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1.  Indicators of Child Health, Service Utilization and Mortality in Zhejiang Province of China, 1998–2011 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62854.
Objective
To investigate the levels of primary health care services for children and their changes in Zhejiang Province, China from 1998 to 2011.
Methods
The data were drawn from Zhejiang maternal and child health statistics collected under the supervision of the Health Bureau of Zhejiang Province. Primary health care coverage, hospital deliveries, low birth weight, postnatal visits, breastfeeding, underweight, early neonatal (<7 days) mortality, neonatal mortality, infant mortality and under-5 mortality were investigated.
Results
The coverage rates for children under 3 years old and children under 7 years old increased in the last 14 years. The hospital delivery rate was high during the study period, and the overall difference narrowed. There was a significant difference (P<0.001) between the prevalence of low birth weight in 1998 (2.03%) and the prevalence in 2011 (2.71%). The increase in low birth weight was more significant in urban areas than in rural areas. The postnatal visit rate increased from 95.00% to 98.45% with a significant difference (P<0.001). The breastfeeding rate was the highest in 2004 at 74.79% and lowest in 2008 at 53.86%. The prevalence of underweight in children under 5 years old decreased from 1.63% to 0.65%, and the prevalence was higher in rural areas. The early neonatal, neonatal, infant and under-5 mortality rates decreased from 6.66‰, 8.67‰, 11.99‰ and 15.28‰ to 1.69‰, 2.36‰, 3.89‰ and 5.42‰, respectively (P<0.001). The mortality rates in rural areas were slightly higher than those in urban areas each year, and the mortality rates were lower in Ningbo, Wenzhou, and Jiaxing regions and higher in Quzhou and Lishui regions.
Conclusion
Primary health care services for children in Zhejiang Province improved from 1998 to 2011. Continued high rates of low birth weight in urban areas and mortality in rural areas may be addressed with improvements in health awareness and medical technology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062854
PMCID: PMC3636200  PMID: 23638155
2.  Treatment and follow-up of children with transient congenital hypothyroidism*  
Objective: To study the clinical therapy and prognosis in children with transient congenital hypothyroidism (CH). Methods: Fifty-seven children with CH diagnosed after neonatal screening were treated with low-dosage levothyroxine (L-T4). Follow-up evaluation included the determination of TT3, TT4 and TSH serum levels and the assessment of thyroid gland morphology, bone age, growth development and development quotients (DQ). A full check-up was performed at age 2, when the affected children first discontinued the L-T4 treatment for 1 month, and one year later. Development quotients were compared with a control group of 29 healthy peers. Results: The initial L-T4 dosage administered was 3.21~5.81 μg/(kg·d) with an average of (16.25±3.87) μg/d. Mean duration of therapy was (28.09±9.56) months. No significant difference was found between study group and control group in the DQ test (average score (106.58±14.40) vs (102.4±8.6), P>0.05) and 96.49% of the CH children achieved a test score above 85. Bone age, 99mTc scans and ultrasonographic findings were all normal, and evaluation of physical development was normal too, as were the serum levels of TT3, TT4 and TSH after one year of follow-up. Conclusion: A L-T4 dosage of 3.21~5.81 μg/(kg·d) was found sufficient for the treatment of transient CH. The treated children showed satisfactory overall mental and physical development at age 2. So it is possible for CH children to stop taking medicine if their laboratory findings and physical development are all normal after regular treatment and 2~3 years of follow-up.
doi:10.1631/jzus.2005.B1206
PMCID: PMC1390645  PMID: 16358380
Transient congenital hypothyroidism; Levothyroxine; Development quotient; Follow-up
3.  Study on the neurotoxic effects of low-level lead exposure in rats*  
Objective: To investigate effects of developmental lead exposure on nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in different brain regions and on N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor mRNA expression in the hippocampus of rats. On the basis of these observations, we explored possible mechanisms by which lead exposure leads to impaired learning and memorizing abilities in children. Methods: A series of rat animal models exposed to low levels of lead during the developing period was established (drinking water containing 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.075% lead acetate). NOS activities in the hippocampus, the cerebral cortex, the cerebellum and the brain stem were determined with fluorescence measurement and levels of mRNA expression of the NMDA receptor 2A (NR2A) subunit and NMDA receptor 2B (NR2B) subunit in the rat hippocampus were measured with Retro-translation (RT-PCR). Results: There were no differences in the body weight of rat pups between any of the groups at any given time (P>0.05). The blood lead level of Pb-exposed rat pups showed a systematic pattern of change: at 14 d of age, it was lower than that at 7 d of age, then rising to the peak level at 21 d and finally falling to lower levels at 28 d. The hippocampal NOS activities of lead-exposed groups were all lower than that of the control group on the 21st and 28th day (P<0.01). NOS activities in the cerebellum of lead-exposed groups were all lower than that of the control group on the 21st and 28th day (P<0.001) and the NOS activity of the 0.025% group was significantly lower than that of the 0.05% and 0.075% groups on the 28th day (P<0.05). NOS activity in the cerebral cortex of the 0.075% group was significantly lower than that of the control, 0.025% and 0.05% groups on the four day spans (P<0.001). There was no significant difference of NOS activity in the brain stem between any lead-exposed group and the control group on the four day spans. In the 0.05% and the 0.075% groups, the level of NR2A mRNA expression was higher than that in the control group at 7 d and 14 d of age (P<0.05). In the 0.025% group, the level of NR2A was found to be higher than that in the control group at 7 d of age only (P<0.05). No significant differences were found for the levels of NR2B mRNA expression between any of the groups at any given time. Conclusions: NOS activity in the hippocampus, the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum are inhibited by lead exposure. The degree of the inhibitory effect depends on the time span of exposure and the lead concentration. Developmental low-level lead exposure was found to raise the level of NR2A mRNA expression in the hippocampus of rats. Developmental low-level lead exposure does not affect the level of NR2B mRNA expression in the hippocampus.
doi:10.1631/jzus.2005.B0686
PMCID: PMC1389806  PMID: 15973774
Lead exposure; Rat pups; Nitric oxide synthase (NOS); Fluorescence; Hippocampus; mRNA; Retro-translation (RT-PCR); N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)

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