Allergic Rhinitis Can Impair Adolescent Sleep and School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI Executive Medical Director American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Dr. Blaiss

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI
Executive Medical Director
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

MedicalResearch.com: Is this research important? Why or why not?

Response: There has not been a comprehensive review of how allergic rhinitis impacts the adolescent population. Most studies put adolescents in with children and yet we know that how disease affects adolescents may be dramatically different than children. Adolescents is a difficult enough time with a chronic condition

MedicalResearch.com: What is the key take-home message?

Response: The symptoms associated with nasal and eye allergies can be different in adolescents compared with adults and children and lead to poor quality of life and impair learning in school. Adolescents with AR/ARC may experience difficulties falling asleep, night waking, and snoring, and generally have poorer sleep. Therefore health care providers need to aggressively control the adolescent’s allergic rhinitis.  Continue reading

If Maternal Grandmother is Obese, So is Grandchild?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Great Grandmother” by David Amsler is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rebecca Somerville MB BCh BAO, BMedSci, MRCPI, MPH, PhD
School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science
University College Dublin
Dublin, Ireland 

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

Response: Rates of obesity in the Western world have increased dramatically over recent decades. The negative health consequences of obesity are well known and significant amounts of research have been conducted into the causes and possible solutions. While it is clear that there have been massive changes in diet and physical activity at a societal level that are primarily responsible for this ‘obesity epidemic’, it is less clear the extent to which obesity, once established, or risk factors for same, can be perpetuated down generations. Family studies lend opportunity to explore these questions, however there are few world wide which incorporate 3 generations.

We therefore sought to examine patterns of central adiposity, as measured by waist circumference, between grandparents and their grandchildren, separately in maternal and paternal lines. We were able to utilize prospectively collected data from the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study. This is a longitudinal birth cohort, established in Ireland in 2001, involving up to 7 members of the same family (mother, father, child and 4 grandparents). In the 589 families where a child had a waist circumference measurement we found that, at the age of both 5 and 9, there was a direct relationship between the waist circumference of the maternal grandmother and her grandchild (both male and female). This remained after adjustment for a wide range of confounding variables including mother’s waist circumference. There was no relationship seen with any of the other grandparents.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Town vs Gown – Why Are City Kids More Stressed?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“dog” by Neil Mullins is licensed under CC BY 2.0Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefan O. Reber

Laboratory for Molecular Psychosomatics
Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
University Clinic Ulm
Ulm, Germany 

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

Response: Our hypothesis was that people who grew up in cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants  and without pets will show a more pronounced immune activation towards psychosocial stressors compared with people raised in rural areas in the presence of farm animals. This hypothesis is based on the fact that stress-associated psychiatric disorders, which are linked to or even promoted by an over(re)active immune system and chronic low grade inflammation,  are more prevalent in urban compared with rural areas. One possible explanation for a hyper(re)active immune system in people raised in urban relative to rural environments might be a reduced contact to immunoregulatory microorganisms (the so called “old friends”), which is significantly increased in rural people with regular contact with farm animals compared with urban people in the absence of pets.

Our results show that a standardized laboratory psychosocial stressor causes a greater inflammatory response in young healthy participants with an urban upbringing in the absence of pets, relative to young healthy participants with a rural upbringing in the presence of farm animals. Continue reading

Every Pitch Should Count

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Pitching Crop” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0Jason L. Zaremski, MD, CAQSM, FACSM, FAAPMR

Assistant Professor│Divisions of PM&R, Sports Medicine, & Research
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Co-Medical Director Adolescent & High School Outreach Program
University of Florida College of Medicine

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

Response: Throwing injuries are common in baseball and can be caused by excessive pitch counts, year-round pitching, and pitching with arm pain and fatigue. Despite the evidence, pitching injuries among high school players have not decreased. With a multitude of research in overhead throwers, yet the volume of overuse throwing injuries not decreasing, our team suspected there was a missing workload factor in baseball pitchers. Therefore, our team conducted research to determine whether an important factor was being overlooked: volume of pitches thrown during warm-up between innings and bullpen activity in high school varsity baseball pitchers.

In the study, our team counted all pitches thrown off a mound during varsity high school baseball games played by 34 different high schools in North Central Florida during the 2017 season. After counting nearly 14,000 pitches in 115 pitch outings, our team found that 42% of the pitches thrown off a mound were not accounted for in the pitch counts, and that there is a large variability of bullpen pitches being thrown from pitcher to pitcher. Even with a greater focus on pitch counts as a way to prevent injuries, a substantial number of pitches are going unaccounted for in high school players as part of warm-up and bullpen activity.

Continue reading

Variety of Interventions Can Improve Childhood Self-Regulation Skills

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Children Playing at Swyalana Lagoon” by Doug Hay is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Anuja Pandey

Population, Policy and Practice Programme,
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
London UK 

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

Response: Evidence from longitudinal studies suggests that self-regulation skills can be a powerful predictor of positive health, educational, financial and social outcomes. Hence, self-regulation has received interest as an intervention target and a number of interventions have been evaluated in children and adolescents.

Our study summarised the evidence from 50 rigorously evaluated self-regulation interventions in children and adolescents including 23098 participants. We found that while most interventions were successful in improving self-regulation (66%), some of them did not produce a noticeable change (34%).Curriculum based approach was most commonly used to deliver interventions, and this involved training teachers, who implemented these interventions.  Continue reading

Air Pollution Linked To Increased Respiratory Infections in Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology Intermountain Heart Institute Intermountain Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah 

Dr. Horne

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD
Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology
Intermountain Heart Institute
Intermountain Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah 

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

Response: Evidence suggests that short-term elevations (even for just a few days) of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5, which is particulate matter less than 2.5 um or about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair) is associated with various poor health outcomes among adults, including myocardial infarction, heart failure exacerbation, and worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms. Studies of long-term exposure to moderately elevated levels of PM2.5 indicate that chronic daily air pollution exposure may contribute to death due to pneumonia and influenza.

Research regarding the association of short-term elevations in PM2.5 has provided some limited evidence of a possible association between short-term PM2.5 increases and infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or bronchiolitis in children, but scientifically these reports have been weak and unreliable, probably because they have only looked at a period of a few days to a week after short-term PM2.5 elevations. An evaluation of a very large population in a geographic location that provides a wide variation in PM2.5 levels from lowest to highest levels and that examines longer periods of time after the PM2.5 elevations is needed to determine whether a PM2.5 association with lower respiratory infection exists.

Continue reading

X-Linked Genetic Signatures Linked To Respiratory Disorders in Males

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gustavo Nino, M.D. Children’s National Health System pulmonologist Study senior author

Dr. Nino Barrera

Gustavo Nino, M.D.
Children’s National Health System pulmonologist
Study senior autho

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

Response: The epidemiology of respiratory disorders is largely influenced by the individual’s sex resulting in overall higher risk for males than females, particularly during early life. Hormonal, anatomical and behavioral differences are postulated to play a role, but these sex-based respiratory differences are already present at birth, suggesting a strong genetic component. However, the genetic differences in the airways of males and females during early life have been remarkably understudied and are largely unknown.

Continue reading

PCPs Need More Training In Assessing and Treating Irritability in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anna Scandinaro
Medical student
Penn State College of Medicine

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

Response: Dr. Usman Hameed, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Dr. Dellasega wrote a previous paper called “What is irritability?” which examined the idea and concept of what irritability in school aged children can encompass. After considering possible definitions of irritability, we wanted to see how the concept manifested in clinical practice, especially with the controversy around the new diagnosis of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) in the DSM 5.

The main findings of this study are that primary care providers (PCP)​identified a need for more training and education in how to assess irritability in pediatric and adolescent populations.

In contrast, the child and adolescent psychiatrists we interviewed thought more triage from PCPs who care for school aged children with irritability would be helpful.  Continue reading

Eating Disorders Raise Risk of Being Bullied

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tracy Vaillancourt, Ph.D. Full Professor and Canada Research Chair Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education  School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences  University of Ottawa

Dr. Vaillancourt

Tracy Vaillancourt, Ph.D.
Full Professor and Canada Research Chair
Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention
Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education
School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Ottawa

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

Response: Although there have been a few studies that have looked at the relation between being bullied and disordered eating, most studies have looked at it from the perspective of does being bullied lead to disordered eating and does depressive symptoms mediate (i.e., explain) the link. We wanted to look more closely at how bullying, disordered eating, and depression were related over time among teenagers by examining all possible pathways.

Another novel aspect of our study was the focus on disordered eating behaviour only (e.g., vomiting, using diet pills, binge eating). Most previous work has examined behaviour and thoughts together, but because disordered eating thoughts are so common (termed normative discontent; e.g., fear of fat, dissatisfaction with body shape or size), particularly among girls and women, we wanted to focus on behaviour, which is more problematic in terms of physical and psychiatric health.

Continue reading

Prenatal Exposure to SSRIs May Be Linked to Changes in Infant Brain Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jiook Cha, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  Columbia University Medical Center  New York, NY 10032

Dr. Jiook Cha

Jiook Cha, PhD
Assistant Professor
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What did we already know about the connection between maternal SSRI use during pregnancy and infant brain development, and how do the current study findings add to our understanding? What’s new/surprising here and why does it matter for mothers and babies?

Response: Prior studies have shown mixed results in terms of the associations between maternal SRI use during pregnancy and offspring’s brain and cognitive development. Neurobiological studies with animal models suggest that SSRI use perturbs serotonin signaling and that this has important effects on cognitive development (a study conducted an author of this paper, Jay Gingrich, MD, PhD: Ansorge et al., 2004, Science). The human literature has been more mixed in terms of the associations of prenatal exposure to SSRI with brain and cognitive development.

In our study, we used neonatal brain imaging because this is a direct, non-invasive method to test associations between SSRI use and brain development at an early developmental stage, limiting the effects of the post-natal environment. In our study, we had two different control groups, that is, a non-depressed SSRI-free group (healthy controls), and depressed but SSRI-free (SSRI controls) group. Also, in our study we used rigorous imaging analytics that significantly improve the quantitative nature of MR-derived signals from the brain structure using two of the nation’s fastest supercomputers (Argonne National Laboratory and Texas Advanced Computing Center) and allows robust reconstruction of brain’s grey and white matter structure in the infants’ brains.

We report a significant association of prenatal exposure to SSRI with a volume increases within many brain areas, including the amygdala and insula cortex, and an increase in white matter connection strength between the amygdala and insular cortex. We were surprised by the magnitude of the effects (or the statistical effect size), compared with other brain imaging studies in psychiatry with children or adults’ brains. Importantly, it should be noted that our estimates of brain structure are still experimental and for research-purpose only. This means that our data need to be replicated and rigorously tested against confounders in order to make a firm conclusion. While our study suggests a “potential” association between prenatal exposure to SSRI and a change in fetal or infant brain development, we still need more research. 

tracts_in_the_brain

Continue reading