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Children's Health

Obese teen had to be cut from home in U.K.

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 27 12

Emergency workers who needed to take an obese teenager from her home to a hospital in Wales had to break through a wall of the residence to get her out and into an ambulance, officials said Friday.

The rescue on the second floor of the small house on Thursday used scaffolding as a ramp to lower the woman to the ground level, the local Rhondda Cynon Taf council said.

The unidentified 19-year-old remained hospitalized Friday and her medical condition was not released.

Neighbors said her weight had risen as high as 380 kilos (835 pounds).

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Study shows school-based health centers boost vaccination rates

Children's Health • • Immunology • • Public HealthMay 07 12

New research from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows that school-based health centers are highly effective in delivering comprehensive care, especially vaccines to adolescents.

The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, highlights the value of a ‘captive audience’ in a school setting where students can be easily reminded to get recommended vaccinations.

“School-based health centers can provide comprehensive care to children and adolescents who are hard to reach,” said CU School of Medicine professor of pediatrics Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, and lead author of the study. “I think it’s a very important model especially in underserved and low income areas. School-based health centers are not prevalent across the United States but I think they should be.”

Kempe, director of the Children’s Outcomes Research Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said the scope of immunizations for adolescents has expanded markedly over the last few years, prompting discussions about a platform of inoculations for this population similar to those given to infants.

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Obesity-Linked Diabetes in Children Resists Treatment

Children's Health • • Diabetes • • ObesityMay 04 12

Obesity and the form of diabetes linked to it are taking an even worse toll on America’s youths than medical experts had realized. As obesity rates in children have climbed, so has the incidence of Type 2 diabetes, and a new study adds another worry: the disease progresses more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat.

“It’s frightening how severe this metabolic disease is in children,” said Dr. David M. Nathan, an author of the study and director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It’s really got a hold on them, and it’s hard to turn around.”

Before the 1990s, this form of diabetes was hardly ever seen in children. It is still uncommon, but experts say any increase in such a serious disease is troubling. There were about 3,600 new cases a year from 2002 to 2005, the latest years for which data is available.

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Childhood obesity genes identified

Children's Health • • ObesityApr 11 12

An international genome-wide study involving thousands of cases identified at least two new gene variants linked to childhood obesity, a U.S. researcher says.

Lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and hospital colleagues Jonathan P. Bradfield, Dr. Hakon Hakonarson and Dr. Robert I. Berkowitz said the meta-analysis included 14 previous studies encompassing 5,530 cases of childhood obesity and 8,300 control subjects, all of European ancestry.

The study team identified two novel loci, one near the OLFM4 gene on chromosome 13, the other within the HOXB5 gene on chromosome 17, the study said.

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Risk of Blood Loss in Childhood Back Surgery Varies with Cause of Spine Deformity

Children's Health • • TraumaApr 09 12

The relative risk of blood loss during corrective spine surgery in children appears linked to the underlying condition causing the spinal deformity, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Results of the study, published online March 15 in the journal Spine, can help surgeons prepare, plan and safeguard against this common and serious complication, the investigators say. Blood loss during surgery can increase the length of hospital stay, lead to complications and portend worse overall outcomes.

The Johns Hopkins investigation, believed to be the first to explore the link between intraoperative blood loss and pediatric patients’ underlying condition, is based on an analysis of 617 cases of children, ages 10 through 18, who had surgery to fuse bones to stabilize and correct a spine deformity. All surgeries were conducted at Johns Hopkins between 2001 and 2011.

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Malaria prevention saves children’s lives

Children's Health • • InfectionsMar 28 12

Malaria continues to be a major disease worldwide, but while funding projects are working hard to improve malaria prevention it is difficult to measure how effective these interventions are. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Malaria Journal has used a Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model to show that the increase in funding for the prevention of malaria has prevented 850,000 child deaths in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across Africa.

According to the WHO, malaria caused an estimated 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children. They estimate that a child dies every minute due to malaria in Africa. Deaths which are unnecessary, because malaria is both preventable and curable. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of sick children, simple solutions to prevent the diseases like insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITN) and malaria prevention during pregnancy, (IPTp), have all been shown to reduce the number of deaths due to malaria. Initiatives like Roll Back Malaria, set up in 1998, aim to reduce child mortality due to malaria by two thirds, by 2015, using large scale implementation of these simple solutions.

Researchers from USA at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the WHO and the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), used the LiST model to investigate the impact of malaria prevention in the decade between 2001 and 2010 across 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is endemic. The team, led by Dr Thomas Eisele, based their model on UN estimates of malaria deaths over the year 2000 and future population growth, the effectiveness of ITNs and IPTp in preventing child deaths, and the number of households using ITN to protect their children.

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Childhood hunger policies should target neighborhoods, not families

Children's Health • • Public HealthMar 22 12

Policies addressing childhood hunger should target neighborhoods, not individual families, according to new research from Rice University.

Sociologists found that children living in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates and in those with high foreign-born populations and non-English speakers are more likely to experience hunger.

“Policymakers should be thinking about targeting whole communities, instead of what is done now, which is offering public aid programs for individual families,” said Rice sociology professor Justin Denney. “Public aid works on a limited basis, reaching approximately 70 percent of eligible individuals. But unfortunately, the remaining 30 percent are unaccounted for.”

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children, was co-authored by Denney and sociology professor Rachel Tobert Kimbro, co-founders of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s Urban Health Program at Rice, and postbaccalaureate fellow Sarita Panchang. They used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative dataset of more than 20,000 kindergarteners in 1998-1999, to examine individual, family and neighborhood characteristics of children who are or are not affected by hunger. In the dataset, the children were clustered according to schools and neighborhoods.

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Autism Affects Motor Skills, Study Indicates

Children's Health • • Psychiatry / PsychologyFeb 16 12

Children with autism often have problems developing motor skills, such as running, throwing a ball or even learning how to write. But scientists have not known whether those difficulties run in families or are linked to autism. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis points to autism as the culprit.

Their findings were reported in the journal Autism.

“From our results, it looks like motor impairments may be part of the autism diagnosis, rather than a trait genetically carried in the family,” says lead author Claudia List Hilton, PhD, assistant professor in occupational therapy and an instructor in psychiatry. “That suggests that motor impairments are a core characteristic of the diagnosis.”

The researchers studied 144 children from 67 families in which at least one child had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder as well as at least one biological sibling in the same age group. Of the children families, there were 29 in which two had an autism spectrum disorder, including six identical twins; and 48 in which only one child had an autism spectrum disorder.

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Likening obesity to child abuse

Children's Health • • ObesityJan 27 12

Can you imagine Social Services storming into your home like Special Ops and seizing your children because of what you’ve fed them?

Taking them away because you’ve allowed them a steady diet of Doritos and Twisters?

Declaring you unfit because you put sugary juice in your toddler’s bottle instead of milk?

Seems extreme. But it has come to that.

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Breast milk courier helps Indonesian mums cope

Children's Health • • Food & NutritionJan 19 12

Febby Kemala Dewi returned to work at a Jakarta accounting firm after three months of maternity leave but struggled, like many new mums, to balance her home and work lives—especially keeping her infant daughter fed.

Unwilling to stop breastfeeding, unable to pump enough for a whole day in the morning before work and leery of giving her baby anything but the freshest milk, she finally turned to a unique Jakarta service—a breast milk motorbike courier.

“I have to work, but at the same time I can still feed my baby,” said Dewi, the wall by her desk plastered with pictures of her smiling daughter, eight-month-old Ashalina Putri.

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Increasing care needs for children with neurological impairment

Children's Health • • NeurologyJan 18 12

In this week’s PLoS Medicine, Jay Berry of Harvard Medical School, USA and colleagues report findings from an analysis of hospitalization data in the United States, examining the proportion of inpatient resources attributable to care for children with neurological impairment (NI). Their results indicate that children with NI account for a substantial proportion of inpatient resources and that the impact of these children is growing within children’s hospitals, necessitating adequate clinical care and a coordination of efforts to ensure that the needs of children with NI are met.

The authors state: “We must ensure that the current health care system is staffed, educated, and equipped to serve, with efficiency and quality, this growing segment of vulnerable children.”

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Funding: AP was supported by the Harvard Medical School Eleanor & Miles Shore Scholar/Children’s Hospital Boston Junior Faculty Career Development Fellowship. RS and JGB were supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development career development awards K23 HD052553 and K23 HD58092-02, respectively. JLB was supported by NIH K08 DA024753. This project was supported in part by the Children’s Health Research Center at the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Medical Center Foundation. The funders and sponsors were not involved in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

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Neurologically impaired children dependent on children’s hospitals

Children's Health • • NeurologyJan 18 12

Because of care advances, more infants and children with previously lethal health problems are surviving. Many, however, are left with lifelong neurologic impairment. A Children’s Hospital Boston study of more than 25 million pediatric hospitalizations in the U.S. now shows that neurologically impaired children, though still a relatively small part of the overall population, account for increasing hospital resources, particularly within children’s hospitals. Their analysis, based on data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), was published online January 17th in PLoS Medicine.

The researchers analyzed KID data from 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006, encompassing 25.7 million hospitalizations of children age 0 to 18. Of these, 1.3 million hospitalizations were for children with neurologic conditions, primarily cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

During the 10-year period, children with neurologic diagnoses were admitted more to children’s hospitals and less to community hospitals. At non-children’s hospitals, they made up a falling share of admissions (from 3 percent in 1997 to 2.5 percent in 2006); at children’s hospitals, they made up a rising share (from 11.7 percent of admissions in 1997 to 13.5 percent in 2006).

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Text-message bullying becoming more common

Children's Health • • Public HealthNov 22 11

A growing number of U.S. kids say they have been picked on via text messaging, while there has been little change in online harassment, researchers reported Monday.

Of more than 1,100 middle school and high school students surveyed in 2008, 24 percent said they had ever been “harassed” by texting. That was up from about 14 percent in a survey of the same kids the year before.

“Harassment” meant that peers had spread rumors about them, made “rude or mean comments,” or threatened them.

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Well-Child Visits Suffer From Time Squeeze: Study

Children's Health • • Public HealthSep 25 11

Longer well-child visits for babies and toddlers make for happier parents because doctors can fit in more advice and answer more questions, a new study finds.

But most well-child visits last less than 20 minutes and pediatricians are getting even more time-crunched as health care systems look to cut extra expenses any way they can, researchers write in Pediatrics.

“The disability rates for children continue to increase, and the nature of disability is changing,” with more kids getting diagnosed with behavioral and developmental problems, lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, from the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, told Reuters Health.

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Little fingers, big trouble: Yale study sheds light on child self-unbuckling

Children's HealthMay 02 11

It can be quite jarring for a parent or caregiver to look in the rearview mirror while driving and see their child roaming around the backseat free of their safety restraints. A study on child self-unbuckling by Yale School of Medicine researchers reveals that most children who first unbuckle were age three and under and that many children unbuckle while the vehicle is in motion—putting them at a 3.5-fold increased risk for serious injuries.

“We found that young children might acquire the motor skills to unbuckle from restraints before developing the cognitive ability to understand the necessity of automotive restraints,” said Lilia Reyes, M.D., clinical fellow in Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, Section of Emergency Medicine, who will present the results of the study at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Denver, Colo. on May 1.

“This pilot study elucidates a potential safety hazard in child motor vehicle restraint that needs to be addressed,” said Reyes, who points to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among 4- to 8-year-olds.

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