Author Interviews, HPV, Infections, Pediatrics, Sexual Health / 23.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Seo Yoon Lee, RN Department of Health Policy and Management Graduate School of Public Health Eun-Cheol Park MD, PhD Institute of Health Services Research Department of Preventive Medicine Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a major public health issue which causes acute illness, infertility, long-term disability or other serious medical and psychological consequences, around the world. Adolescence is a key developmental period with rapid cognitive growth. In recent decades, substantial change in the sexual behaviors and attitudes of adolescents has occurred and this would lead them greater risk of STIs than other. Our study looked at the relationship between adolescents’ first sexual intercourse age and their STI experience, as well as to identify vulnerable time table of their sexual activity by considering the time gap between their secondary sex characteristic occurrence age and first sexual intercourse age. The findings from our study show that earlier initiation of sexual intercourse increases the odds of experiencing STIs. Also as the age gap gets shorter, the odds of experiencing STIs increase. Approximately 7.4% of boys and 7.5% of girls reported had STI. For both boys and girls, the chance of experiencing STIs increased as the age of first sexual intercourse decreased [boys: before elementary school (age 7 or under) OR=10.81, first grade (age 7or 8) OR=4.44, second grade (age 8 or 9) OR=8.90, fourth grade (age 10 or 11) OR=7.20, ninth grade (age 15 or 16) OR=2.31; girls: before elementary school OR=18.09, first grade OR=7.26, second grade OR=7.12, fourth grade OR=8.93, ninth grade OR=2.74]. The association between the absolute age gap (AAG: defined as absolute value of “Age gap” = [Age at first sexual intercourse] - [age of secondary sexual manifest]) and STI experience was examined additionally which the result showed, students who had sexual intercourse after their secondary sexual manifestation, as the AAG increases, the odds of STI experience were decreased (boys OR=0.93, girls OR=0.87). (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 23.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Bryn Austin, ScD, Professor Dept. of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Director, Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders and Katherine L. Record JD, MPH Massachusetts Health Policy Commission Boston  Medical Research: What is the background for this editorial? What are the main concerns regarding thinness in 'Paris' models? Response: The fashion industry has long been criticized for promoting unrealistic and patently unhealthy standards of thinness for girls and women. Furthermore, decades of psychological research have documented the pervasive and pernicious harm caused to body image and sense of self especially for adolescent girls during a most vulnerable time of development. What is often left out of the discussion, though, is the immediate and sometimes deadly harm caused to the girls and young women working as professional models as a result of what amounts to coerced starvation as a condition of employment. Most models begin working in the industry in their early or mid teens -- in other words, as children. We must ask ourselves, what other industry or employer in the United States would ever be allowed by our government to foster practices of coerced starvation of American child labor? (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 22.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kim Van Naarden Braun, Ph.D. Epidemiologist Developmental Disabilities Branch National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA  30341 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Van Naarden Braun: Over the past five decades, remarkable improvements have been made in obstetric and neonatal care resulting in significant declines in infant mortality both in the US and abroad, particularly for infants born premature and very low birthweight. Successes in neonatal survival have been met by concerns that the occurrence of developmental disabilities, most notably cerebral palsy, would increase. By monitoring changes over time in the prevalence of cerebral palsy, we can try to understand the impact of these advances further. Our recently published study reported that the birth prevalence of cerebral palsy has not decreased from the mid-1980’s to early 2000’s. The study also looked at whether the birth prevalence over time differed for children with cerebral palsy who were in certain racial and ethnic groups, had certain birth characteristics, or had other developmental disabilities and found that:
  • The birth prevalence of children with cerebral palsy with moderate to severe intellectual disability decreased about 2.6% each year from 1985 to 2002.
  • Birth prevalence of cerebral palsy among black children was higher than among white and Hispanic children, and this higher prevalence continued over the 17-year period.
  • Overall, there was no change over time in cerebral palsy birth prevalence among children born at certain birthweights or gestational age, but there were some differences when looking at these factors in different racial/ethnic groups.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, UCSD, Weight Research / 17.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geert W. Schmid-Schonbein, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor and Chairman Department of Bioengineering Adjunct Professor in Medicine University of California San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schmid-Schonbein: Most approaches to control/reduce body weight focus on reducing food quantity, improving quality and promoting daily activity. These approaches, effective in the short term, only yield modest weight control. Weight management strategies recommended in the past have not significantly diminished the current trend towards childhood and adolescence obesity. We developed and tested an alternative approach to control weight gain in healthy individuals to reduce the risk for development of obesity and diabetes complications. The essence is to: “Eat deliberately slow AND stop eating when you feel no longer hungry”. The approach avoids any form of special diet, uses no drugs, can be adopted for a lifetime and used in any ethnic environment. Children in a Mexican School in Durango were instructed by a pediatrician to learn to eat deliberately slow and to stop eating when the satiety reflex sets in, i.e. the moment when the feeling of hunger has disappeared. They were instructed to:
  • quench the thirst at the beginning of a meal with water,
  • use a portable 30 second hourglass sand timer,
  • take a bite only when the sand timer was turned, and
  • stop eating when they were no longer hungry (as compared to feeling of fullness), and
  • limit food consumption after the point of satiety.
Over a one-year period, children not using the hourglass excessively increased their body-mass index, while in contrast children using the hourglass grew normally their body-mass index. Body surface area and waist hip ratio followed the same trend. The study shows feasibility of regulating food intake by education that is directed at developing slow eating habits and cessation of eating at satiety. A combination of behavioral training and focused eating monitoring may constitute a weight control method that may serve a life-time and can be promoted for children and adolescents at moderate costs, on a national basis. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 16.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Peter C. Minneci, M.D., MHSc Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice Assistant Professor, Pediatric Surgery The Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Minneci: Non-operative management of uncomplicated appendicitis has been shown to safe and effective studied in several international adult trials. To be a reasonable treatment alternative to urgent appendectomy, non-operative management of appendicitis in children must have a clinically acceptable success rate with minimal harm in patients that fail and subsequently undergo appendectomy. We performed a prospective single-institution patient choice trial allowing the families of children with acute uncomplicated appendicitis to choose between urgent appendectomy or non-operative management with antibiotics alone. We enrolled 102 patients, with 65 choosing surgery and 37 choosing non-operative management with antibiotics alone. Non-operative management had an in-hospital success rate of 94%, a 30-day success rate of 89%, and a 1-year success rate of 76%. Compared to the surgery group, patients managed non-operatively reported higher quality of life scores at 30 days and had significantly fewer disability days and lower costs, with no differences in the rates of complicated appendicitis or treatment-related complications at 1 year of follow-up. With this being said, there are some cases that I have read about where doctors have failed to diagnose patients for Appendicitis even after they have complained about having a number of the symptoms associated with it. Following this, some patients have even contacted companies like Negligence Claimline to get back what they deserve. You go to doctors as they are the ones who can help you get your health back in order, but when something like this happens, it is understandable as to why some people lose faith in this system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Pediatrics / 16.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Alison Cooke PhD, MRes, BMidwif (Hons), RM Lecturer in Midwifery (Teaching and Research) School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work The University of Manchester Oxford Road Manchester  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cooke: The use of topical oils for the management of newborn dry skin or for massage is a common practice across the globe. In the UK, olive oil and sunflower oil are commonly recommended by maternity service health professionals for baby dry skin, yet there is no evidence to support this practice. The OBSeRvE study was conducted to investigate the effect of these two oils on healthy term newborn baby skin barrier function. The study found that both oils impeded the development of the skin barrier function from birth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Pediatrics / 14.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eric W. Christensen, PhD Health Economist Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Christensen: National healthcare expenditures are up from 5.0% of gross domestic product in 1960 to 17.4% in 2013. We must find ways to control cost while maintaining quality. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) were designed to control a population’s health care cost while maintaining or improving quality. This study was an examination of one ACO exclusively covering a pediatric Medicaid population. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Christensen: We found that health care utilization and cost patterns were associated with the length of time patients were attributed to this ACO, where attribution length can be thought of as a proxy for consistent primary care from ACO providers. Specifically, attribution length of 2 or more years was associated with a 40.6% decrease in inpatient days. This decrease was partially offset by increases in outpatient visits (as one would expect with a primary care focus), emergency department visits, and use of pharmaceuticals. Combined these utilization changes resulted in a cost reduction 15.7% for those attributed 2 or more years. These changes were achieved while meeting quality benchmarks. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Exercise - Fitness, Orthopedics, Pediatrics / 11.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zachary Y. Kerr, PhD, MPH Sports Injury Epidemiologist Director, NCAA Injury Surveillance Program Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention Indianapolis, IN 46202  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kerr: The NCAA Injury Surveillance Program has been ongoing since 1982, but the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention began management in 2009.  We provide the NCAA sports and medical committees with evidence-based data they can use to make rule and policy decisions aimed at student-athlete health and safety.  However, among the research community, there lacks current injury incidence data across the collegiate student-athlete population. The main findings of this study is that the rate of injury was higher in competitions than in practices.  However, the total number of injuries estimated in practices exceeds that of competition, which suggests that interventions should be aimed at reducing injury incidence in both practices and competitions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics / 10.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria C. Magnus PhD Norwegian Institute of Public Health Department of Chronic Diseases Nydalen Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Magnus: Type 1 diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases with onset in childhood, but environmental risk factors have not been convincingly established. A few previous studies report that childhood weight increase might influence the development of type 1 diabetes. This study combined information from two Scandinavian birth cohorts, including more than 99,000 children. The results showed that a higher weight increase during the first year of life increased the risk of type 1 diabetes. The same was not seen for height increase during the first year of life. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 01.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Mairead Black MBChB, MRCOG, MSc Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Clinical Lecturer, Obstetrics and Gynaecology School of Medicine and Dentistry, Division of Applied Health Sciences University of Aberdeen Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Cornhill Road Aberdeen AB25 2ZD  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Black: The current thinking is, if a baby is exposed to labour, then it is also exposed to ‘good bacteria’ that mothers pass on during the birth, and they are also exposed to a degree of natural stress at the time of birth that might make them more resistant to developing future illnesses. The World Health Organisation formerly recommended that no more than 15 percent of deliveries should be C-sections. However rates in some countries have soared – China and Brazil have rates in excess of 50%, whilst in the UK the figure is 26% with almost half of these being planned in advance. The main purpose of this study was to explore whether health outcomes in children up to very early adulthood differ according to how they are delivered and whether avoiding labour entirely, i.e. via a planned C-section, could put children at a disadvantage compared to those delivered vaginally or by emergency C-section, where most will have been exposed to labour. The study analysed data from over 300,000 births between 1993 and 2007 across Scotland, using routinely collected data from seven linked databases. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, OBGYNE, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 28.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Benjamin Thompson PhD School of Optometry and Vision Science Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Thompson: Our investigation was part of the longitudinal Infant Development and Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study that was designed to investigate the effect of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on neurodevelopment. Although the negative impact of prenatal drug exposure on a wide range of neurodevelopmental outcomes such cognitive and motor function is established, the effect on vision is not well understood. To address this issue, vision testing was conducted when children in the New Zealand arm of the IDEAL study turned four and half years of age. Although the primary focus of the IDEAL study was the impact of methamphetamine on neurodevelopment, the majority of children enrolled in the study were exposed to a range of different drugs prenatally including marijuana, nicotine and alcohol. Many children were exposed to multiple drugs. This allowed us to investigate the impact of individual drugs and their combination on the children’s visual development. Alongside standard clinical vision tests such as visual acuity (the ‘sharpness’ of vision) and stereopsis (3D vision), we also tested the children’s ability to process complex moving patterns. This test, known as global motion perception, targets a specific network of higher-level visual areas in the brain that are thought to be particularly vulnerable to neurodevelopmental risk factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Pediatrics / 25.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview Grant S Schulert MD, PhD Clinical Fellow, Division of Rheumatology Cincinnati Childrens Hospital  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schulert: Influenza infection causes millions of illnesses annually, but most of those are relatively mild.  In a subset of cases, patients can become critically ill, even if they are relatively young and healthy.  Several previous reports had observed in these critically ill patients features of a hyperinflammatory syndrome known as HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) or MAS (macrophage activation syndrome).  This hyperinflammation can be triggered by other infections as well as in a subtype of juvenile arthritis, but there is also a familial form occurring in early childhood with known genetic causes.  Our questions with this study were 1) how often are features consistent with HLH/MAS seen in fatal H1N1 influenza infections and 2) do patients with fatal H1N1 infection have genetic mutations associated with HLH/MAS? Our collaborator Paul Harms, MD, and his team at the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School identified 16 cases of fatal H1N1 influenza infection.  Based on their clinical features, between 41-88% of these patients could be categorized as having a hyperinflammatory HLH/MAS.  We then used processed tissue samples from the patients for whole exome genetic sequencing, which reads the entire genetic code of every gene in a person. Five patients carried mutations in genes which cause HLH, and several others carried mutations in genes linked to MAS.  This suggests that there may be genetic risk factors for developing fatal hyperinflammatory syndromes in H1N1 infection. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 25.11.2015

Dr. Ffion C Davies Consultant in Emergency Medicine & Paediatric Lead University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust Leicester Royal Infirmary Leicester UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ffion C Davies Consultant in Emergency Medicine & Paediatric Lead University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust Leicester Royal Infirmary Leicester UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Davies: This study is from the Trauma Audit Research Network data, which is a major trauma database receiving data from nearly all hospitals in England and Wales. A 2012 TARN report on major trauma in children showed a peak of injuries resulting from child abuse in the younger age group. In this study we analysed the database in more detail, in order to profile this peak of injuries from non-accidental injury (NAI). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Davies: The main findings are that severe injury and death resulting from non-accidental injury occurs nearly always in the under 5 year old age group, and 75% of cases are under 1 year old. This contrasts with reports in the media, whereby high profile deaths in children from non-accidental injury are often older children. This probably reflects reporting bias, because those children experienced a prolonged period of abuse, despite involvement of health and social services. Our study shows that very small infants are the most likely to die, or to sustain severe head injuries. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 24.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: N.J. Scheers, PhD Former manager of CPSC's Infant Suffocation Project BDS Data Analytics, Alexandria, VA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Scheers: There are no federal regulations for crib bumpers. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the National Institutes of Health, and others have long recommended against crib bumper use. Crib bumper manufacturers have a long-standing voluntary safety standard aimed at making crib bumpers safe. Neither of these approaches has worked to prevent deaths from bumpers.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Scheers: Using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the research identified 48 deaths from crib bumpers from 1985-2012. Reports of the deaths increased significantly and were three times higher from 2006 through 2012 than in previous years. In most of the deaths, the crib bumpers were the only source of suffocation, rebutting beliefs that other items in the cribs (comforters, pillows, blankets) caused the deaths. In other deaths, wedging occurred between the bumper and other objects such as pillows and infant recliners. All of these deaths would have been preventable if crib bumpers had not been in the cribs. The study linked more deaths to crib bumpers than the 48 indicated in the CPSC data. A review of data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths reveals reports of 32 bumper-related deaths from 37 states from 2008-2011. That puts the number of fatalities tied to crib bumpers at 77 and suggests the actual number is much higher. The study identified 146 injuries from 1990-2012. Eleven were “near-misses” in which the babies were rescued before they died. These were near-suffocations, chokings, strangulations, and falls from infants using bumpers to climb out of the cribs. There were reports of poor bumper design, such as a lack of bottom bumper ties, or construction problems, such as bumper ties and decoration that detached. Parents often buy bumpers to prevent slat entrapments or to prevent infants bumping their heads in the cribs. This is the first study to show that these events occurred even with a bumper present. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Tobacco Research / 24.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William G. Shadel, PhD Associate Director, Population Health Program Senior Behavioral Scientist RAND Corporation Pittsburgh, PA  15213  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shadel: The tobacco industry spends almost all of its multi-billion dollar advertising budget at retail point-of-sale locations.  A key feature of their advertising strategy includes the tobacco power wall, a prominent behind the cashier display of hundreds of cigarette and tobacco product brands.  The power wall also displays posters for those tobacco products as well as pricing information.  As such, it conveys a lot of positive messages about tobacco products to consumers. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate whether hiding or moving the tobacco power wall from its highly conspicuous location reduced teens’ smoking risk when they shop at convenience stores.   The study took place in the RAND StoreLab (RSL), a life-sized replica of a convenience store that was constructed to explore a range of options for regulating tobacco products at point-of-sale retail locations.  A sample of 271 teens (ages 11-17) was randomized to one of three experimental conditions: cashier (the tobacco power wall was located in its usual location, behind the cashier); side wall (the tobacco power wall was moved from behind the cashier to an out of the way location in the RSL); and hidden (the tobacco power wall was located behind the cashier, but was hidden behind an opaque wall).  After teens finished shopping in the RSL, they completed questionnaires that measured their susceptibility to future smoking. Teens assigned to the condition where the power wall was hidden were significantly less likely to report that they would smoke in the future, compared with those that were assigned to the cashier condition.  Locating the power wall to a sidewall had no effect on smoking susceptibility. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 24.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Erica P. Gunderson, PhD, MPH, MS, RD Senior Research Scientist, Division of Research, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditions Section Kaiser Permanente Northern California Oakland, CA 94612 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gunderson: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a disorder of glucose tolerance affecting 5-9 percent of all U.S. pregnancies (approximately 250,000 annually), with a 7-fold higher risk of progression to type 2 diabetes. Strategies during the postpartum period for prevention of diabetes focus on modification of lifestyle behaviors, including dietary intake and physical activity to promote weight loss. Lactation is a modifiable postpartum behavior that improves glucose and lipid metabolism, and increases insulin sensitivity, with favorable metabolic effects that persist post-weaning. Despite these metabolic benefits, evidence that lactation prevents type 2 diabetes remains inconclusive, particularly among women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Among women with GDM, evidence that lactation prevents diabetes is based on only two studies with conflicting findings. The Study of Women, Infant Feeding and Type 2 Diabetes after GDM Pregnancy, also known as the SWIFT Study, is the first to measure breastfeeding on a monthly basis during the first year after delivery and the first to enroll a statistically significant number of women with gestational diabetes, and to evaluate social, behavioral and prenatal risk factors that influence development of type 2 diabetes, as well as breastfeeding initiation and success. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Smoking, Tobacco / 23.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrea C. Villanti PhD, MPH Director, Regulatory Science and Policy Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative Washington, DC 20001 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Villanti: Awareness, interest, and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have increased since the products were introduced in the U.S. in 2006. Between 2012 and 2013, 8.3% of young adults reported current e-cigarette use compared to 4.2% of adults overall. One factor likely driving e-cigarette use as well as the use of other tobacco products is advertising, which has been demonstrated to promote the initiation and continued use of cigarettes. Advertising is critical for raising awareness about newly introduced products, and has been shown to influence initiation, experimentation, and progression to regular combustible cigarette smoking in youth. This study used a randomized control trial to assess the impact of brief exposure to four e-cigarette print advertisements (ads) on perceptions, intention, and subsequent use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes among young adults (age 18-34). It found that exposure to e-cigarette ads may enhance curiosity and limited trial of e-cigarettes in never users. Other findings include:
  • Compared to the control group, ad exposure was associated with greater curiosity to try an e-cigarette among never e-cigarette users (18.3% exposed vs. 11.3% unexposed), and greater likelihood of e-cigarette trial at follow-up among never users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes (3.6% exposed vs. 1.2% unexposed).
  • Exploratory analyses did not find an association between ad exposure and cigarette trial or past 30-day use among never users at follow-up, nor cigarette use among smokers over time.
  • Curiosity to try an e-cigarette mediated the relationship between ad exposure and e-cigarette trial among e-cigarette never users.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melatonin, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 23.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Bor-Luen Chiang Vice Superintendent, National Taiwan University Hospital Professor of Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics National Taiwan University Attending Physician, Department of Medical research National Taiwan University Hospital and Yung-Sen Chang, MD MPH Attending physician, Department of Pediatrics, Taipei City Hospital Renai Br. Adjunct Attending Physician, Department of Pediatrics National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital Adjunct Instructor, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Chang: Sleep disturbance is a common disorder in the children with atopic dermatitis (AD) (reported in 47 to 60%), but no effective way of managing this problem had been established. In our preceding study, we found that lower nocturnal melatonin level was significantly associated with sleep disturbance in the patients with AD. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland which plays an important role in sleep regulation. In addition to sleep-inducing effects, melatonin also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties which might be helpful for the management o fatopic dermatitis. Furthermore, melatonin has an excellent safety profile with minimal adverse effects, making it a good choice for children. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate whether melatonin is effective for improving the sleep problems and the dermatitis severity in children with atopic dermatitis. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Chang: From our double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, we found that after melatonin treatment, the sleep onset latency shortened by 21.4 minutes compared with placebo (from a mean of 44.9 minutes to 21.6 minutes). The Scoring Atopic Dermatitis Index (higher scores representing more severe dermatitis) also decreased by 9.9 compared with placebo (from a mean of 49.1 to 40.2). No adverse events were reported throughout the study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Pediatrics, PNAS / 21.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Kenworthy, PhD Associate professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry George Washington University School of Medicine Director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders Children’s National Health System Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kenworthy: Connectivity among brain regions may account for variability in autism outcomes not explained by age or behavioral measures, according to a study. We have previously shown that behavioral assessments of intelligence, baseline adaptive behavior and executive functions in people with autism can explain some of the variation in outcomes and function, but we have not been able to explain all of the variance in outcome (e.g. Pugliese et al 2015a, 2015b). In this study, we found that 44% of the study group experienced significant change in scores on adaptive behavior between the initial scan and follow-up. Connectivity between three resting-state networks, including the salience network, the default-mode network, and the frontoparietal task control network, was linked not only to future autistic behaviors but also to changes in autistic and adaptive behaviors over the post-scan period. Further, connectivity involving the salience network and associated brain regions was associated with improvement in adaptive behaviors, with 100% sensitivity and around 71% precision. (more…)
Author Interviews, Coffee, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 20.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mark A. Klebanoff, MD Center for Perinatal Research The Research Institute Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Klebanoff: Caffeine is among the substances most commonly consumed by pregnant women.  There are numerous sources of caffeine in the diet—regular (non-decaf) coffee, regular tea, many soft drinks, energy drinks, and some power bars. Even chocolate contains some caffeine.  It’s also included in some over the counter pain relievers, and in over the counter ‘keep awake’ pills such as No-Doz.  As a result of its wide availability, most pregnant women consume at least some caffeine.  In spite of over 30 years of research, whether moderate amounts of caffeine (up to 200 milligrams, the amount contained in about 2 normal-sized cups of coffee, per day) during pregnancy are harmful is uncertain.  However almost all previous research has been about events related to pregnancy, such as difficulty becoming pregnant, miscarriage, birth defects, and the size of the newborn.  Whether maternal caffeine use during pregnancy has an impact on things later in childhood, such as obesity and neurologic development, has hardly been studied. We used a biomarker, measured in the mother’s blood during pregnancy, for caffeine use, and found that more caffeine use was not associated with the child’s body mass index at either 4 or 7 years of age, and that at blood levels of the marker that we saw in the vast majority, caffeine was not associated with the child’s IQ, nor with behavioral abnormalities at those ages. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, CDC, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 20.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Quanhe Yang, PhD Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 30341 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yang: Body mass index (BMI) is an important risk factor for high blood pressure among adolescents. Despite a recent leveling off in the numbers of overweight and obese youths, weight-associated health outcomes remain a problem in the U.S. Some researchers have suggested that the increased prevalence of high blood pressure among adolescents is associated with the epidemic of overweight and obesity in the U.S. As a result, we analyzed trends in pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure among U.S. youth using data from a series of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Nearly 15,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were included in the surveys, which were conducted between 1988 and 2012. During that 24-year timeframe, the prevalence of high blood pressure actually decreased overall, while pre-high blood pressure remained largely unchanged. However, those rates differed based on body weight category. For example, pre-high blood pressure was consistently higher among overweight/obese adolescents (18 to 22 percent) than those of normal weight (11 to 12 percent). The observed changes in both pre-high blood pressure and high blood pressure prevalence were consistent across age group, sex and race/ethnicity. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 18.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor of Pediatrics Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Bisgaard: Birth season has been reported to be a risk factor for several immune-mediated diseases, although the critical season varies depending on the disease. Autoimmune diseases are generally associated with spring births, whereas asthma and allergies are more common among subjects born in fall and winter. Because many of these diseases, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, have an underlying immune-mediated pathology, we hypothesized that this association might be mediated by differential changes in neonatal immune phenotype and function with birth season. We therefore sought to investigate the influence of season of birth on neonatal immunity by a combined analysis of immune cells subsets from cord blood and inflammatory mediators in the airways of neonates from the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) 2010 birth cohort. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Bisgaard: We found a birth season–related fluctuation in neonatal immune cell subsets and in early-life airway mucosal immune function. The seasonal airway immune pattern was associated with the number of activated and regulatory T cells in cord blood whereas it was independent of concomitant presence of pathogenic airway microbes. Specifically, summer newborns presented with the lowest levels of all cell types and mediators and thereby seem to display the most quiescent immune status. Fall births presented mainly with an enhanced type 2 profile (eosinophils and IL-13), along with high TNF-a, IL-12p70, IL-10, and IL-2 levels, suggesting recent immune activation; whereas winter newborns had the highest levels of most cell types and mediators, including an anti-bacteria/ fungi–associated type 17 response (neutrophils, IL-17, and IL-1b), an antiviral response (pDCs and NK cells), increased eosinophil counts and an IL-5–mediated type 2 response. These season-linked immune profiles were similar to the known immune pathology of type 2 immune-mediated diseases associated with the fall and winter birth seasons, suggesting that immune function in early life might be biased toward the trajectory to later disease development. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Respiratory / 17.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leonard B. Bacharier, MD Professor of pediatrics Clinical Director, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine St Louis School of Medicine Washington University St Louis, Missouri  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bacharier: Oral corticosteroids such as prednisone have become the standard of care for children whose colds tend to progress and lead to severe wheezing and difficulty breathing. “But there are some studies that suggest these treatments don’t consistently work for young children. That’s why we want to find ways to prevent upper respiratory infections from progressing to lower respiratory tract illnesses. Once the episode gets going, standard interventions are less effective than would be desired”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, reported Dr. Bacharier. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 17.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sabine Plancoulaine, MD, PhD Senior Researcher NSERM, UMR1153 Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cité Research Center (CRESS), early Origin of the Child's Health And Development (ORCHAD) Team, Villejuif, France; and Paris Descartes University, Paris, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Plancoulaine: A decrease in children’s total sleep duration has been reported in the last decades, suggesting that more and more children are now in chronic sleep debt. There is now accumulating evidence that insufficient quantity and/or quality of sleep have a negative impact on children’s physical and mental health development, cognitive function, behaviour and academic success. Sleep disorders and short sleep duration in childhood have also been suggested as predictors of sleep disorders and short sleep duration in adolescence and adulthood. An increased risk of obesity has been shown among shorter sleeper children, especially boys.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Plancoulaine: In our study we aimed at describing sleep duration in 3 years old children from a French pre-birth cohort (546 boys and 482 girls) and at investigating gender-specific factors associated with shorter sleep duration defined as <12h/24h. In our study, children aged 3 years slept on average 12hrs35 and 91% of them were napping. Parental presence when falling asleep (e.g. holding hands) was the only factor associated with shorter sleep duration in both gender and increased the risk by around 3 and 4 in boys and girls respectively. The other associated risk factors were more gender-specific. Among boys, each hour of TV viewing duration increased by 72% the risk of being a short sleeper and each additional standard deviation of BMI increased the risk by 31%. Among girls, adherence to a fruit and vegetables dietary pattern divided the risk of being short sleeper by 2 while being cared at home increased it by 2.5 folds. Other investigated factors were not associated (i.e. familial incomes, parental educational level, maternal age at birth, maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, maternal depression status (at birth and at 3y), gestational age, child’s birth rank, birth weight and physical activities at 3y, existence of night awakenings at 3y). (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mai-Britt Guldin PhD Department of Public Health Aarhus University  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Guldin: The background for this study is that death of a parent in childhood is experienced by 3-4% of children in Western societies, and we know such a loss is one of the most stressful and potentially harmful events in childhood. Therefore, we aimed to investigate how parental death may influence the long-term risk of suicide and how this risk differes by cause of parental death, age at loss, sex of child, socioeconomic factors and parental history of psychiatric illness.The sample size in this study is unparalleled by other studies on risk of suicide. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Guldin: The main findings were that in a population of 7.302,033 (in three Scandinavian countries), we identified 189,094 persons who lost a parent before the age of 18. Of these bereaved persons, 265 died from suicide. Compared to a control group of persons matched by age and sex, but who did not lose a parent before the age of 18, suicide was twice as common in the bereaved cohort (IRR = 2.02; 95% CI, 1.67-2.44). The risk remained high for at least 25 years of follow-up. The risk was particularly high for children who lost a parent due to suicide, but was also high for children who lost a parent due to other causes. The risk tended to be particularly high for boys who lost a mother and children losing a parent before the age of six. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research, Weight Research / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph M. Braun PhD Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology in the Program in Public Health Brown University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Braun:  Perfluoroalkyl substances are a class of chemicals used to produce stain/water repellent textiles, fire fighting foams, and non-stick coatings. Virtually all people in the US have measurable levels of several different perfluoroalkyl substances in their blood. There is concern that early life exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of obesity by reducing fetal growth or promoting adipogenesis. What are the main findings? Dr. Braun:  Pregnant women in our study had perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) concentrations in their blood that were over 2-fold higher than pregnant women in the United States (median: 5.3 vs. 2.3 ng/mL) during the same time period (2003-2006). Children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy had a higher body mass index, greater waist circumference, and more body fat at 8 years of age compared to children born to women with lower serum PFOA concentrations. In addition, children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy gained more fat mass between 2 and 8 years of age than children born to women with lower PFOA concentrations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bone Density, Mineral Metabolism, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Audry H. Garcia PhD Scientist Department of Epidemiology Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam Rotterdam, The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Garcia: Mild and chronic metabolic acidosis as a result of a diet rich in acid-forming nutrients, such as cheese, fish, meat and grain products, may interfere with optimal bone mineralization and indirectly increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Previous observational studies in adults have reported inverse associations between dietary acid load and bone mass. However, the evidence in younger populations is scarce; only a few studies have been performed in healthy children and adolescents with inconsistent results, and not much is known on the effects of dietary acid load on bone mass in younger children or in children with a non-European background. In a prospective multiethnic population-based cohort study of 2,850 children from the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, we found that dietary acid load estimated as dietary potential renal acid load (dPRAL), and as protein intake to potassium intake ratio (Pro:K) at 1 year of age, was not consistently associated with childhood bone health. Furthermore, associations did not differ by sex, ethnicity, weight status, or vitamin D supplementation. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, UCLA / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward R. B. McCabe, MD, PhD Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Professor Adjunct of Pediatrics Yale University School of Medicine Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics & Inaugural Mattel Executive Endowed Chair of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine Inaugural Physician-in-Chief, Mattel Children's Hospital Chief Medical Officer March of Dimes Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McCabe: The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign was launched in 2003. The goal of the campaign is to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of live births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns, and a major cause of childhood disabilities. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to complications of an early birth. The U.S. preterm birth rate ranks among the worst of high-resource nations. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays. The US earned a “C” on the 8th annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card which revealed persistent racial, ethnic and geographic disparities within states. The report card provided preterm rates and grades for each state and the largest cities. The report card showed that although some progress is being made in reducing preterm births, not all families are sharing in the success. State specific information is available at marchofdimes.org/reportcard Portland, Oregon has the best preterm birth rate of the top 100 cities with the most births nationwide, while Shreveport, Louisiana has the worst, according to the 2015 Report Card. The U.S. preterm birth rate was 9.6 percent in 2014. The report card shows more than 380,000 babies were born too soon last year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Pediatrics, Probiotics / 10.11.2015

Dr. Ulla Uusitalo PhD University of South Florida, TampaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ulla Uusitalo PhD University of South Florida, Tampa Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Uusitalo: The TEDDY Study is an international prospective cohort study with the primary goal to identify environmental causes of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It is carried out in six clinical research centers, in four countries: University of Colorado Health Science Center (US), Georgia Regents University (US), Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute (US), Turku University Hospital (Finland), Institute of Diabetes Research (Germany), and Lund University (Sweden), since 2004. One possible environmental factor related to Type 1 Diabetes etiology is diet. Dietary supplements including probiotics as well as various types of infant formulas including probiotic fortified infant formula are studied. The microbial composition of gut has been shown to be associated with the development of  Type 1 Diabetes. Colonization of the infant gut starts already in utero and early microbial exposures have been found to be important in defining the trajectory of colonization. Probiotics have been demonstrated to induce favorable immunomodulation and it has been suggested that probiotic treatment could prevent T1D. Therefore we wanted to study the early exposures of probiotic and risk of islet autoimmunity, a condition often preceding Type 1 Diabetes. This study produced very interesting results. The main finding was that we found 60% decrease in the risk of islet autoimmunity among children with HLA genotype of DR3/4 (high risk), who were exposed to probiotics during the first 27 days of life. (more…)