Author Interviews, Lancet, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 07.01.2017 Interview with: Dr Torsten Olbers PhD Department of Gastrosurgical Research Institute of Clinical Sciences University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital Gothenburg Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background to study was the lack of effective treatments for adolescents with severe obesity and the observation that many adults undergoing gastric bypass regret that they didn't´t do it earlier. The medical indication is to hopefully prevent development of diseases and organ damage due to cardiovascular risk factors and to enable them to have normalised psychosocial development (education, relation etc). In fact most of the adolescents undergoing surgery had parents having undergone surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Montréal, Québec What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We carried out this study because congenital heart defects take a large share of birth defects, but not much is known on its risk factors. In previous research, we found that very high temperatures in the summer were associated with a greater risk of stillbirth. We sought to determine whether elevated outdoor heat could also be linked with congenital heart defects in a sample of about 700,000 pregnancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, Pediatrics / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Shelley Gray PhD Professor, Speech and Hearing Department of Speech and Hearing Science Arizona State University Tempe, AZ What is the background for this study? Response: Working memory is the part of our human memory system that simultaneously processes and stores incoming information. It is important to understand the structure of working memory so that more tailored assessments and interventions can be developed to help children with poor working memory learn more successfully. In this study we tested four competing models of working memory in second grade students with typical development using the Comprehensive Assessment Battery for Children – Working Memory (CABC-WM; Gray, Alt, Hogan, Green, & Cowan, n.d.; Cabbage et al., in press). (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Fish, NEJM, Pediatrics / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Hans Bisgaard, M.D., D.M.Sc. COPSAC, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital University of Copenhagen Copenhagen, Denmark What is the background for this study? Response: Asthma and lower respiratory infections are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in pediatric populations. Thus, having low cost, effective, safe options for prevention could have important implications for both clinical practice and public health. The increased use of vegetable oils in cooking and of grain in the feeding of livestock has resulted in an increase in the intake of n−6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a decrease in the intake of n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially the long-chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) — eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n–3, EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n–3, DHA) — found in cold-water fish. N3-LCPUFAs are known to have immune-modulatory effects, and observational studies have suggested an association between a diet that is deficient in n−3 LCPUFA during pregnancy and an increased risk of asthma and wheezing disorders in offspring. Only a few randomized, controlled trials of n−3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy have been performed and these have generally been underpowered and produced ambiguous results. Therefore, we conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of n−3 LCPUFA supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy in a total of 736 Danish women to assess the effect on the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma in offspring. The clinical follow-up rate among children was 96% (N=664) by the end of the 3 years double-blind period and 93% (N=647) after an additional follow-up to age 5 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Edwina Yeung, Ph.D Investigator, Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development What is the background for this study? Response: About 1 in 5 pregnant women in the United States is obese. Other studies have looked at mothers’ obesity in terms of children’s development, but no U.S. studies have looked at whether there might be a contribution from the father’s weight. What are the main findings? Response: One of the main findings of this study is that maternal obesity is associated with a delay in fine motor skill-- the ability to control movement of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands. Paternal obesity is associated with a delay in personal-social skills including the way the child interacts with others. Having both a mother and a father with severe obesity (BMI≥35) was associated with a delay in problem solving ability. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, NIH, Pediatrics / 05.01.2017 Interview with: Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Jaffe Food Allergy Institute New York, NY 10029 What is the background for this study? Response: Peanut allergy can be fatal, is usually life-long and has no cure. Considering a dramatic increase in prevalence of peanut allergy over the past decades, affecting estimated 2-3% of infants and young children in the US, there is a dire need for prevention. Prior studies determined that risk of peanut allergy is highest in the infants with severe eczema, those with mutations in filaggrin gene resulting in an impaired skin barrier function and those not eating peanut but exposed to peanut in the household dust. In addition, the prevalence of peanut allergy was 10-fold higher among Jewish children in the United Kingdom compared with Israeli children of similar ancestry. In Israel, peanut-containing foods are usually introduced in the diet when infants are approximately 7 months of age and consumed in substantial amounts, whereas in the United Kingdom children do not typically consume any peanut-containing foods during their first year of life. Based on these observations, a landmark clinical trial (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy, LEAP) has been designed to evaluate whether early introduction of peanut into the diet of infant considered at high risk for peanut allergy can reduce the risk of peanut allergy compared to avoidance of peanut. LEAP and other studies suggested that peanut allergy can be prevented by introduction of peanut-containing foods in infancy. The overall reduction in peanut allergy among the infants in the LEAP trial randomized to an early introduction group compared to those who avoided peanut until age 5 years was 81%. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Pediatrics / 05.01.2017 Interview with: Jonathan Slaughter, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Center for Perinatal Research Nationwide Children's Hospital/The Ohio State University Columbus, OH 43205 What are the main findings? Response: The ductus arteriosus, a fetal blood vessel that limits blood flow through the lungs, normally closes shortly after birth. However, the ductus often remains open in premature infants, leading to patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Infants with PDA are more likely to die or develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), the major chronic lung disease of preterm infants. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) treatment has been shown to close PDAs in preterm infants and NSAID treatment of PDA is common. However, it has never been shown that PDA closure with NSAIDs leads to decreased mortality or improved long-term respiratory outcomes. NSAID closure of PDA has become increasingly controversial in recent years since NSAID treatment has been associated with acute renal injury. Also, these medications are expensive, with the usual three-dose treatment course costing well over $1000 per patient. Due to these controversies, the likelihood of a preterm infant with PDA being treated with NSAIDs varies by clinician and institution and has decreased over time. Meta-analyses of randomized trials that investigated NSAID (indomethacin and/or ibuprofen) treatment for PDA closure in preterm infants did not show a benefit. However, they were principally designed only to study whether the ductus itself closed following treatment and not to determine if there was an improvement in mortality risk or in respiratory outcomes following NSAID treatment. Given the difficulty of conducting randomized trials in preterm infants and the urgent need for practicing clinician's to know whether treatment of PDA in all preterm infants is beneficial, we used a study design that incorporated the naturally occurring practice variation in NSAID treatment for PDA as a mechanism to reduce the risk of biases that are commonly found in non-randomized investigations. This is based on the premise that if NSAID treatment for PDA in preterm infants is truly effective, we should expect to see improved mortality and respiratory outcomes in instances when clinician preference-based NSAID administration rates are higher. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Pediatrics / 04.01.2017 Interview with: Donata Vercelli, MD Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine Director, Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases Director, Molecular Genomics, Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center The University of Arizona The BIO5 Institute Tucson, AZ 85721 What is the background for this study? Response: Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood. Epidemiological evidence suggests that the disease often begins during the pre-school years even when chronic symptoms appear much later in life. However, firm criteria to pinpoint how early a child’s trajectory to asthma truly begins are currently lacking. The mechanisms underlying asthma inception also remain largely unknown. Although epigenetic mechanisms likely contribute to asthma pathogenesis, little is known about their role in asthma inception. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Genetic Research, Nature, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 04.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Beate St Pourcain MSc, PhD(Cardiff) Genetic Epidemiology School of Oral and Dental Sciences MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: People with autism and with schizophrenia both have problems interacting and communicating with other people, because they cannot easily initiate social interactions or give appropriate responses in return. On the other hand, the disorders of autism and schizophrenia develop in very different ways. The first signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically occur during infancy or early childhood, whereas the symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until early adulthood. The researchers asked whether it is possible to disentangle the apparent symptom overlap in ASD and schizophrenia through genetic analyses. As clinical diagnoses relate to the age of onset of a disorder and do not capture multiple developmental stages, the researchers used a trick. They assumed that there is a continuum between normal and abnormal behaviour and captured social communicative competence - the ability to socially engage with other people successfully - in participants of a population-based birth cohort during development. Specifically, the researchers studied the genetic overlap between the risk of having these psychiatric disorders and these measures of social communicative competence. Investigating thousands of genetic variants with small effects across the genome, they showed that genes influencing social communication problems during childhood overlap with genes conferring risk for autism, but that this relationship wanes during adolescence. In contrast, genes influencing risk for schizophrenia were most strongly interrelated with genes affecting social competence during later adolescence, in line with the natural history of the disorder. "The findings suggest that the risk of developing these contrasting psychiatric conditions is strongly related to distinct sets of genes, both of which influence social communication skills, but exert their maximum influence during different periods of development", explained Beate St Pourcain, senior investigator at the Max Planck Institute and lead author of the study. This is consistent with studies showing that genetic factors underlying social communication behaviour also change to some degree during childhood and adolescence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Pediatrics, UC Davis / 02.01.2017 Interview with: Magdalena Cerda, DrPH, MPH Vice Chancellor's Chair in Violence Prevention Associate Director, Violence Prevention Research Program UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The potential effect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been a topic of considerable debate since Washington and Colorado first legalized its use for adults in 2012. Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., followed suit in 2014, and voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational use this past November. In our study, we examined changes in perceived risk of marijuana use, and in use of marijuana among school-attending adolescents, in Washington and Colorado, following legalization of recreational marijuana use, and compared pre- to post-legalization changes in these two states to changes in the 45 contiguous US states that had not legalized recreational marijuana use. Marijuana use significantly increased and its perceived harm decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington state following enactment of recreational marijuana laws. There was no change in use or perceived harm among 12th graders or among similar grades in Colorado. In particular, the data showed that legalization of recreational marijuana use significantly reduced perceptions of marijuana’s harmfulness by 14 percent and 16 percent among eighth and 10th graders and increased their past-month marijuana use by 2 percent and 4 percent in Washington state but not in Colorado. Among states without legalized marijuana use, the perceived harmfulness also decreased by 5 percent and 7 percent for students in the two grades, but marijuana use decreased by 1.3 percent and .9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington state and all adolescents surveyed in Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness or marijuana use in the month after legalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, Lancet, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 29.12.2016 Interview with: De-Kun Li, MD, PhD Senior Research Scientist Division of Research Kaiser Foundation Research Institute Kaiser Permanente Oakland, CA 94612 What is the background for this study? Response: The composition of gut microbia (microbiome) has emerged as a key contributor to human disease risk. The external influence on the composition of microbiome in early childhood, especially in infancy, has been linked to increased risk of childhood obesity. Several studies have examined use of antibiotics in infancy and reported an association between use of antibiotics and increased risk of childhood obesity. This has caused a great uncertainty among both pediatricians and parents regarding treatment of infant infections. However, the previous studies failed to separate the effect of underlying infections for which antibiotics were used from the effect of the antibiotics itself. The contribution of our study was to examine the effects of infections and antibiotic use separately. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Lancet, Pediatrics, Schizophrenia / 22.12.2016 Interview with: Dr Lucy Riglin Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics Cardiff University School of Medicine Cardiff UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that usually occurs after puberty. However, previous research suggests that individuals who go on to develop schizophrenia often presented cognitive, social, behavioural, and emotional impairments in childhood. Our study found that, in a general population sample, genetic risk for schizophrenia was associated with these childhood impairments as early as age 4 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, JAMA, Pediatrics / 21.12.2016 Interview with: Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC Associate Professor, Dept of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion, University of Ottawa Director, Clinical Research Unit, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Ottawa, ON What is the background for this study? Response: While current concussion protocols endorse the conservative view that children should avoid physical activity until completely symptom-free, there is little evidence beyond expert opinion regarding the ideal timing of physical activity re-introduction. In fact, while rest does play a role in concussion recovery, protracted physical rest may actually negatively impact concussion recovery. Further, physiological, psychological, and functional benefits of early physical rehabilitation are observed in other disease processes such as stroke (which is an example of a severe traumatic brain injury). Therefore, our objective was to investigate the relationship between early physical activity (defined within 7 days of the concussion) and the eventual development of persistent post-concussion symptoms at one month. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 21.12.2016 Interview with: Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Staff Physician, Paediatrics The Hospital for Sick Children Associate Scientist, Research Institute Child Health Evaluative Sciences Associate Professor, University of Toronto What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Major structural or genetic congenital anomalies affect approximately 2 percent to 5 percent of all births in the United States and Europe. Mothers of children born with major congenital anomalies face serious challenges such as high financial pressures, as well as the burden of providing care to a child with complex needs within the home setting, which can impair a mother's health. Little is known about the long-term health consequences for the mother. We assessed whether the birth of an infant with a major congenital anomaly was subsequently associated with an increased risk of death of the infant's mother. The population-based study (n = 455,250 women) used individual-level linked Danish registry data for mothers who gave birth to an infant with a major congenital anomaly between 1979 and 2010, with follow-up until December 31, 2014. A comparison group was constructed by randomly sampling, for each mother with an affected infant, up to 10 mothers matched on maternal age, parity (the number of children a woman has given birth to), and year of infant's birth. Mothers in both groups were an average age of 29 years at delivery. After a median follow-up of 21 years, there were 1,275 deaths (1.60 per 1,000 person-years) among 41,508 mothers of a child with a major congenital anomaly vs 10,112 deaths (1.27 per 1,000 person-years) among 413,742 mothers in the comparison group. Mothers with affected infants were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and other natural causes. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Emergency Care, Pediatrics / 21.12.2016 Interview with: Dr Jamie G Cooper Consultant in Emergency Medicine Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Aberdeen UK What is the background for this study? Response: Choking in children can be fatal and regularly grapes can be the cause.  We believe that public awareness of the choking hazard posed by grapes (and other similarly shaped foods, such as cherry tomatoes) is not wide spread.  By publishing this article we aimed to highlight the problem to health professionals who look after children and also to the public at large in an attempt to reduce the number of future episodes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 17.12.2016 Interview with: Elizabeth Foglia, MD MSCE Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Attending Neonatologist Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method of monitoring oxygen saturation that is frequently used to monitor ill newborns and infants. Previous studies of adults with hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels) demonstrated that pulse oximetry is less accurate in adults with dark skin, compared to adults with light skin. We sought to determine if skin pigment affects the accuracy of pulse oximetry in infants with hypoxemia. We studied 2 widely used pulse oximeters, and we did not find evidence that skin pigment affects the accuracy of pulse oximetry in infants with hypoxemia. However, the overall performance (combined accuracy and precision) of both oximeters was poor. In addition, one oximeter (the Nellcor Oximax) consistently overestimated the measured blood oxygen level. (more…)
Author Interviews, MRI, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 17.12.2016 Interview with: Prof Paul D Griffiths, FRCR and Cara Mooney, Study Manager: MERIDIAN Clinical Trials Research Unit The University of Sheffield What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Around three in every 1000 pregnancies is complicated by a fetal abnormality. In the UK Ultrasonography (USS) has, for many years, been the mainstay of antenatal screening and detailed anomaly scanning to detect such abnormalities.  However previous studies have suggested that in utero Magnetic Resonance (iuMR) imaging may be a useful adjunct to USS for detecting these brain abnormalities in the developing fetus. This study was designed to test the diagnostic accuracy and clinical impact of introducing fetal MR in to the diagnostic pathway. Our results show that iuMR has an overall diagnostic accuracy of 93% compared to ultrasound at 68%, this is an increase in diagnostic accuracy of 25%. When divided into gestational age group the improvement in diagnostic accuracy ranged from 23% in the 18-23 week group, and 29% in the 24 week and over group. IuMR provided additional diagnostic information in 49% of cases, changed prognostic information in at least 20% and the contribution to clinical management was felt to be at least ‘significant’ in 35% of cases. IuMR also had high patient acceptability with at least 95% of women stating that they would have an iuMR if a future pregnancy were complicated by a fetal brain abnormality. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 16.12.2016 Interview with: Joanne N. Wood, MD, MSHP Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Research Director, SafePlace Faculty, PolicyLab The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia What is the background for this study? Response: Each year the U.S. Army Family Advocacy program (FAP) investigates between 6000 to 9000 reports of alleged abuse or neglect involving children of Army service members.   In approximately 48% of reported cases FAP determines a child was a victim of maltreatment, substantiates the report, and collaborates with local civilian child protection service (CPS) agencies in providing services and ensuring safety. Thus, FAP plays a key role in supporting Army families and protecting children.  But FAP can only investigate and respond to cases of child abuse and neglect about which they are aware. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 15.12.2016 Interview with: Kristin N. Ferguson, BSc The Royal Women’s Hospital and Deakin University Melbourne, Victoria, Australia What is the background for this study? Response: Weaning preterm infants from mechanical ventilation, thereby minimising the risks of having an endotracheal tube in situ which may further damage their fragile lungs, is something all neonatal clinicians are keen to do. We provide clinicians with a straightforward list of safe and effective strategies to help them in this task, as well as pointing out some treatments to either avoid or use with caution. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pain Research, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 13.12.2016 Interview with:

Dr. Anna Taddio PhD Professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy University of Toronto Adjunct senior scientist and clinical pharmacist at SickKids What is the background for this study? Response: We do not know enough about how well different pain interventions work over time and when combined together. In this study, we compared the effectiveness of interventions when layered together, starting from simplest to most complicated in terms of implementation, in the first year of life in infants undergoing routine vaccinations. We compared 4 different treatments: 1. placebo (sham), 2. Educational video for parents about how to soothe their infants, 3) video and sucrose (sugar water), 4) video and sucrose and liposomal lidocaine cream. (more…)
Author Interviews, Leukemia, Nature, Pediatrics, UT Southwestern, Weight Research / 13.12.2016 Interview with: Chengcheng (Alec) Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor Hortense L. and Morton H. Sanger Professorship in Oncology Michael L. Rosenberg Scholar for Medical Research Department of Physiology UT Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: New therapeutic targets and approaches are needed to effectively treat leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of adult acute leukemia whereas acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of cancer in children; ALL also occurs in adults. Although treatment of pediatric ALL is highly effective, a sizeable number of patients are non-responders who succumb to this disease. The outcome of ALL in adults is significantly worse than for pediatric ALL. Additionally, some types of ALL have a much poorer prognosis than others. Dietary restriction, including fasting, delays aging and has prolonged effects in a wide range of organisms and has been considered for cancer prevention. In certain types of solid tumor,_ENREF_1 dietary restriction regimens are able to promote T cell-mediated tumor cytotoxicity and enhance anticancer immunosurveillance, and coordinate with chemotherapy to promote the anti-cancer effects. However, the responsiveness of hematopoietic malignancies to dietary restriction, including fasting, remains unknown. Furthermore, whether dietary restriction alone can inhibit cancer development is not clear. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods, Pediatrics / 12.12.2016 Interview with: Nicole Villapiano, MD, MSc Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the past few years, research has highlighted that the opioid epidemic is accelerating at a rapid pace across the United States, including in rural areas. What we don’t know is how the opioid crisis is affecting rural moms and their infants. As a doctor that takes care of kids, I was concerned about this. So our team took on this study to explore the differences in rates of maternal opioid use and neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural and urban areas of the US from 2004-2013. Neonatal abstinence syndrome is what happens to babies who are exposed to opioids in their mothers’ womb. When these babies are born and no longer have opioid exposure from mom, they go through a period of opioid withdrawal. These babies can have symptoms that range from difficulty taking a bottle, jitteriness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and discomfort to more serious problems like prematurity, difficulty breathing, and seizures. Symptoms can last several days to many weeks. Babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome are in the hospital longer than the average newborn, and sometimes require special treatment to help control their symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, Memory, Pediatrics, Technology / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Steven J. Hardy, Phd Licensed Clinical Psychologist Divisions of Hematology and Oncology Children’s National Health System Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences Washington, DC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children with sickle cell disease exhibit neurocognitive deficits as a consequence of either silent or overt cerebral infarction or disease-related non-infarct central nervous system effects (likely resulting from chronic anemia and hypoxic events). These complications often lead to impairment in executive functioning (e.g., working memory, attention, inhibition, cognitive flexibility), which can make it difficult to focus in class, plan for long-term school projects, remember and carry out multi-step tasks or assignments, and stay organized. The literature on interventions to reduce neurocognitive sequelae of sickle cell disease is extremely limited. Our research team investigated a promising home-based, computerized cognitive training program (Cogmed) involving repeated practice on performance-adapted exercises targeting working memory with a sample of youth (ages 7 – 16) with sickle cell disease. Of the participants who have enrolled in the study (n = 70), 49% exhibited working memory deficits (<25% in the general population have a working memory deficit) and were randomized to an eight-week waitlist or to begin Cogmed immediately. Participants who used Cogmed demonstrated significant improvements on multiple measures of working memory, while those randomized to the waitlist group only exhibited such improvements after receiving Cogmed. Approximately 25% of participants completed the recommended number of Cogmed sessions (20 – 25 sessions). However, analyses revealed that participants who completed at least 10 sessions (about 50% of the participants) showed comparable levels of working memory improvement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, MRI, Pediatrics / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Eman S. Mahdi, MD, MBChB Pediatric Radiology Fellow Catherine Limperopoulos, PhD Director, Developing Brain Research Laboratory Co-Director of Research, Division of Neonatology Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Children’s National Health System Washington, DC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Premature birth is a major public health concern in the United States affecting 1 in 10 infants each year. Prematurity-related brain injury is very common and associated with a high prevalence of brain injury and accompanying lifelong neurodevelopmental morbidities. Early disturbances in systemic and cerebral hemodynamics are thought to mediate prematurity-related brain injury. The extent to which cerebral blood flow (CBF) is disturbed in preterm birth is poorly understood, in large part because of the lack of monitoring techniques that can directly and non-invasively measure cerebral blood flow. We report for the first time early disturbances in global and regional cerebral blood flow in preterm infants following brain injury on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over the third trimester of ex-uterine life using arterial spin labelling images. In terms of regional differences, we saw a marked decrease in blood flow to the thalamus and the pons, regions known to be metabolically active during this time. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Jonathan Y. Bernard, PhD Inserm UMRS 1153 – Centre for research in Epidemiology and Biostatistics Sorbonne Paris Cité (CRESS) Team ORCHAD: early Origin of the Child Health And Development Hôpital Paul Brousse What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite the World Health Organization’s recommendations promoting breast feeding, wide variations in breast feeding initiation rates are observed among Western countries: some reach >95%, while others remain <80%. Many individual-level determinants of breast feeding are known, including maternal age, education, ethnicity, smoking and employment status. Less is known regarding cultural determinants, such as religion, which could be underlying and explain rate differences between and within countries. We aimed at comparing countries’ breast feeding rates with the proportions of Catholics and Protestants. We thus carried out an ecological study by collating publicly available online data for 135 countries. We additionally gathered within-country data for 5 Western nations: France, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA. We found that, in Western countries, the proportion of Catholics was negatively correlated with the rate of breast feeding. This was also observed within countries in France, Ireland, the UK and Canada. In the USA, where breast feeding rates vary hugely between states, race was an important confounder. Interestingly, we also found the correlation in non-Hispanic whites. All our findings hold even when we account for wealth indicators, such as gross domestic product per capita. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Pediatrics / 07.12.2016 Interview with: Steve Xu MD, MSc Resident Physician Department of Dermatology Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Given the limited data on the effectiveness or safety of the different moisturizers examined in the study, how much do you think parents should decide what to use on their babies based on the "cost-effectiveness" determined in this study? Would you just say cheapest is best since we don't know how well these things work? Or what's the message? Price. Petrolatum is an extremely effective moisturizer. It also happens to be one of the most affordable. Unlike adults, I don't suspect newborns will complain too much about the greasiness of petrolatum. They're less concerned that their work clothes will get ruined. They are less likely to care about cosmetic elegance. I also will say that petrolatum is less likely to include any artificial fragrances, preservatives that could serve as irritants or allergens in the future. That's an added bonus. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 02.12.2016 Interview with: Prof. Henrik Verder Department of Pediatrics Holbaek University Hospital Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in premature infants. It can be effectively treated with surfactant, a therapy which reduces the effort needed to expand the lungs during inspiration and allow gas exchange to take place. Early surfactant treatment can help prevent the onset and impact of RDS, however, prophylactic treatment has been shown to be harmful and only necessary in half of all pre-term infants. This study provided data validating the efficacy of a lung maturity test (LMT) in identifying infants at risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) who could benefit from early surfactant treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, Technology / 01.12.2016 Interview with: Dr Katie (Katherine) Twomey ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow, Lancaster University Senior Research Associate, ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although we know that toddlers can quickly work out what new words mean, it's not yet clear exactly how they do it. For example, when they see a new object alongside their favorite toy truck and hear a new word "block", we know that they will link "block" to the new object. They could do this by thinking in detail about what they already know, for example "if my toy is called "truck", then "block" must be the name of the new object". Equally, however, they could quickly link the new word to the new object without thinking about it in-depth. We tested this second possibility using iCub, a humanoid robot which learns by making quick associations between what it sees and what it hears, without the ability to think in detail about what it already knows. We replicated two studies of toddlers' early word learning with iCub and found that even though it can only learn through making simple links between words and objects, it behaved exactly as children did in the original experiments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Pediatrics, Science, UCLA / 28.11.2016 Interview with: Katelyn M. Gostic and Monique Ambrose Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California Los Angeles What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Monique Ambrose: Influenza pandemics pose a serious, recurrent threat to human public health. One of the most probable sources of future pandemic influenza viruses is the pool of influenza A virus (IAV) subtypes that currently circulate in non-human animals. It has traditionally been thought that the human population is immunologically naïve and unprotected against these unfamiliar subtypes. However, our work suggests that an individual ‘imprints’ to the influenza A virus (IAV) encountered in early childhood in such a way that they retain protection against severe disease if they later encounter a novel IAV subtype that belongs to the same genetic group as their first exposure. Our research looked at human cases of H5N1 and H7N9, two avian IAV subtypes of global concern, to investigate what factors most strongly predicted risk of severe disease. The most striking explanatory factor was childhood IAV imprinting: our results suggest that individuals who had childhood imprinting on an IAV in the same genetic group as the avian IAV they encountered later in life experienced 75% protection against severe disease and 80% protection against death. (more…)