Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Pediatrics / 25.11.2015 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melatonin, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 23.11.2015 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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…)
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Pediatrics / 07.11.2015 Interview with: Jill Hanson, MD Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas City MO  Background from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology “Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and one of the most difficult to manage, which is one of the reasons there are so many emergency department visits for asthma sufferers in the US.” Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study? Dr. Hanson: Our study of asthmatic children found that the number of historical asthma-related acute care visits (i.e. urgent care, emergency department and inpatient admissions) was predictive of future asthma-related acute care visits.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Pediatrics, Respiratory / 06.11.2015 Interview with: Dominik Mertz, MD, MSc, FMH (CH) Assistant Professor, McMaster University Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases Associate Membership Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics / Pathology and Molecular Medicine Medical Director Infection Prevention & Control, Hamilton Health Sciences Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Center Hamilton, ON, Canada  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mertz: There was a perception that there was an increase in ICU admissions and deaths, initially in Kansas City and Chicago, which was found to be related to the enterovirus strain EV-D68, which had previously not resulted in any major outbreaks in North America. We have one of the first laboratories that was able to provide a specific EV-D68 PCR routine testing allowing us identify EV-D68 cases and to compare the outcomes in patients infected with this strain to children infected by other rhino/enteroviruses. We found a substantial overlap in how the patients presented between patients with EV-D68 and non-EV-D68 infection. It seems that children infected with EV-D68 were in deed at higher risk for having respiratory distress and needing hospital admission, with children with allergies being at a higher risk. We did not find an increase in more severe outcomes, though, i.e. no higher risk for ICU admission (23 vs 15%) and 0 deaths in the EV-D68 group. We also did not find any evidence of in-hospital transmission of EV-D68. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.11.2015

Bindu Kalesan PhD MPH Director Evan’s Center for Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research Assistant Professor of Medicine Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology Department of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA Interview with: Bindu Kalesan PhD MPH Director Evan’s Center for Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research Assistant Professor of Medicine Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology Department of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kalesan: Firearm injuries are one of the 3 major causes of death in children in the US. for every 7 pediatric firearm deaths there are 8 children non-fatally injured by a gun. Those that survive will live with disability and severe morbidity. From our earlier studies, we found that this burden of survivorship and injury is different according to race/ethnicity. There is also evidence that Injury related hospitalizations are also associated low-income households and neighborhoods. In the background of gun (violence) control, frequently comparisons are drawn between firearm injuries and motor vehicle accidents. In this study we use nationally representative hospitalization data and compared pediatric firearm-related hospitalization and pedestrian motor vehicle accident hospitalizations to assess whether the risk of firearm related hospitalizations among minorities varies depending on the neighborhood they live. We found that black children were at substantially greater risk of firearm hospitalization as compared to pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization. This greater risk of firearm hospitalization among black children persisted across neighborhoods. Simply put, the risk of firearm hospitalization versus pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization among black children was high, regardless of whether they lived in low income or high income neighborhoods.We also found that all minority race children (black, Hispanic and other race) as compared to white children were at a greater likelihood of homicide-firearm hospitalization than of pedestrian motor vehicle hospitalization and all minority race children were significantly less likely to be hospitalized for unintentional firearm than pedestrian injuries in comparison to white children. Therefore, overall we found a minority race disadvantage regardless of whether they lived in high and low-income neighborhoods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Compliance, HIV, JAMA, Pediatrics / 04.11.2015 Interview with: Dr. Louise Kuhn PhD Professor, Epidemiology Sergievsky Center Columbia University  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kuhn: Ritonavir-boosted lopinavir-based antiretroviral therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for HIV-infected infants and young children while efavirenz is recommended for adults and older children. There are several advantages of transitioning HIV-infected children to efavirenz-based treatment as they get older.  These advantages include the possibility of once-daily dosing, simplification of co-treatment for tuberculosis, avoidance of some metabolic toxicities, preservation of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir for second-line treatment, and alignment of adult and pediatric treatment regimens. However, there have been concerns about possible reduced viral efficacy of efavirenz-based treatment in children exposed to nevirapine for prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  This is because efavirenz and nevirapine are in the same drug class and the majority of children who become infected despite exposure to nevirapine used for prevention have mutations in their virus that usually predict resistance to this drug class. In this study, we randomized HIV-infected children to two different treatment strategies: In the control strategy they remained on their initial ritonavir-boosted lopinavir regimen; in the alternative strategy they transitioned to an efavirenz-based regimen.  All children had been exposed to nevirapine used (unsuccessfully) to prevent mother to child HIV transmission and were virologically-suppressed (HIV in blood < 50 copies/ml) at the time of enrollment into the study.  We observed excellent virological control in both groups with fewer than 3% of children having levels of HIV in their blood greater than 1000 copies/ml.  Sustained suppression of virus in blood below 50 copies/ml throughout follow-up was achieved in 82% of the children transitioned to efavirenz-based treatment compared to 72% of children remaining on the control treatment. (more…)
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 03.11.2015 Interview with: Dr. Tove Fall, PhD Associate Professor in Epidemiology Ingelsson Group Upssala University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fall: We wanted to make use of the Swedish national dog registers to study the question of whether children exposed to dogs are at lower risk of asthma and compare this to children living in farming environments. Previous studies on this question has been inconclusive. We linked health and population data from all children born in Sweden from 2001-2010 with dog ownership data, and with this detailed data set, we found that children in dog-households had 13% lower risk for asthma at age 6, accounting for factors such as parental asthma, area of residence and socioeconomic status. Children in farming households were at even lower risk, which is consistent with many previous studies. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, Pediatrics / 31.10.2015 Interview with: Stephen J. Teach, MD, MPH Chair, Department of Pediatrics Children's National Health System Washington, DC  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Teach: Inner-city children aged 6 to 17 years with moderate to severe asthma continue to experience exacerbations at high rates during the fall season despite therapy which follows the guidelines of the National Institutes of Health. These exacerbations are most common among children with a history of prior exacerbations and sensitivities to common indoor allergens who develop an upper respiratory infection with the common cold virus (rhinovirus). The PROSE study found that treatment with omalizumab begun 4 to 6 weeks before the children return to school, significantly reduced exacerbations of asthma in the first 90 days of the school year. This effect was most dramatic among those children who had experienced an exacerbation in the months preceding the beginning of the school year. Omalizumab is an antibody which binds and deactivates the IgE antibody. The IgE antibody serves as the basis for allergic sensitivity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Pediatrics / 30.10.2015 Interview with: Alex L. Gornitzky Medical Student and Theodore J. Ganley, M.D. Director of Sports Medicine, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Currently, more than half of all high school students participate in organized athletics, and with increasing participation the incidence of ACL injury and subsequent reconstruction are also rising. Furthermore, researchers also know that adolescent and high school athletes have a number of unique risk factors that differentially affect their ACL injury risk profile as compared to older and/or more experienced athletes. To our knowledge, however, no previous studies have described sport-specific seasonal risk for ACL tears in the high school athlete by gender and by sport. More specifically, parents and athletes currently have no available information to more accurately define what their personal risk is for such an important and devastating injury. Therefore, the purpose of our study was to pool data from across the literature in order to objectively quantify an average high school athlete’s risk for ACL injury per season across a variety of varsity-level sports. If a student is injured while playing sports and the school doesn't deal with the injury correctly then it could make the issue worse. This is why it is important for schools to correctly identify is the player has suffered an ACL injury. If you have suffered an injury at school that wasn't properly dealt with then you may want to check out someone like these new york personal injury lawyers to see if you can get compensation. This study will hopefully help students see the risk of them getting an injury meaning they can take measures to prevent one happening to them. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Overall, there is an approximately 1.6 times greater rate of ACL tear per athletic exposure in high school female athletes as compared to males. On a per-season basis, the highest risk sports in females were soccer, basketball and lacrosse at 1.1%, 0.9% and 0.5% risk of ACL tear per athletic season. Comparatively, in males, the highest risk sports were football, lacrosse and soccer at 0.8%, 0.4% and 0.3% risk of ACL tear per athletic season. Looking further at the year-round, multi-sport athlete, this may correspond to either a 2.5% risk per-year or 10% risk per high school career for the female athlete who participates in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, or 1% and 4%, respectively, for the male athlete who plays football, basketball and baseball. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics / 29.10.2015 Interview with: Chadi El Saleeby, MD. MS. Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Pediatric Hospital Medicine and Pediatric Infectious Disease Units Mass. General Hospital for Children Boston, MA 02114  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. El Saleeby: The Institute of Medicine, the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, and the American Board of Pediatrics stress the importance of appropriate supervision of trainees to reduce errors, lower patient mortality, and improve quality of care.  However, how appropriate supervision should be implemented in clinical practice is not well defined. After-hours supervision can be especially difficult when attendings or fellows may not be immediately available on-site and residents must determine when to contact a supervising physician regarding a clinical issue. The purpose of this study was to evaluate expectations when a pediatric resident should a contact a supervising physician while working after hours. To that effect, we developed 34 scenarios of the most common or the most serious issues encountered by residents on a general pediatric floor. We included these scenarios in an online survey, which was sent to the residents, fellows and attendings, asking for each scenario, if they would communicate immediately to discuss, or delay communication until the following day. There were two main findings of the study. First, in half of the scenarios, there were significant differences in communication preferences between residents and their supervisors. In all of these 17 discrepant scenarios without one single exception, more supervising clinicians wanted immediate communication compared to the residents. Second, there was no internal agreement between supervising physicians themselves. The junior attendings were more similar in their responses to residents while the more senior group (attendings with 5 or more years of clinical experience) asked to be immediately contacted much more frequently. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015 Interview with: Heather Fay, MHS Program Services FCD Educational Services Newton, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was conducted by FCD Prevention Works, an international non-profit focused on school-based, substance abuse prevention. Using FCD’s database of over 50,000 6th-12th grade student survey responses, we sought to explore the relationship between parental permission of student substance use and negative consequences related to substance use. We compared student alcohol and other drug use in the home, with or without a parent’s knowledge, to students’ self-reported negative consequences related to their own alcohol use. As might be expected, students who used alcohol or other drugs at home without their parents knowing were more likely to report negative consequences in the past 12 months related to their alcohol own use. Students who used at home with their parents knowing were protected against some negative consequences. These students were less likely than students who did not report this behavior to feel guilty about their drinking or regret something they did while drinking. However, these same students were at an increased risk of experiencing negative consequences related to addiction. These consequences included those which are indicative of a mounting dependency on alcohol, such as needing a drink or other drug first thing in the morning, using alcohol or other drugs alone, passing out because of drinking, and getting hurt or injured as a direct result of their alcohol use. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015 Interview with: Daniel J. Dickson, M.A. Graduate Student and Brett Laursen PhD Department of Psychology Florida Atlantic University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: With age, adolescents spend more time with peers, and engage in drinking behaviors at increasing levels. In particular, girls who reach puberty at earlier ages than their peers are at higher risk for abusing alcohol. This may be because early maturing girls seek out the company of older more mature peers, ​who have greater access to alcohol and (in the case of those prone to delinquency) may be more welcoming to younger girls who are having difficulties with agemates. Our study investigates the association between changes in parental autonomy granting and girls’ alcohol abuse over a three year period (ages 13-16), as a function of timing of pubertal maturation. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 28.10.2015 Interview with: Michael DMiedema, MD, MPH Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation Abbott Northwestern Hospital Minneapolis, MN Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Miedema: A healthy diet is an essential component in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A dietary pattern high in fruits and vegetables has been associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease outcomes in multiple observation cohorts of middle-aged and older adults. However, the cardiovascular impact of fruit and vegetable intake in younger adults is less clear. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Miedema: To evaluate this relationship, we studied 2,506 young adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to determine the association between fruit and vegetable intake during young adulthood and subsequent development of coronary artery calcium 20 years later. After adjusting for age, gender, and lifestyle variables, including smoking and physical activity, we found an inverse relationship between fruit and vegetable and subsequent coronary artery calcium across tertiles of fruit and vegetable intake (p-value <0.001). Individuals in the top third of fruit and vegetable intake at baseline had 26% lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later. This inverse linear relationship remained significant after adjusting for fruit and vegetable intake at year 20 as well as after adjustment for other dietary variables such as dairy, nuts, fish, salt, and refined grains. (more…)