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1.  Study on the Social Adaptation of Chinese Children with Down Syndrome 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2007;48(3):412-420.
To evaluate social adjustment and related factors among Chinese children with Down syndrome (DS).
Patients and Methods
A structured interview and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) were conducted with a group of 36 DS children with a mean age of 106.28 months, a group of 30 normally-developing children matched for mental age (MA) and a group of 40 normally-developing children matched for chronological age (CA). Mean scores of social adjustment were compared between the three groups, and partial correlations and stepwise multiple regression models were used to further explore related factors.
There was no difference between the DS group and the MA group in terms of communication skills. However, the DS group scored much better than the MA group in self-dependence, locomotion, work skills, socialization and self-management. Children in the CA group achieved significantly higher scores in all aspects of social adjustment than the DS children. Partial correlations indicate a relationship between social adjustment and the PPVT raw score and also between social adjustment and age (significant r ranging between 0.24 and 0.92). A stepwise linear regression analysis showed that family structure was the main predictor of social adjustment. Newborn history was also a predictor of work skills, communication, socialization and self-management. Parental education was found to account for 8% of self-dependence. Maternal education explained 6% of the variation in locomotion.
Although limited by the small sample size, these results indicate that Chinese DS children have better social adjustment skills when compared to their mental-age-matched normally-developing peers, but that the Chinese DS children showed aspects of adaptive development that differed from Western DS children. Analyses of factors related to social adjustment suggest that effective early intervention may improve social adaptability.
PMCID: PMC2628096  PMID: 17594148
Down syndrome; children; social adjustment; cognition
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.
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.
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)

Results 1-3 (3)