Treatment and prophylaxis of sepsis in very low birth weight neonates is a matter of concern and research is being undertaken with the aim to give rise to shared approaches based on solid evidence. As part of a European initiative, a survey was set up to describe the use of two drugs in this area. The Italian national practices concerning neonatal sepsis, as well as calls for related guidance, are described.
A standardized and previously tested questionnaire was submitted online to all Italian level III NICUs. A 5-point Likert scale was used to analyze attitudinal replies. Categorical variables were compared by χ2 analysis and 2-tailed P-values are reported.
Data was provided by 38 Italian NICUs (36% of the country’s level III centers), 53% of which have 1–10 cases of bacterial sepsis monthly and 90% a prevalence of <1% fungal infections. Ciprofloxacin and fluconazole treatment for neonatal sepsis are scantly used in Italian NICUs (13% and 45%, respectively). Major concerns are related to the safety of ciprofloxacin and the efficacy of fluconazole. On the contrary, prophylaxis of fungal infections is a routine approach in many Italian NICUs. The use of both ciprofloxacin and fluconazole is characterized by a large inter-NICU variability in dose and scheme of use. The lack of adequate, shared evidence is a common consideration made by the survey participants.
Common approaches are needed to standardize and update a national drug strategy for the prevention and treatment of sepsis in very low birth weight newborns. This can be achieved through collaborative initiatives aimed at setting up guidelines, based on available data, and multicenter trials to produce new evidence that will address the knowledge gaps.
Health care surveys; Intensive care units; Neonatal; Italy; Ciprofloxacin; Fluconazole; Practice guidelines as topic
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHL) are common in African children, with endemic Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) being the most common subtype. While the role of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in endemic BL is known, no data are available about clinical presentations of NHL subtypes and their relationship to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) load in peripheral blood of children in north-western, Tanzania.
A matched case control study of NHL subtypes was performed in children under 15 years of age and their respective controls admitted to Bugando Medical Centre, Sengerema and Shirati district designated hospitals in north-western, Tanzania, between September 2010 and April 2011. Peripheral blood samples were collected on Whatman 903 filter papers and EBV DNA levels were estimated by multiplex real-time PCR. Clinical and laboratory data were collected using a structured data collection tool and analysed using chi-square, Fisher and Wilcoxon rank sum tests where appropriate. The association between NHL and detection of EBV in peripheral blood was assessed using conditional logistic regression model and presented as odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
A total of 35 NHL cases and 70 controls matched for age and sex were enrolled. Of NHLs, 32 had BL with equal distribution between jaw and abdominal tumour, 2 had large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and 1 had NHL-not otherwise specified (NHL-NOS). Central nervous system (CNS) presentation occurred only in 1 BL patient; 19 NHLs had stage I and II of disease. Only 1 NHL was found to be HIV-seropositive. Twenty-one of 35 (60%) NHL and 21 of 70 (30%) controls had detectable EBV in peripheral blood (OR = 4.77, 95% CI 1.71 – 13.33, p = 0.003). In addition, levels of EBV in blood were significantly higher in NHL cases than in controls (p = 0.024).
BL is the most common childhood NHL subtype in north-western Tanzania. NHLs are not associated with HIV infection, but are strongly associated with EBV load in peripheral blood. The findings suggest that high levels of EBV in blood might have diagnostic and prognostic relevance in African children.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; Children; HIV; EBV
Long-term complications of sympathomimetic drug overdosing have not been adequately investigated in infants and young children. Despite reports discouraging their use in children, these formulations are frequently administered for “cold-like symptoms”. Their frequent adverse events are different forms of arrhythmias, including multifocal atrial tachycardia.
A 3-year-old toddler developed multifocal atrial tachycardia following an iatrogenic overdose of epinephrine accidentally administered intravenously. His ECG showed wandering atrial pacemaker (p-waves with different origins and configurations) that persisted for at least one year. This event demonstrated the sensitivity of young children to the sympathomimetic drugs, especially overdosing.
Health care providers and parents should be warned of toxicities associated with sympathomimetic drug overdosing. Future studies are needed to determine whether wandering atrial pacemaker is a potential long-term complication of high-dose sympathomimetics.
Epinephrine; Iatrogenic; Supraventricular tachycardia; Sympathomimetic toxicity; Wandering pacemaker; Arrhythmia
Hypertensive crisis in children is a relatively rare condition presenting with elevated blood pressure (BP) and related symptoms, and it is potentially life-threatening. The aim of this study was to survey children with first attacks of hypertensive crisis arriving at the emergency department (ED), and to determine the related parameters that predicted the severity of hypertensive crisis in children by age group.
This was a retrospective study conducted from 2000 to 2007 in pediatric patients aged 18 years and younger with a diagnosis of hypertensive crisis at the ED. All patients were divided into four age groups (infants, preschool age, elementary school age, and adolescents), and two severity groups (hypertensive urgency and hypertensive emergency). BP levels, etiology, severity, and clinical manifestations were analyzed by age group and compared between the hypertensive emergency and hypertensive urgency groups.
The mean systolic/diastolic BP in the hypertensive crisis patients was 161/102 mmHg. The major causes of hypertensive crisis were essential hypertension, renal disorders and endocrine/metabolic disorders. Half of all patients had a single underlying cause, and 8 had a combination of underlying causes. Headache was the most common symptom (54.5%), followed by dizziness (45.5%), nausea/vomiting (36.4%) and chest pain (29.1%). A family history of hypertension was a significant predictive factor for the older patients with hypertensive crisis. Clinical manifestations and severity showed a positive correlation with age. In contrast to diastolic BP, systolic BP showed a significant trend in the older children.
Primary clinicians should pay attention to the pediatric patients who present with elevated blood pressure and related clinical hypertensive symptoms, especially headache, nausea/vomiting, and altered consciousness which may indicate that appropriate and immediate antihypertensive medications are necessary to prevent further damage.
Hypertensive crisis; Children; Hypertensive urgency; Hypertensive emergency
Estimated 17,000 neonates (≤ 28 days of age) die in Vietnam annually, corresponding to more than half of the child mortality burden. However, current knowledge about these neonates is limited. Prematurity, asphyxia and congenital malformations are major causes of death in neonates worldwide. To improve survival and long term development, these vulnerable neonates need access to the specialized neonatal care existing, although limited, in lower middle-income countries like Vietnam. The aim of this study was to describe these conditions in a specialized Vietnamese hospital, compared to a Danish hospital.
We performed a comparative observational study of all neonates admitted to a tertiary pediatric hospital in South Vietnam in 2009–2010. The data were prospectively extracted from the central hospital registry and included basic patient characteristics and diagnoses (International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision). Prematurity, asphyxia and designated congenital malformations (oesophageal atresia, gastroschisis, omphalocoele, diaphragmatic hernia and heart disease) were investigated. In a subgroup, the prematurity diagnosis was validated using a questionnaire. The hospitalization ratio of each diagnosis was compared to those obtained from a Danish tertiary hospital. The Danish data were retrieved from the neonatal department database for a ten-year period.
The study included 5763 neonates (missing<1%). The catchment population was 726,578 live births. The diagnosis was prematurity in 7%, asphyxia in 2% and one of the designated congenital malformations in 6%. The diagnosis of prematurity was correctly assigned to 85% of the neonates, who were very premature or had very low birth weight according to the questionnaire, completed by 2196 neonates. Compared to the Danish Hospital, the hospitalization ratios of neonates diagnosed with prematurity (p<0.01), asphyxia (p<0.01) and designated congenital malformations (p<0.01- 0.04) were significantly lower.
Our findings suggest the investigated diagnoses were underrepresented in the Vietnamese study hospital. In contrast, relatively mild diagnoses were frequent. These results indicate the use of specialized care may not be optimal. Pre-hospital selection mechanisms were not investigated and additional studies are needed to optimise utilisation of specialized care and improve neonatal survival.
Developing country; Health care access; Hospitalization; Lower middle income country, morbidity; Mortality; Neonate; Newborn; Vietnam
While survival rates of extremely preterm infants have improved over the last decades, the incidence of neurodevelopmental disability (ND) in survivors remains high. Representative current data on the severity of disability and of risk factors associated with poor outcome in this growing population are necessary for clinical guidance and parent counselling.
Prospective longitudinal multicentre cohort study of preterm infants born in Switzerland between 240/7 and 276/7 weeks gestational age during 2000–2008. Mortality, adverse outcome (death or severe ND) at two years, and predictors for poor outcome were analysed using multilevel multivariate logistic regression. Neurodevelopment was assessed using Bayley Scales of Infant Development II. Cerebral palsy was graded after the Gross Motor Function Classification System.
Of 1266 live born infants, 422 (33%) died. Follow-up information was available for 684 (81%) survivors: 440 (64%) showed favourable outcome, 166 (24%) moderate ND, and 78 (11%) severe ND. At birth, lower gestational age, intrauterine growth restriction and absence of antenatal corticosteroids were associated with mortality and adverse outcome (p < 0.001). At 360/7 weeks postmenstrual age, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, major brain injury and retinopathy of prematurity were the main predictors for adverse outcome (p < 0.05). Survival without moderate or severe ND increased from 27% to 39% during the observation period (p = 0.02).
In this recent Swiss national cohort study of extremely preterm infants, neonatal mortality was determined by gestational age, birth weight, and antenatal corticosteroids while neurodevelopmental outcome was determined by the major neonatal morbidities. We observed an increase of survival without moderate or severe disability.
Development; Disability; Mortality; Outcome; Preterm
Quality hospital care is important in ensuring that the needs of severely ill children are met to avert child mortality. However, the quality of hospital care for children in developing countries has often been found poor. As the first step of a country road map for improving hospital care for children, we assessed the baseline situation with respect to the quality of care provided to children under-five years age in district and sub-district level hospitals in Bangladesh.
Using adapted World Health Organization (WHO) hospital assessment tools and standards, an assessment of 18 randomly selected district (n=6) and sub-district (n=12) hospitals was undertaken. Teams of trained assessors used direct case observation, record review, interviews, and Management Information System (MIS) data to assess the quality of clinical case management and monitoring; infrastructure, processes and hospital administration; essential hospital and laboratory supports, drugs and equipment.
Findings demonstrate that the overall quality of care provided in these hospitals was poor. No hospital had a functioning triage system to prioritise those children most in need of immediate care. Laboratory supports and essential equipment were deficient. Only one hospital had all of the essential drugs for paediatric care. Less than a third of hospitals had a back-up power supply, and just under half had functioning arrangements for safe-drinking water. Clinical case management was found to be sub-optimal for prevalent illnesses, as was the quality of neonatal care.
Action is needed to improve the quality of paediatric care in hospital settings in Bangladesh, with a particular need to invest in improving newborn care.
Quality of care; Hospitals; Child health; Bangladesh
Antibiotic surveillance is mandatory to optimise antibiotic therapy. Our objectives were to evaluate antibiotic use in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and to implement a simple achievable intervention aimed at improving antibiotic therapy.
Prospective, 3 months surveillance of antibiotic use on PICU (phase I) and evaluation according to the CDC 12-step campaign with development of an attainable intervention. 3 months surveillance (phase II) after implementation of intervention with comparison of antibiotic use.
Appropriate antibiotic use for culture-negative infection-like symptoms and targeted therapy for proven infections were the main areas for potential improvement. The intervention was a mandatory checklist requiring indication and recording likelihood of infection at start of antibiotic therapy and a review of the continuing need for therapy at 48 h and 5 days, reasons for continuation and possible target pathogen. The percentage of appropriate empiric antibiotic therapy courses for culture-negative infection-like symptoms increased from 18% (10/53) to 74% (42/57; p<0.0001), duration of therapy <3 days increased from 18% (10/53) to 35% (20/57; p=0.05) and correct targeting of pathogen increased from 58% (7/12) to 83% (20/24; p=0.21).
Antibiotic surveillance using the CDC 12-step campaign can help to evaluate institutional antibiotic therapy. Development of an attainable intervention using a checklist can show improved antibiotic use with minimal expense.
Antibiotic surveillance; Paediatric intensive care unit; CDC 12-Step Campaign; Checklist; antimicrobial stewardship program
Burn injuries have a major impact on the patient’s physical and psychological functioning. The consequences can, especially in pediatric burns, persist long after the injury. A decrease in physical fitness seems logical as people survive burn injuries after an often extensive period of decreased activity and an increased demand of proteins leading to catabolism, especially of muscle mass. However, knowledge on the possibly affected levels of physical fitness in children and adolescents after burn injury is limited and pertains only to children with major burns. The current multidimensional study aims to determine the level of physical fitness, the level of physical activity, health-related quality of life and perceived fatigue in children after a burn injury. Furthermore, interrelations between those levels will be explored, as well as associations with burn characteristics.
Children and adolescents in the age range of 6 up to and including 18 years are invited to participate in this cross-sectional descriptive study if they have been admitted to one of the three Dutch burn centers between 6 months and 5 years ago with a burn injury involving at least 10% of the total body surface area and/or were hospitalized ≥ 6 weeks. Physical fitness assessments will take place in a mobile exercise lab. Quantitative measures of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, body composition and flexibility will be obtained. Outcomes will be compared with Dutch reference values. Physical activity, health-related quality of life and fatigue will be assessed using accelerometry and age-specific questionnaires.
The findings of the current study will contribute to a better understanding of the long-term consequences of burn injury in children and adolescents after burns. The results can guide rehabilitation to facilitate a timely and optimal physical recovery.
The study is registered in the National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System of the Netherlands (OND1348800).
Burns; Outcome assessment; Child; Fatigue; Quality of Life
Celiac disease is defined as a ‘chronic small intestinal immune-mediated enteropathy precipitated by exposure to dietary gluten in genetically predisposed individuals’. Sweden has experienced an “epidemic” of celiac disease in children below two years of age. Celiac disease etiology is considered multifactorial; however, little is known regarding potential risk- or protecting factors. We present data on the possible association between early infectious episodes and celiac disease, including their possible contribution to the Swedish celiac disease epidemic.
A population-based incident case-referent study (475 cases, 950 referents) with exposure information obtained via a questionnaire (including family characteristics, infant feeding, and the child’s general health) was performed. Celiac disease cases were diagnosed before two years of age, fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Referents were randomly selected from the national population register after fulfilling matching criteria. The final analyses included 954 children, 373 (79%) cases and 581 (61%) referents, with complete information on main variables of interest in a matched set of one case with one or two referents.
Having three or more parental-reported infectious episodes, regardless of type of infection, during the first six months of life was associated with a significantly increased risk for later celiac disease, and this remained after adjusting for infant feeding and socioeconomic status (odds ratio [OR] 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.0; P=0.014). The celiac disease risk increased synergistically if, in addition to having several infectious episodes, infants were introduced to dietary gluten in large amounts, compared to small or medium amounts, after breastfeeding was discontinued (OR 5.6; 95% CI, 3.1-10; P<0.001).
This study suggests that having repeated infectious episodes early in life increases the risk for later celiac disease. In addition, we found a synergistic effect between early infections and daily amount of gluten intake, more pronounced among infants for whom breastfeeding had been discontinued prior to gluten introduction. Regarding contribution to the Swedish celiac disease epidemic, which partly was attributed to concurrent changes in infant feeding, early infections probably made a minor contribution via the synergistic effect with gluten amount.
Celiac disease; Epidemiology; Gluten amount; Infections; Infants and children
This study measured lymphocyte mitochondrial O2 consumption (cellular respiration) in children with trisomy 21.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from whole blood of trisomy 21 and control children and these cells were immediately used to measure cellular respiration rate. [O2] was determined as a function of time from the phosphorescence decay rates (1/τ) of Pd (II)-meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-tetrabenzoporphyrin. In sealed vials containing lymphocytes and glucose as a respiratory substrate, [O2] declined linearly with time, confirming the zero-order kinetics of O2 conversion to H2O by cytochrome oxidase. The rate of respiration (k, in μM O2 min-1), thus, was the negative of the slope of [O2] vs. time. Cyanide inhibited O2 consumption, confirming that oxidation occurred in the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
For control children (age = 8.8 ± 5.6 years, n = 26), the mean (± SD) value of kc (in μM O2 per min per 107 cells) was 1.36 ± 0.79 (coefficient of variation, Cv = 58%; median = 1.17; range = 0.60 to 3.12; -2SD = 0.61). For children with trisomy 21 (age = 7.2 ± 4.6 years, n = 26), the values of kc were 0.82 ± 0.62 (Cv = 76%; median = 0.60; range = 0.20 to 2.80), p<0.001. Similar results (p<0.000) were obtained after excluding the five trisomy 21 children with elevated serum TSH (values >6.1 mU/L). Fourteen of 26 (54%) children with trisomy 21 had kc values of 0.20 to 0.60 (i.e., <−2SD). The values of kc positively correlated with body-mass index (BMI, R >0.302), serum creatinine (R >0.507), blood urea nitrogen (BUN, R >0.535) and albumin (R >0.446).
Children with trisomy 21 in this study have reduced lymphocyte bioenergetics. The clinical importance of this finding requires further studies.
Oxygen; Respiration; Mitochondria; Trisomy 21; Hypothyroidism
Licensed for use in males in 2009, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates in adolescent males are extremely low. Literature on HPV vaccination focuses on females, adult males, or parents of adolescent males, without including adolescent males or the dynamics of the parent-son interaction that may influence vaccine decision-making. The purpose of this paper is to examine the decision-making process of parent-son dyads when deciding whether or not to get vaccinated against HPV.
Twenty-one adolescent males (ages 13–17), with no previous HPV vaccination, and their parents/guardians were recruited from adolescent primary care clinics serving low to middle income families in a large Midwestern city. Dyad members participated in separate semi-structured interviews assessing the relative role of the parent and son in the decision regarding HPV vaccination. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using inductive content analysis.
Parents and sons focused on protection as a reason for vaccination; parents felt a need to protect their child, while sons wanted to protect their own health. Parents and sons commonly misinterpreted the information about the vaccine. Sons were concerned about an injection in the penis, while some parents and sons thought the vaccine would protect them against other sexually transmitted infections including Herpes, Gonorrhea, and HIV. Parents and sons recalled that the vaccine prevented genital warts rather than cancer. The vaccine decision-making process was rapid and dynamic, including an initial reaction to the recommendation for HPV vaccine, discussion between parent and son, and the final vaccine decision. Provider input was weighed in instances of initial disagreement. Many boys felt that this was the first health care decision that they had been involved in. Dyads which reported shared decision-making were more likely to openly communicate about sexual issues than those that agreed the son made the decision.
Parents and sons play an active role in the decision-making process, with an individual’s role being influenced by many factors. The results of this study may be used to guide the messages presented by clinicians when recommending the HPV vaccine, and future vaccine uptake interventions.
Human papillomavirus vaccin; Adolescent males; Parents; Decision-making; Dyadic decision-making
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries. One of the main difficulties is obtaining adequate specimens for bacteriological confirmation of the disease in children.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the adequacy of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) for the diagnosis of TB.
In a prospective study conducted at the paediatric hospital in Bangui in 2007–2009, we used fine-needle aspiration to obtain samples for diagnosis of TB from 131 children aged 0–17 years with persistent lymphadenitis.
Fine-needle aspiration provided samples that could be used for bacteriological confirmation of TB. Ziehl-Neelsen staining for acid-fast bacilli was positive in 42.7% of samples, and culture identified TB in 67.2% of cases. Of 75 samples that were stain-negative, 49 (65.3%) were culture-positive, while 12 stain-positive samples remained culture-negative. Ten of the 12 stain-positive, culture-negative samples were from patients who had received previous antimicrobial therapy. With regard to phenotypic drug susceptibility, 81/88 strains (91.1%) were fully susceptible to isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol and streptomycin, six (6.8%) were resistant to one drug, and one multidrug-resistant strain was found.
Fine-needle aspiration is simple, cost-effective and non-invasive and can be performed by trained staff. Combined with rapid molecular diagnostic tests, fine-needle aspirates could improve the diagnosis of TB and provide valuable information for appropriate treatment and drug resistance.
Tuberculosis; Lymphadenitis; Fine needle aspiration; Diagnosis
The northern territory Nunavut has Canada’s largest jurisdictional land mass with 33,322 inhabitants, of which 85% self-identify as Inuit. Nunavut has rates of infant mortality, postneonatal mortality and hospitalisation of infants for respiratory infections that greatly exceed those for the rest of Canada. The infant mortality rate in Nunavut is 3 times the national average, and twice that of the neighbouring territory, the Northwest Territories. Nunavut has the largest Inuit population in Canada, a population which has been identified as having high rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and infant deaths due to infections.
To determine the causes and potential risk factors of infant mortality in Nunavut, we reviewed all infant deaths (<1yr) documented by the Nunavut Chief Coroner’s Office and the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics (n=117; 1999–2011). Rates were compared to published data for Canada.
Sudden death in infancy (SIDS/SUDI; 48%) and infection (21%) were the leading causes of infant death, with rates significantly higher than for Canada (2003–2007). Of SIDS/SUDI cases with information on sleep position (n=42) and bed-sharing (n=47), 29 (69%) were sleeping non-supine and 33 (70%) were bed-sharing. Of those
bed-sharing, 23 (70%) had two or more additional risk factors present, usually non-supine sleep position. CPT1A P479L homozygosity, which has been previously associated with infant mortality in Alaska Native and British Columbia First Nations populations, was associated with unexpected infant death (SIDS/SUDI, infection) throughout Nunavut (OR:3.43, 95% CI:1.30-11.47).
Unexpected infant deaths comprise the majority of infant deaths in Nunavut. Although the CPT1A P479L variant was associated with unexpected infant death in Nunavut as a whole, the association was less apparent when population stratification was considered. Strategies to promote safe sleep practices and further understand other potential risk factors for infant mortality (P479L variant, respiratory illness) are underway with local partners.
Inuit; Nunavut; Aboriginal; Infant mortality; Sudden infant death syndrome; Sudden unexpected death in infancy; Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 deficiency; CPT1A P479L variant
The current study aimed to examine the changes following a sleep hygiene intervention on sleep hygiene practices, sleep quality, and daytime symptoms in youth.
Participants aged 10–18 years with self-identified sleep problems completed our age-appropriate F.E.R.R.E.T (an acronym for the categories of Food, Emotions, Routine, Restrict, Environment and Timing) sleep hygiene programme; each category has three simple rules to encourage good sleep. Participants (and parents as appropriate) completed the Adolescent Sleep Hygiene Scale (ASHS), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC), Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS), and wore Actical® monitors twice before (1 and 2 weeks) and three times after (6, 12 and 20 weeks) the intervention. Anthropometric data were collected two weeks before and 20 weeks post-intervention.
Thirty-three youths (mean age 12.9 years; M/F = 0.8) enrolled, and retention was 100%. ASHS scores significantly improved (p = 0.005) from a baseline mean (SD) of 4.70 (0.41) to 4.95 (0.31) post-intervention, as did PSQI scores [7.47 (2.43) to 4.47 (2.37); p < 0.001] and SDSC scores [53.4 (9.0) to 39.2 (9.2); p < 0.001]. PDSS scores improved from a baseline of 16.5 (6.0) to 11.3 (6.0) post- intervention (p < 0.001). BMI z-scores with a baseline of 0.79 (1.18) decreased significantly (p = 0.001) post-intervention to 0.66 (1.19). Despite these improvements, sleep duration as estimated by Actical accelerometry did not change. There was however a significant decrease in daytime sedentary/light energy expenditure.
Our findings suggest the F.E.R.R.E.T sleep hygiene education programme might be effective in improving sleep in children and adolescents. However because this was a before and after study and a pilot study with several limitations, the findings need to be addressed with caution, and would need to be replicated within a randomised controlled trial to prove efficacy.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12612000649819
Sleep; Sleep hygiene; Sleep quality; Obesity; Accelerometry
The use of biomarkers has expanded considerably, as an alternative to questionnaire-based metrics of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS); few studies have assessed the affect of such alternative metrics on diverse respiratory outcomes in children, and we aimed to do so.
We evaluated various measures of birth-year ETS, in association with multiple respiratory endpoints early years of life, in the novel context of a birth cohort at high risk for asthma. We administered questionnaires to parents, both at the end of pregnancy and at one year of life, and measured cotinine in cord blood (CCot; in 275 children) and in urine (UCot; obtained at 12 months in 365 children), each by radioimmunoassay. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the association of the various metrics with recurrent wheeze at age 2 and with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) and asthma at age 7.
Self-reported 3rd trimester maternal smoking was associated with significantly increased risk for recurrent wheeze at age 2 (odds ratio 3.5 [95% confidence interval = 1.2,10.7]); the risks associated with CCot and 3rd trimester smoking in any family member were similar (OR 2.9 [1.2,7.0] and 2.6 [1.0,6.5], respectively). No metric of maternal smoking at 12 months appeared to significantly influence the risk of recurrent wheeze at age 2, and no metric of ETS at any time appeared to significantly influence risk of asthma or BHR at age 7.
Biomarker- and questionnaire-based assessment of ETS in early life lead to similar estimates of ETS-associated risk of recurrent wheeze and asthma.
Children; Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; Bronchial hyperresponsiveness; Wheeze; Asthma
Even minor abnormalities of early child development may have dramatic long term consequences. Accurate prevalence rates for a range of developmental impairments have been difficult to establish. Since related studies have used different methodological approaches, direct comparisons of the prevalence of developmental delays are difficult. The understanding of the key factors affecting child development, especially in preschool aged children remains limited. We used data from school entry examinations in Bavaria to measure the prevalence of developmental impairments in pre-school children beginning primary school in 1997–2009.
The developmental impairments of all school beginners in the district of Dingolfing- Landau, Bavaria were assessed using modified “Bavarian School Entry Model” examination from 1997 to 2009 (N=13,182). The children were assessed for motor, cognitive, language and psychosocial impairments using a standardised medical protocol. Prevalence rates of impairments in twelve domains of development were estimated. Using uni- and multivariable logistic regression models, association between selected factors and development delays were assessed.
The highest prevalence existed for impairments of pronunciation (13.8%) followed by fine motor impairments (12.2%), and impairments of memory and concentration (11.3%) and the lowest for impairments of rhythm of speech (3.1%). Younger children displayed more developmental delays. Male gender was strongly associated with all developmental impairments (highest risk for fine motor impairments = OR 3.22, 95% confidence interval 2.86-3.63). Preschool children with siblings (vs. children without any siblings) were at higher risk of having impairments in pronunciation (OR 1.31, 1.14-1.50). The influence of the non-German nationality was strong, with a maximum risk increase for the subareas of grammar and psychosocial development. Although children with non-German nationality had a reduced risk of disorders for the rhythm of speech and pronunciation, in all other 10 subareas their risk was increased.
In preschool children, most common were delays of pronunciation, memory and concentration. Age effects suggest that delays can spontaneously resolve, but providing support at school entry might be helpful. Boys and migrant children appear at high risk of developmental problems, which may warrant tailored intervention strategies.
The burden of disability is more severe among children in low income countries. Moreover, the number of children with disabilities (CWDs) in sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to increase with reduction in child mortality. Although the issue on CWDs is important in sub-Saharan Africa, there are few researches on risk factors of disabilities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the risk factors of neurological impairment (NI) among children in western Kenya.
The present study was conducted in Mbita district (which has high HIV infectious prevalence), Kenya from April 2009 to December 2010. The study consisted of two phases. In phase 1, the Ten Question Questionnaire (TQQ) was administered to all 6362 caregivers of children aged 6–9 years. In phase two, all 413 children with TQQ positive and a similar number of controls (n=420) which were randomly selected from children with TQQ negative were examined for physical and cognitive status. In addition, a structured questionnaire was also conducted to their caregivers.
The prevalence was estimated to be 29/1000. Among the types of impairments, cognitive impairment was the most common (24/1000), followed by physical impairment (5/1000). In multivariate analysis, having more than five children [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.85; 95%IC: 1.25 – 6.49; p=0.013], maternal age older than 35 years old [AOR: 2.31; 95%IC: 1.05 – 5.07; p=0.036] were significant factors associated with NI. In addition, monthly income under 3000 ksh [AOR: 2.79; 95%IC: 1.28 – 6.08; p=0.010] and no maternal tetanus shot during antenatal care [AOR: 5.17; 95%IC: 1.56 – 17.14; p=0.007] were also significantly related with having moderate/severe neurological impairment.
It was indicated that increasing coverage of antenatal care including maternal tetanus shot and education of how to take care of neonatal children to prevent neurological impairment are important.
Disability; Neuroepidemiology; Pediatric; Kenya; Risk factor
The incidence of acute otitis media (AOM) vary from country to country. Geographical variations together with differences in study designs, reporting and settings play a role. We assessed the incidence of AOM in Italian children seen by primary care paediatricians (PCPs), and described the methods used to diagnose the disease.
This secondary data analysis from the Pedianet database considered children aged 0 – 6 years between 01/2003 and 12/2007. The AOM episodes were identified and validated by means of patient diaries. Incidence rates/100 person-years (PY) were calculated for total AOM and for single or recurrent AOM.
The 92,373 children (52.1% males) were followed up for a total of 227,361 PY: 23,039 (24.9%) presented 38,241 episodes of AOM (94.6% single episodes and 5.4% recurrent episodes). The total incidence rate of AOM in the 5-year period was 16.8 episodes per 100 PY (95% CI: 16.7-16.9), including single AOM (15.9 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI: 15.7-16.1) and recurrent AOM (0.9 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI: 0.9-0.9). There was a slight and continuously negative trend decrease over time (annual percent change −4.6%; 95%CI: -5.3, -3.9%). The AOM incidence rate varied with age, peaking in children aged 3 to 4 years (22.2 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI 21.8-22.7). The vast majority of the AOM episodes (36,842/38,241, 96.3%) were diagnosed using a static otoscope; a pneumatic otoscope was used in only 3.7%.
Our data fill a gap in our knowledge of the incidence of AOM in Italy, and indicate that AOM represents a considerable burden for the Italian PCP system. Educational programmes concerning the diagnosis of AOM are needed, as are further studies to monitor the incidence in relation to the introduction of wider pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.
Acute otitis media; Incidence; Primary care pediatrics
Oral clefts are one of the most common birth defects with significant medical, psychosocial, and economic ramifications. Oral clefts have a complex etiology with genetic and environmental risk factors. There are suggestive results for decreased risks of cleft occurrence and recurrence with folic acid supplements taken at preconception and during pregnancy with a stronger evidence for higher than lower doses in preventing recurrence. Yet previous studies have suffered from considerable design limitations particularly non-randomization into treatment. There is also well-documented effectiveness for folic acid in preventing neural tube defect occurrence at 0.4 mg and recurrence with 4 mg. Given the substantial burden of clefting on the individual and the family and the supportive data for the effectiveness of folic acid supplementation as well as its low cost, a randomized clinical trial of the effectiveness of high versus low dose folic acid for prevention of cleft recurrence is warranted.
This study will assess the effect of 4 mg and 0.4 mg doses of folic acid, taken on a daily basis during preconception and up to 3 months of pregnancy by women who are at risk of having a child with nonsyndromic cleft lip with/without palate (NSCL/P), on the recurrence of NSCL/P. The total sample will include about 6,000 women (that either have NSCL/P or that have at least one child with NSCL/P) randomly assigned to the 4 mg and the 0.4 mg folic acid study groups. The study will also compare the recurrence rates of NSCL/P in the total sample of subjects, as well as the two study groups (4mg, 0.4 mg) to that of a historical control group.
The study has been approved by IRBs (ethics committees) of all involved sites. Results will be disseminated through publications and presentations at scientific meetings.
The costs related to oral clefts are high, including long term psychological and socio-economic effects. This study provides an opportunity for huge savings in not only money but the overall quality of life. This may help establish more specific clinical guidelines for oral cleft prevention so that the intervention can be better tailored for at-risk women.
Oral clefts; Cleft lip; Cleft palate; Craniofacial anomalies; Congenital anomalies; Birth defects; Folic acid; Vitamins; Prevention
Despite changes in WHO guidelines, stavudine is still used extensively for treatment of pediatric HIV in the developing world. Lipoatrophy in sub-Saharan African children can be stigmatizing and have far-reaching consequences. The severity and extent of lipoatrophy in pre-pubertal children living in sub-Saharan Africa is unknown.
In this cross-sectional study, children who were 3-12 years old, on antiretroviral therapy and pre-pubertal were recruited from a Family HIV Clinic in South Africa. Lipoatrophy was identified and graded by consensus between two HIV pediatricians using a standardized grading scale. A professional dietician performed formal dietary assessment and anthropometric measurements of trunk and limb fat. Previous antiretroviral exposures were recorded. In a Dual-Energy X-ray Absorbtiometry (DXA) substudy body composition was determined in 42 participants.
Among 100 recruits, the prevalence of visually obvious lipoatrophy was 36% (95% CI: 27%–45%). Anthropometry and DXA measurements corroborated the clinical diagnosis of lipoatrophy: Both confirmed significant, substantial extremity fat loss in children with visually obvious lipoatrophy, when adjusted for age and sex. Adjusted odds ratio for developing lipoatrophy was 1.9 (95% CI: 1.3 - 2.9) for each additional year of accumulated exposure to standard dose stavudine. Cumulative time on standard dose stavudine was significantly associated with reductions in biceps and triceps skin-fold thickness (p=0.008).
The prevalence of visually obvious lipoatrophy in pre-pubertal South African children on antiretroviral therapy is high. The amount of stavudine that children are exposed to needs review. Resources are needed to enable low-and-middle-income countries to provide suitable pediatric-formulated alternatives to stavudine-based pediatric regimens. The standard stavudine dose for children may need to be reduced. Diagnosis of lipoatrophy at an early stage is important to allow timeous antiretroviral switching to arrest progression and avoid stigmatization. Diagnosis using visual grading requires training and experience, and DXA and comprehensive anthropometry are not commonly available. A simple objective screening tool is needed to identify early lipoatrophy in resource-limited settings where specialized skills and equipment are not available.
While child mortality is declining in Africa there has been no evidence of a comparable reduction in neonatal mortality. The quality of inpatient neonatal care is likely a contributing factor but data from resource limited settings are few. The objective of this study was to assess the quality of neonatal care in the district hospitals of the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.
Clinical records were reviewed for ill or premature neonates admitted to 13 inpatient health facilities in the Kilimanjaro region; staffing and equipment levels were also assessed.
Among the 82 neonates reviewed, key health information was missing from a substantial proportion of records: on maternal antenatal cards, blood group was recorded for 52 (63.4%) mothers, Rhesus (Rh) factor for 39 (47.6%), VDRL for 59 (71.9%) and HIV status for 77 (93.1%). From neonatal clinical records, heart rate was recorded for3 (3.7%) neonates, respiratory rate in 14, (17.1%) and temperature in 33 (40.2%). None of 13 facilities had a functioning premature unit despite calculated gestational age <36 weeks in 45.6% of evaluated neonates. Intravenous fluids and oxygen were available in 9 out of 13 of facilities, while antibiotics and essential basic equipment were available in more than two thirds. Medication dosing errors were common; under-dosage for ampicillin, gentamicin and cloxacillin was found in 44.0%, 37.9% and 50% of cases, respectively, while over-dosage was found in 20.0%, 24.2% and 19.9%, respectively. Physician or assistant physician staffing levels by the WHO indicator levels (WISN) were generally low.
Key aspects of neonatal care were found to be poorly documented or incorrectly implemented in this appraisal of neonatal care in Kilimanjaro. Efforts towards quality assurance and enhanced motivation of staff may improve outcomes for this vulnerable group.
Eustachian tube (ET) dysfunction plays an important role in the pathogenesis of acute otitis media (AOM). Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge about the exact role of the ET’s bony support, the temporal bone, on occurrence of AOM. This study investigates whether severe suture restriction of the temporal bone is a risk factor for development of AOM in young children.
Using a prospective cohort design, 64 children aged 6 to 18 months without prior history of AOM were followed during the cold season (September 2009 to April 2010). Temporal bone status (categorized as with or without severe suture restriction) was evaluated using palpation and a cranial bone mobility test. Information about potential baseline confounders and risk factors for AOM (gender, age, birth weight, gestational age, use of pacifier, daycare attendance, presence of siblings, low socioeconomic status, breastfeeding ≥ 6 months, parental smoking and history of upper respiratory tract infection) were also collected. Occurrence of AOM diagnosed by physicians blinded to temporal bone status was the main outcome. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear and nonlinear (multilevel) models.
Severe suture restriction of the temporal bone was identified in 23 children (35.9%). At least one AOM episode was diagnosed in 14 (48.3%) of the ears associated with temporal bones previously identified as having severe suture restriction and in 28 (28.3%) of those without severe suture restriction. Higher risk for AOM was explained by severe suture restriction of the temporal bone (adjusted relative risk (RR), 2.26, 95% CI 1.43 to 2.91, p<.01), pacifier use (RR, 2.59, 95% CI 1.51 to 3.22, p<.01) and younger age (RR, 0.22, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.52, p=.001).
The study results indicate that severe suture restriction of the temporal bone is a risk factor for AOM in young children. Subsequent intervention studies are needed to determine if this mechanical risk factor can be modified in young children.
Acute otitis media; Temporal bone; Children; Eustachian tube; Risk factor; Cohort; Cranial suture; Osteopathy
Establishing healthy physical activity (PA) behaviours in early childhood is important for future PA behaviours. Parents play a central role in young children’s PA. However, there is currently little research on parenting interventions to increase child PA. This study was formative work to inform the content of a pilot randomised-controlled trial.
In-depth telephone interviews were carried out with 32 parents of 6 to 8 year old children residing in two areas that varied in their socio-economic characteristics, in Bristol, UK. Data were analysed thematically using a framework approach.
Most parents described their child as being active or very active and indicated that they did not perceive a need for an increase in their child’s PA. Parents used a variety of visual cues to make this judgement, the most common being that they perceived their child as having lots of energy or that they did not view them as overweight. Parents reported environmental factors such as monetary cost, time constraints, lack of activity provision and poor weather as the main barriers to their child’s PA. Parental support and child’s enjoyment of PA appeared to be important facilitators to children participating in PA.
Improving parents’ knowledge of the PA recommendations for children, and increasing their awareness of the benefits of PA beyond weight status may be an important first step for a parenting PA intervention. Although parents commonly perceive environmental factors as the main barriers to their child’s PA, parental concern about low levels of child PA, their capacity to support behaviour change, child motivation, self confidence and independence may be key areas to address within an intervention to increase child PA. Effective methods of helping parents address the latter have been developed in the context of generic parenting programmes.
Physical activity; Parenting; Intervention
Studies on the association of birth by caesarean section (C/S) and allergies have produced conflicting findings. Furthermore, evidence on whether this association may differ in those at risk of atopy is limited. This study aims to investigate the association of mode of delivery with asthma and atopic sensitization and the extent to which any effect is modified by family history of allergies.
Asthma outcomes were assessed cross-sectionally in 2216 children at age 8 on the basis of parents’ responses to the ISAAC questionnaire whilst skin prick tests to eleven aeroallergens were also performed in a subgroup of 746 children. Adjusted odds ratios of asthma and atopy by mode of delivery were estimated in multivariable logistic models while evidence of effect modification was examined by introducing interaction terms in the models.
After adjusting for potential confounders, children born by C/S appeared significantly more likely than those born vaginally to report ever wheezing (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.07-1.71), asthma diagnosis (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.09-1.83) and be atopic (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.08-2.60). There was modest evidence that family history of allergies may modify the effect of C/S delivery on atopy (p for effect modification=0.06) but this was not the case for the asthma outcomes. Specifically, while more than a two-fold increase in the odds of being a topic was observed in children with a family history of allergies if born by C/S (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.38-5.00), no association was observed in children without a family history of allergies (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.64-2.11).
Birth by C/S is associated with asthma and atopic sensitization in childhood. The association of C/S and atopy appears more pronounced in children with family history of allergies.
Asthma; Vaginal delivery; Caesarean section; Wheeze; Atopic sensitization; Child