ASCO, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Pediatrics / 06.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katie Greenzang, MD Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Greenzang: Advances made over the last several decades mean that more than 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will become long-term survivors. However, many of these survivors experience physical and cognitive late effects of the treatment that cured them. We surveyed 352 parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer to assess how well they understood their children’s risk of future limitations in physical abilities, intelligence, and quality of life. We found that an overwhelming majority of parents (92 percent) are very interested in learning about possible late effects, and most (86 percent) seek detailed information. Yet, parent and physician predictions of a child’s risk of experiencing late effects of treatment often don’t match. Among children identified by their oncologists as being at high risk for such challenges, only 38 percent of parents recognized this risk in physical abilities, 21 percent in intelligence, and 5 percent in quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 05.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Paul T Heath MB BS, FRACP, FRCPCH Reader / Honorary Consultant Paediatric Infectious Diseases St George’s, University of London and Vaccine Institute London, United KingdomDr Paul T Heath MB BS, FRACP, FRCPCH Reader / Honorary Consultant Paediatric Infectious Diseases St George’s, University of London and Vaccine Institute London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Heath: Vaccinating pregnant women is an important and proven strategy for protecting young infants against tetanus, influenza and pertussis. Among the infants at highest risk for complications of these infections are infants born prematurely but it is generally believed that because antibody transfer from mother to baby is maximal in the 3rd trimester, babies born prematurely may miss out on the benefits of maternal vaccination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 04.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jimmy Celind Postgraduate student The Sahlgrenska Academy University of Gothenburg MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background is that there is a widespread belief that birth weights are increasing, and that this at least partly is a product of the obesity epidemic (together with decreased smoking prevalence and higher maternal age). Several studies from countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, USA, Scotland, Israel and Australia have shown a slight increase during the last decades of the 20th century. Our aim was to see when the increase started and how much it had increased. Our main findings are that the trends of birth weight are stable during the study period of 65 years (1946-2011), regarding mean, distribution, and odds ratios for being born with a high birth weight (>4,5 kg) per birth year increment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Kaiser Permanente, Pediatrics / 03.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea C. Wickremasinghe, MD Neonatologist Kaiser Santa Clara California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neonatal jaundice is common and is often treated with phototherapy. Phototherapy is typically considered to be benign. In the past decade, phototherapy use has increased and it is sometimes started at bilirubin levels below recommended treatment thresholds. Beginning in the 1970’s, in-vitro and in-vivo studies have shown phototherapy to be associated with cellular changes implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer. Epidemiologic studies have yielded mixed results, with some studies showing associations between phototherapy and leukemia and other studies failing to show this association. In this study, we used a large statewide administrative dataset to investigate the relationship between neonatal phototherapy and cancer in the first year after birth. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole Pratt PhD Senior Research Fellow Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences University of South Australia Adelaide South Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pratt: The cardiac safety of methylphenidate has been debated. This study aimed to measure the risk of cardiac events in a large population of children treated with these medicines. We found that there was a significantly raised risk of arrhythmia in time periods when children were treated with methylphenidate compared to time periods when they were not. While the relative risk of cardiac events was significant the absolute risk is likely to be low as cardiac events are rare in children. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nina Berentzen PhD National Institute for Public Health and the Environment Bilthoven, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Berentzen: Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes often occur together and share risk factors including an unhealthy diet, a lack of physical activity, and being overweight or obese. This study is the first to investigate the occurrence of both diabetes and CVD across two generations of parents and grandparents, and relate it to measurable risk factors in children. We found that one third of the 12-year-olds studied had a strong family history of one or both of cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction and stroke) and type 2 diabetes. Children had a ‘strong family history’ if they had one affected parent, or at least one grandparent with early disease onset, or 3–4 grandparents with late disease onset. These children had higher levels of total cholesterol, and a higher ratio of total/HDL cholesterol than children with no family history of disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Markus Juonala, MD, PhD Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Juonala: This is an epidemiological follow-up study investigating whether childhood infections and socieconomic status are associated with cardiovasular risk factor and early chances in vasculature. The main finding was that childhood infections were associated with obesity and impaired vascular function in adulthood among those individuals with low socioeconomic status. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Pediatrics / 31.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristy Arbogast, PhD Co-Scientific Director Center for Injury Research and Prevention The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Professor Division of Emergency Medicine Department of Pediatrics University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Arbogast: The research team looked retrospectively at four recent years of data on children diagnosed with concussion at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to determine how children access the health system for a concussion. For those 8,000 kids with a CHOP primary care provider, 82% entered the health system via a primary care location, 12% entered through the ER and 5% through a specialist. One-third of concussion diagnoses were to children under age 12. Many current counts of concussion injury among children are based on emergency room visits or organized high school and college athletics data. Thus, we are vastly underestimating child and youth concussions in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jianghong Li, Senior Scientist (PhD) From the President’s Project Group, WZB Berlin Social Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung GmbH: www.wzb.eu) Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Jianghong Li: Commuting to work is a common phenomenon in developed countries. In the US full-time wage workers residing in urban counties on average commuted about 55 minutes to work. In the UK, workers commuted 42 minutes (round trip) for work in 2008. German workers commute 13 kilometers and 44 minutes both ways to work on average. The average daily commuting time for work in other European countries ranges from 29 minutes in Portugal to 51 minutes in Hungary. To make your commute a little easier, why not try the Moovit app with its handy tracking tools such as the metro map. Men commute longer than women to work and working fathers commute further to work than working mothers. Men who are employed full-time and with children commute longer than their counterparts without children, regardless of the age of the youngest child. Previous research has shown that long commuting to workplace is associated with reduced civic participation and social interactions, lower life satisfaction, elevated stress hormone and reduced task performance, and increased risk for marriage breakdown. Daily experiences of unreliable transport, conflicting time schedules, congested roads and crowded trains contribute to commuters’ physical and psychological stress. These health and psychosocial consequences of commuting raise a concern about its plausible negative impact on children’s well-being. Yet, there was no inquiry about the effect of commuting on children’s well-being, except one small-scale study in the US of mothers leaving welfare for employment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Duke, Genetic Research, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 27.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Johnna Swartz, PhD Postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ahmad Hariri Duke postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Ahmad Hariri MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Swartz: Prior research has shown that low socioeconomic status is a risk factor for the development of depression. In this study, we examined whether this risk factor was associated with changes in an epigenetic tag near the gene coding for the serotonin transporter, which has previously been linked to depression. We found that adolescents growing up in families with lower socioeconomic status accumulated more of these tags over time, which may lead to decreased gene expression. Moreover, we found that more of these tags were associated with increased activity in the amygdala, a brain region that plays an important role in the stress response. Finally, we found that adolescents with increased activity in the amygdala were more likely to develop depression symptoms a year later, particularly if they had a close relative with a history of depression. This is some of the first research to draw a link from an environmental risk factor to changes in depression symptoms through changes in epigenetic markers and brain function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 25.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Brian Stansfield MD Neonatologist Children's Hospital of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia Augusta University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Stansfield: Since the mid-20th century, we have experimental evidence in animal models and human data demonstrating the influence of maternal nutrition on the offspring - both in the short term and long term. Low birth weight has been connected with higher incidence of cardiometabolic diseases including insulin resistance, coronary artery disease, and hypertension. Interestingly, low birth weight infants grow up to be relatively thin adults compared to their normal or high birth weight counterparts. Conversely, high birth weight infants tend to become heavier adults and obesity is directly linked with the same adult outcomes. So the association of cardiac and metabolic diseases with low birth weight is not linked to adult obesity in general. Thus, speculation as to why extremes of birth weight lead to adult onset cardiometabolic disease suggests different mechanisms and modifying factors. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Stansfield: The findings of our study shed considerable light on the relationship between birth weight and risk factors for insulin resistance and visceral adiposity. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to achieve precise measurements of visceral adipose content and biomarkers for insulin resistance, we show that both low and high birth weight are associated with increased visceral adiposity and insulin resistance in a healthy population of adolescents aged 13-17 years. This association persists when we account for several recognized confounders including age, sex, race, activity level, and socioeconomic status. The most interesting finding of our study is that when you account for each adolescent’s current body mass index, a measure of obesity, the relationship between increased visceral fat and insulin resistance and low birth weight is strengthened suggesting that these adolescents had relatively high visceral adipose content despite obesity rates that were similar to their normal birth weight counterparts. On the other hand, correction for adolescent BMI (obesity) reduced the relationship between these metabolic markers and high birth weight infants. Thus, low birth weight infants may develop insulin resistance and increased visceral fat, both significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease, despite having a relatively normal body shape in adolescents. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 23.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luis Augusto Rohde MD, PhD Full Professor Department of Psychiatry Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Director ADHD Program Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea that Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder always begins in childhood has been held for decades even without proper testing. The main manuals of psychiatric diagnoses require age at onset in childhood as a core feature of the disorder. In a large birth cohort followed until age 18, we identified many young adults presenting with a full impairing ADHD syndrome. They had consistently worse outcomes - criminality, substance abuse, traffic accidents, among others - than their counterparts without ADHD. However, most of these young adults (84.6%) presenting with a full impairing syndrome did not have a prior diagnosis in their childhood years. This surprising observation held after many secondary analyses exploring possible biases, like comorbidities in young adulthood, subthreshold ADHD in childhood and change of information source. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 23.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Saroj Saigal, MD, FRCP(C) Department of Pediatrics McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Saigal: We started to follow infants who were born between 1977-82 and weighed less than 1000g or 2.2 pounds (extremely low birthweight, ELBW) because not much was known about the outcomes of these infants at the time.We have reported the findings at several ages, from infancy to adulthood, in comparison with normal birth weight (NBW) infants . In this report, 100 ELBW participants between 29-36 years of age were compared with 89 NBW participants. To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study that has followed infants from birth into their 30s. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 22.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Summer Sherburne Hawkins, PhD, MS Assistant Professor Boston College School of Social Work Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sleep is so important for all of us—especially for children and adolescents as their brains and bodies continue to develop. Inadequate sleep is associated with a number of health problems including obesity, cognitive functioning, and chronic illnesses. Increasing the amount and quality of sleep are public health priorities in the US. Currently, school-aged children are recommended to get at least 10 hours and adolescents to get 9-10 hours of sleep daily. However, less than one third of students report getting 8 or more hours of sleep during the school week and total sleep time decreases from infancy through adulthood. The new Healthy People 2020 ‘Sleep Health’ target only monitors adolescent sleep and there are no national data for younger children. Thus, there is little known about the age that sleep issues may begin and whether the prevalence of sleep issues is changing over time. Furthermore, only a few studies have examined the social determinants of sleep in children and adolescents, particularly whether there are differences across racial/ethnic and educational groups. An overarching gap in the literature remains—monitoring sleep and identifying disparities across the life course. Using a nationally-representative sample of US children and adolescents, we examined trends and social determinants of inadequate sleep in 6-17-year-olds. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 19.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: PD Dr. med. Giancarlo Natalucci OberarztKlinik für Neonatologie UniversitätsSpital Zürich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Natalucci:: Survival of very preterm infants has increased over the last decades but still they are at risk of developing long-term neurodevelopmental delay. The underlying pathology is termed encephalopathy of prematurity where both structural lesions of the very fragile brain and the disturbance of the physiologic maturational processes are recognized as the main causative entities. Among many pharmacological candidates to prevent brain injury and improve development, erythropoietin has been shown to be among the most promising. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Claire Roberts PhD Robinson Research Institute Adelaide University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Roberts: Our research aimed to identify novel risk factors for the four main complications of pregnancy;
  • preeclampsia where the mother gets high blood pressure and her kidneys don’t work properly,
  • preterm birth which is delivery before 37 weeks of gestation,
  • small for gestational age and
  • gestational diabetes. We have studied over 5500 pregnant women in 6 centres in 4 countries, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. We have identified a number of factors that contribute to these major pregnancy complications. However, in this paper we have focused on well known risk factors for pregnancy complications including maternal cigarette smoking, BMI and socioeconomic status. To these we added maternal use of marijuana before pregnancy, in first trimester, at 15 weeks and at 20 weeks gestation. After adjusting the data for the other factors, we found that continued maternal marijuana use at 20 weeks gestation is strongly associated with spontaneous pre-term birth independent of maternal cigarette smoking. Women who continued to use marijuana at 20 weeks’ gestation were over 5 times more likely to deliver preterm than women who did not use marijuana. Previous studies have shown conflicting evidence but none have accounted for maternal cigarette smoking.
Importantly, not only did continued use of marijuana increase risk for preterm birth but it also made these births 5 weeks earlier on average with a greater number of women delivering very preterm. That is much more dangerous for the baby who inevitably would require admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Earlier delivery would be expected to increase the baby’s risk for dying and having long term disabilities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Gerda Pot Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences King’s College London | Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division | London UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pot: Previous evidence suggested that the timing of food intake can have a significant impact on circadian rhythms (i.e. the body's internal clock) and therefore on metabolic processes within the body, potentially leading to an increased risk of being overweight or obese. However, the evidence from studies in children is very limited so we set out to establish whether this risk was also associated with the timing of children's evening meals.  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Pediatrics, Toxin Research, Weight Research / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lori A. Hoepner, DrPH Department of Environmental Health Sciences Columbia University New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hoepner: The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health was funded starting in 1998.  Pregnant African American and Dominican mothers residing in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx were enrolled from 1998 to 2006, and mothers and their children have been followed since this time.  We collected urine samples from the pregnant mothers in their third trimester and from the children at ages 3 and 5.  At ages 5 and 7 we measured the height and weight of the children, and at age 7 we also measured body fat and waist circumference. MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings? Dr. Hoepner:  We found a significant association between increased prenatal exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) and increases in childhood body fat measures of waist circumference and percent body fat at age 7.  Our research builds on earlier findings of an association between prenatal exposure to BPA and body fat in children up to age 4, and this is the first study to report an association at age 7. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, NEJM, NIH, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. James P. Kiley Ph.D National Institutes of Health Bethesda Maryland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kiley: While a higher proportion of children have asthma compared to adults, the disease is limited to childhood for many individuals who appear to be unaffected as adults. Regardless of whether asthma continues into adulthood or reoccurs during adulthood, the impact of childhood asthma on lung function later in life is unclear. This study demonstrated that in children with chronic persistent asthma at the age of 5-12 years who continued to be followed through their early twenties, 75% of them had some abnormality in the pattern of their lung growth. The study examined the trajectory of lung growth, and the decline from maximum growth, in a large cohort of persons who had persistent, mild-to-moderate asthma in childhood and determined the demographic and clinical factors associated with abnormal patterns of lung growth and decline. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 17.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Edward Tyrrell NIHR In-Practice Research Fellow Division of Primary Care University Park Nottingham  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Tyrrell: Poisonings are among the most common causes of death amongst adolescents across the world, many of them related to self-harm. Poisonings leading to death are just the tip of the iceberg with many more resulting in invasive treatment, time off school and long term health effects. Many adolescent self-harm episodes are linked to mental health problems, which are often predictive of mental health problems in adulthood, making adolescence a key window for preventative intervention. However, up to date rates and time trends for adolescent poisonings are lacking, hindering the development of evidence-informed policy and planning of services. To quantify this problem at a national level and provide recent time trends of poisonings, we used routinely collected primary care data from 1.3 million 10-17 year olds. We assessed how intentional, unintentional and alcohol-related poisonings for adolescent males and females vary by age, how these have changed between 1992 and 2012 and whether socioeconomic inequalities exist. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 16.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chloe Barrera MPH ORISE Fellow Centers for Disease Control and PreventionChloe Barrera MPH ORISE Fellow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have been inconsistent in whether introduction of solid foods to babies before 4 months may be associated with later obesity.  In our analysis of more than a thousand babies followed through the first year of life and contacted again at 6 years, we did not find this association. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 15.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meghan Azad PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences University of Manitoba Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Azad: It is well known that maternal nutrition plays a key role in “programming” fetal development and infant weight gain, but the impact of artificial sweetener consumption during this critical period has not been extensively studied.  Some animal research suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners during pregnancy can predispose offspring to develop obesity, but this has never been studied in humans, until now. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NEJM, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease / 15.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael McGeachie, PhD Instructor in Medicine Harvard Medical School Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. McGeachie: In asthma, and in general but particularly in asthma, a person’s level of lung function has a big impact on his or her quality of life, level of respiratory symptoms and complications, and general morbidity. In asthma, low lung function leads to greater severity and frequency of asthma symptoms. Asthma is a common childhood illness, affecting 9-10% of children. Many children grow out of asthma as they become adults, but other asthmatics remain effected through adulthood, which can lead to a lifetime of respiratory symptoms and chronic airway obstruction, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you consider lung function longitudinally, throughout development, plateau, and decline, different people and different asthmatics tend to exhibit different patterns of lung function. Healthy, non-asthmatic people tend to have a period of rapid lung function increase in adolescence, a plateau of lung function level in their late teens and early 20s, and starting around 25 or so a slow, gradual decline of lung function that continues throughout old age. We call this Normal Growth of lung function. However, some people exhibit Reduced Growth, where they don’t reach their expected maximum lung function for a person of the same age, sex, height, and race. Others can show Early Decline, who might reach a normal maximum but then begin to decline immediately without a plateau or with a truncated plateau. We hypothesized that these patterns, Reduced Growth and Early Decline, might have different baseline indicators, precursors, outcomes, and risk of developing COPD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 13.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maryam Farvid, Ph.D. Visiting Scientist Department of Global Health and Population Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farvid: Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. While we know many breast cancer risk factors, few of them are easily modified. Further, evidence suggests that exposure to carcinogens and anti-carcinogens in early life may play an important role. According to this study, what women eat as teens or young adults could affect their breast cancer risk in the future. Teenage girls who eat a lot of fruits may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life. The risk of breast cancer among women who reported the highest amount of dietary fruits during high school, about 2.9 servings of fruit a day, was 25 percent lower, compared with those who had eaten the lowest amount, about 0.5 serving of fruit a day. We also analyzed individual fruit and vegetable intake and risk of breast cancer: greater consumption of apple, banana, and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale for young adult was significantly associated with a reduced risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 12.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anny H. Xiang, PhD Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Xiang: Previous studies have identified a link between maternal obesity, diabetes and/or excessive gestational weight gain and long-term obesity risk in children. Our study examined the interplay among all four factors associated with childhood obesity: pre-pregnancy obesity, gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes and breastfeeding. To our knowledge, the interplay among these factors and their independent contributions to childhood obesity with data from a large and multi-ethnic cohort under current standard clinical care had not been previously studied. The study included 15,710 women who delivered babies at Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in Southern California in 2011. The key findings were:
  • A woman being obese (BMI of 30.0 or higher) prior to getting pregnant increased the odds of her child being overweight at age 2 by more than two-fold compared to women who had a normal pre-pregnancy weight (BMI between 18.5 and 25), after adjusting for weight gain during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and breastfeeding.
  • A woman being overweight (BMI between 25.0 and 29.9) prior to pregnancy was associated with 50 percent increased odds of her child being overweight at age 2.
  • Excessive weight gain during pregnancy was associated with 23 percent increased odds of a child being overweight at age 2 compared to women who had healthy weight gain during pregnancy after adjusting for pre-pregnancy weight, gestational diabetes and breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding for at least six months was associated with a 24 percent reduction for the odds of a child being overweight at age 2 regardless of a mother’s pre-pregnancy weight, gestational diabetes or excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
  • Gestational diabetes was not associated with the risk of a child being overweight at age 2. Women with gestational diabetes in this cohort were treated following standard clinical practice and had 40-49 percent lower rate of excessive weight gain during pregnancy and similar breastfeeding rates compared to women without gestational diabetes.
Excessive weight gain was defined according to Institute of Medicine guidelines, with normal-weight women gaining more than 35 pounds, overweight women gaining more than 25 pounds and obese women gaining more than 20 pounds during their pregnancy. Children were considered overweight at age 2 if their BMI was greater than the 85th percentile for their age and sex, based on growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ofir Turel, Ph.D Professor, Information Systems and Decision Sciences California State University, Fullerton Scholar in Residence, Department of Psychology University of Southern California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Turel: The study emerged as a response to the growing societal concern regarding potentially problematic information system use” lifestyles”, including videogame addiction, among adolescents. Much research in this domain has focused on negative psychological (e.g., reduced wellbeing, depression) and social/life functioning (e.g., reduction in normal activities, diminished school performance). Less is known regarding potential physiological outcomes of videogame addiction. Interestingly, the increase in videogame addiction-like symptoms among adolescents happened in conjunction with an increase in sleep curtailment and obesity in this population. These are too growing concerns in North America and perhaps elsewhere. Medical research implies that these three phenomena may be related. Hence, we hypothesized that videogame addiction will be associated with increased sleep curtailment and increased abdominal adiposity; and consequently, indirectly, with cardio-metabolic deficits. Our findings suggest that videogame addiction predicts reduced sleep duration which in turn, predicts increased abdominal adiposity. Abdominal adiposity was associated with increased blood pressure, insulin resistance and triglycerides and reduced high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Hence, sleep curtailment is an important mediating factor that helps translating videogame addiction into cardio-metabolic deficiencies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, Pediatrics / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chris Adamopoulos MD and Angelo Livolsi MD Unit of Cardiopediatrics, Hautepierre University Hospital Strasbourg, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Apparent life-threatening events (ALTEs) predominantly affect children younger than one year. Fifty percent of these events remain unexplained, which causes great concern to parents and physicians. Yet, there is no easily detectable biomarker associated with these potentially serious, unexplained events. In our previous research we found a very high expression of muscarinic (parasympathetic) receptors in cardiac tissues of infants who died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In the present study we investigated the expression of the same muscarinic receptors in the peripheral blood of infants who experienced explained and unexplained life-threatening events at the highest end of severity. Our results showed that the infants who experienced unexplained severe events had strikingly higher receptor’s levels (20 to 50 times higher) than the infants with severe events of known cause. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Atul Sharma MD, MSc(Statistics), FRCPC Researcher, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba; Senior Consultant, Biostatistics Group, George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sharma: Between 1978 and 2004, a previous comparison of directly measured heights and weights demonstrated an alarming increase in the prevalence of overweight or obesity in Canadian children aged 2-17y, from 23.3% (95% CI = 20.5-26.0) to 34.7% (33.0-36.4) based on the new 2007 WHO criteria. In Canada, the definitions of overweight and obesity changed with the introduction of the new '2010 WHO Growth Charts for Canada’, Previous definitions were based on Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles from the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth chart’s. In addition to revising the percentile thresholds for diagnosing overweight or obesity, the WHO charts were based on a very different reference population. As a result, the proportion of Canadian children being classified as overweight or obese increased with the introduction of the new WHO charts. Our current study applied current Canadian definitions of overweight and obesity to a contemporary sample of Canadian children age 3-19y to assess recent trends in the rates of overweight and obesity. By pooling data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS, cycle 2.2) and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS, cycles 2 and 3), we were able to study a representative sample of more than 14000 Canadian children from the period 2004-2013.  The sample was evenly split between boys and girls and approximately 80% white. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 09.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Anna Pease Senior Research Associate University of Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pease:  We tried to gather evidence of whether there was an association between swaddling for sleep and SIDS. This was a review, not a new original study, but it is the first time these data have been brought together to try to quantify any risk between swaddling and SIDS. We only found 4 studies and they were quite different making it difficult to pool the results. We did find, however, that the risk of SIDS when placing infants on their side or front for sleep increased when infants were swaddled. (more…)