We have known for some time that the precursor to heart disease – known as atherosclerosis – actually starts in childhood and adolescence. We calculated the Healthy Heart Score for young adults ages 18-30 years old and found it works in this age group as well. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 19.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Francesca Volpe Psy.D and Prof. Vincenzo Zanardo Division of Perinatal Medicine, Policlinico Abano Terme Abano Terme, ItalyFrancesca Volpe Psy.D and Prof. Vincenzo Zanardo Division of Perinatal Medicine, Policlinico Abano Terme Abano Terme, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Newborn infants, placed skin-to-skin on their mother’s chest instinctively have the ability to crawl to their mother’s breast, exploring with their hands and massaging the breast to support the first feed.  Left undisturbed, the infant will make several attempts until it finds and latches onto the nipple and begins to nurse. What leads mammalian infants who are placed on their mothers’ chests to seek out, without any assistance, the nipple and to attach themselves to it to nurse is not fully understood. When we turned our attention to the thermal properties of the female’s nipple-areolar complex (NAC) in lactating mothers soon after birth, we found that it had a higher temperature and pH value and lower elasticity with respect to the surrounding breast skin. We hypothesised that the higher temperature could help the newborn infant to locate the nipple and to latch onto it, leading to the first sucking experience.  In addition, the diffusion of odorous molecules is presumably enhanced by the relatively high surface temperature of the areola in view of the rich supply of blood capillaries that irrigate the region. There is, in fact, some scientific evidence that show that infants respond to the odours released by the breasts of lactating women; breast odours, which are enhanced by the skin’s greater warmth, are another factor that facilitates breastfeeding by helping the infant to recognize its mother participating in the mother-to-infant bonding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics, Respiratory, Vitamin D / 18.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute Staff Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, St. Michael’s Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vitamin D has been hypothesized as being protective of seasonal viral upper respiratory tract infections.  In this randomized clinical trial, high dose wintertime vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU/day) was compared with standard-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU/day) among 703 children.  The number of laboratory confirmed viral upper respiratory tract infections was not statistically different between groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Erica H. Anstey PhD Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Immunization Services Division National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants are breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. Although breastfeeding initiation and duration rates have increased overall in the United States, breastfeeding rates vary by geographic location, socioeconomic, and race/ethnic groups. Breastfeeding initiation and duration have been historically and consistently lower among black infants compared with white and Hispanic infants. There are many factors that influence a woman’s decision to start and continue breastfeeding. These include knowledge about breastfeeding, cultural and social norms, family and social support, and work and childcare environments. Some barriers to breastfeeding are disproportionately experienced by black women, including earlier return to work, inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers, and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Vaccine Studies / 14.07.2017

  MedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Hughes Melton, MD, MBA, FAAFP AAFP Foundation president MedicalResearch: What is the background for this initiative? What are the main vaccinations that teens should have?  Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adolescents receive four immunizations – two of which are administered as multi-dose series – to help protect against meningococcal meningitis caused by serogroups A, C, W and Y; human papillomavirus (HPV); tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap); and influenza (flu).1 Despite these recommendations, millions of teens remain vulnerable to serious infectious disease.2,3 Family physicians are well equipped to immunize their patients against a host of common infectious diseases and improve public health. However, discussing teen vaccinations during annual appointments may present challenges due to other issues teens and their parents/guardians may be focused on at this age. The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP Foundation) launched Highlight on VACCINATIONS 4 TEENS to help remind family physicians and their care teams to make immunization a priority at these key appointments for teens. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, Pediatrics / 12.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jie-Yu Chuang PhD Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Men and women appear to suffer from depression differently, and this is particularly striking in adolescents. By 15 years of age, girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys. There are various possible reasons for this, including body image issues, hormonal fluctuations and genetic factors, where girls are more at risk of inheriting depression. However, differences between the sexes don't just involve the risk of experiencing depression. Men are more liable to suffer from persistent depression, whereas in women depression tends to be more episodic. Compared with women, depressed men are also more likely to suffer serious consequences from their depression, such as substance abuse and suicide. Despite this, so far, most researchers have focused on depression in women, likely because it is more common. As a result, we'd like to make people more aware of the sex difference issue in depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 10.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anne-Louise M. Heath and Professor Rachael Taylor Co-Principal Investigators for the BLISS study. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Conventional approaches to complementary feeding generally advise parents to spoon-feed their infant pureed foods, gradually progressing to greater variety and texture so that by the time the infant is one year of age, they are eating more or less what the family does. Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an alternative approach where the infants feeds themselves right from the start of complementary feeding. Because children of this age cannot use utensils, this means hand-held foods are necessary. Advocates of BLW suggest that children have a lower risk of obesity because they remain in control of their own food intake, but research examining this issue directly is scarce. Health professionals have also expressed concern that BLW might put the infant at increased risk of iron deficiency (parents might avoid red meat for fear of the infant choking, and iron-fortified cereals are not easy for the infant to feed themselves), growth faltering (if only low energy foods are offered) and choking (from the infant feeding themselves ‘whole’ foods). Our study therefore examined a version of BLW that had been modified to address these issues (called BLISS - a Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS). Two hundred families took part in our 2-year intervention, with half following traditional feeding practices and half receiving guidance and support to follow our BLISS approach. We found that BLISS children were not less likely to be overweight than those following traditional feeding practices, nor was growth faltering an issue. BLISS child ate about the same amount of food as control children, and their ability to eat to appetite was not different either. However, it seems that children following a baby-led approach to complementary feeding are less fussy about food, and have a healthier attitude to food, which might make a difference to their health long term. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 06.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seetha Shankaran, M.D. Professor, Neonatology Wayne State University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was performed because infants with moderate or severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (abnormal neurological exam within 6 hours of birth due to lack of blood and oxygen supply to the brain at birth) have rates of death or survival with disability that were still high in spite of current intensive care including hypothermia. Whole-body hypothermia, cooling the infant for 72 hours at a depth of 33.5°C that was performed by the Neonatal Research Network funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was the first trial of this therapy in the USA. We found that hypothermia therapy did decrease the rate of death or survival with disability from 62 to 44%. Since 44% is still high we wanted to see if longer cooling or deeper cooling or both would reduce this rate. This was a randomized controlled clinical trial to examine whether longer cooling or deeper cooling or both reduced the rate of death or survival with disability among full term neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. The study lasted from October of 2010 to January 2016. 364 infants were enrolled. Neonates were randomly assigned to 4 groups of cooling therapy and the major findings were that neither longer cooling nor deeper cooling nor both were more superior to cooling for 72 hours at 33.5°C. Our results were surprising because at the time we planned this study there were reports from animal model studies that longer/deeper cooling were more protective to the brain. (more…)