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1.  A systematic review of the use and effectiveness of social media in child health 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:138.
Background
Social media use is highly prevalent among children, youth, and their caregivers, and its use in healthcare is being explored. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review to determine: 1) for what purposes social media is being used in child health and its effectiveness; and 2) the attributes of social media tools that may explain how they are or are not effective.
Methods
We searched Medline, CENTRAL, ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, Alt Health Watch, Health Source, Communication and Mass Media Complete, Web of Knowledge, and Proquest Dissertation and Theses Database from 2000–2013. We included primary research that evaluated the use of a social media tool, and targeted children, youth, or their families or caregivers. Quality assessment was conducted on all included analytic studies using tools specific to different quantitative designs.
Results
We identified 25 studies relevant to child health. The majority targeted adolescents (64%), evaluated social media for health promotion (52%), and used discussion forums (68%). Most often, social media was included as a component of a complex intervention (64%). Due to heterogeneity in conditions, tools, and outcomes, results were not pooled across studies. Attributes of social media perceived to be effective included its use as a distraction in younger children, and its ability to facilitate communication between peers among adolescents. While most authors presented positive conclusions about the social media tool being studied (80%), there is little high quality evidence of improved outcomes to support this claim.
Conclusions
This comprehensive review demonstrates that social media is being used for a variety of conditions and purposes in child health. The findings provide a foundation from which clinicians and researchers can build in the future by identifying tools that have been developed, describing how they have been used, and isolating components that have been effective.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-138
PMCID: PMC4047773  PMID: 24886048
Social media; Pediatrics; Systematic review
2.  A descriptive analysis of a representative sample of pediatric randomized controlled trials published in 2007 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:96.
Background
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for trials assessing the effects of therapeutic interventions; therefore it is important to understand how they are conducted. Our objectives were to provide an overview of a representative sample of pediatric RCTs published in 2007 and assess the validity of their results.
Methods
We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials using a pediatric filter and randomly selected 300 RCTs published in 2007. We extracted data on trial characteristics; outcomes; methodological quality; reporting; and registration and protocol characteristics. Trial registration and protocol availability were determined for each study based on the publication, an Internet search and an author survey.
Results
Most studies (83%) were efficacy trials, 40% evaluated drugs, and 30% were placebo-controlled. Primary outcomes were specified in 41%; 43% reported on adverse events. At least one statistically significant outcome was reported in 77% of trials; 63% favored the treatment group. Trial registration was declared in 12% of publications and 23% were found through an Internet search. Risk of bias (ROB) was high in 59% of trials, unclear in 33%, and low in 8%. Registered trials were more likely to have low ROB than non-registered trials (16% vs. 5%; p = 0.008). Effect sizes tended to be larger for trials at high vs. low ROB (0.28, 95% CI 0.21,0.35 vs. 0.16, 95% CI 0.07,0.25). Among survey respondents (50% response rate), the most common reason for trial registration was a publication requirement and for non-registration, a lack of familiarity with the process.
Conclusions
More than half of this random sample of pediatric RCTs published in 2007 was at high ROB and three quarters of trials were not registered. There is an urgent need to improve the design, conduct, and reporting of child health research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-96
PMCID: PMC3018376  PMID: 21176224
3.  Storytelling as a communication tool for health consumers: development of an intervention for parents of children with croup. Stories to communicate health information 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:64.
Background
Stories may be an effective tool to communicate with and influence patients because of their ability to engage the reader. The objective of this paper is to describe the development of a story-based intervention for delivery of health evidence to parents of children with croup for use in a randomized controlled trial.
Methods
A creative writer interviewed parents of children with croup presenting to the pediatric emergency department (ED) and drafted stories. We revised the stories based on written participant feedback and edited the stories to incorporate research evidence and health information. An illustrator and graphic designer developed story booklets which were evaluated through focus groups.
Results
Ten participants provided feedback on the five stories drafted by the creative writer. Participants liked the concept but found the writing overly sophisticated and wanted more character development and more medical/health information. Participants highlighted specific story content that they liked and disliked. The revised stories were evaluated through focus groups involving eight individuals. Feedback was generally positive; one participant questioned the associated costs. Participants liked the graphics and layout; felt that they could identify with the stories; and felt that it was easier to get information compared to a standard medical information sheet. Participants provided feedback on the story content, errors and inconsistencies, and preferences of writing style and booklet format. Feedback on how to package the stories was provided by attendees at a national meeting of pediatric emergency researchers.
Conclusions
Several challenges arose during the development of the stories including: staying true to the story versus being evidence based; addressing the use of the internet by consumers as a source of health information; balancing the need to be comprehensive and widely applicable while being succinct; considerations such as story length, reading level, narrative mode, representation of different demographics and illness experiences, graphics and layout. The process was greatly informed by feedback from the end-user group. This allowed us to shape our products to ensure accuracy, credibility, and relevance. Our experience is valuable for further work in the area of stories and narratives, as well as more broadly for identifying and developing communication strategies for healthcare consumers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-64
PMCID: PMC2940891  PMID: 20813044
4.  A descriptive analysis of child-relevant systematic reviews in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:34.
Background
Systematic reviews (SRs) are considered an important tool for decision-making. There has been no recent comprehensive identification or description of child-relevant SRs. A description of existing child-relevant SRs would help to identify the extent of available child-relevant evidence available in SRs and gaps in the evidence base where SRs are required. The objective of this study was to describe child-relevant SRs from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR, Issue 2, 2009).
Methods
SRs were assessed for relevance using pre-defined criteria. Data were extracted and entered into an electronic form. Univariate analyses were performed to describe the SRs overall and by topic area.
Results
The search yielded 1666 SRs; 793 met the inclusion criteria. 38% of SRs were last assessed as up-to-date prior to 2007. Corresponding authors were most often from the UK (41%). Most SRs (59%) examined pharmacological interventions. 53% had at least one external source of funding. SRs included a median of 7 studies (IQR 3, 15) and 679 participants (IQR 179, 2833). Of all studies, 48% included only children, and 27% only adults. 94% of studies were published in peer-reviewed journals. Primary outcomes were specified in 72% of SRs. Allocation concealment and the Jadad scale were used in 97% and 25% of SRs, respectively. Adults and children were analyzed separately in 12% of SRs and as a subgroup analysis in 14%. Publication bias was assessed in only 14% of SRs. A meta-analysis was conducted in 68% of SRs with a median of 5 trials (IQR 3, 9) each. Variations in these characteristics were observed across topic areas.
Conclusions
We described the methodological characteristics and rigour of child-relevant reviews in the CDSR. Many SRs are not up-to-date according to Cochrane criteria. Our study describes variation in conduct and reporting across SRs and reveals clinicians' ability to access child-specific data.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-34
PMCID: PMC2881081  PMID: 20487565
5.  Treatment in the pediatric emergency department is evidence based: a retrospective analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2006;6:26.
Background
Our goal was to quantify the evidence that is available to the physicians of a pediatric emergency department (PED) in making treatment decisions. Further, we wished to ascertain what percentage of evidence for treatment provided in the PED comes from pediatric studies.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective chart review of randomly selected patients seen in the PED between January 1 and December 31, 2002. The principal investigator identified a primary diagnosis and primary intervention for each chart. A thorough literature search was then undertaken with respect to the primary intervention. If a randomized control trial (RCT) or a systematic review was found, the intervention was classified as level I evidence. If no RCT was found, the intervention was assessed by an expert committee who determined its appropriateness based on face validity (RCTs were unanimously judged to be both unnecessary and, if a placebo would have been involved, unethical). These interventions were classified as level II evidence. Interventions that did not fall into either above category were classified as level III evidence.
Results
Two hundred and sixty-two patient charts were reviewed. Of these, 35.9% did not receive a primary intervention. Of the 168 interventions assessed, 80.4% were evidence-based (level I), 7.1% had face validity (level II) and 12.5% had no supporting evidence (level III). Of the evidence-based interventions, 83.7% were supported by studies with mostly pediatric patients.
Conclusion
Our study demonstrates that a substantial proportion of PED treatment decisions are evidence-based, with most based on studies in pediatric patients. Also, a large number of patients seen in the PED receive no intervention.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-6-26
PMCID: PMC1609110  PMID: 17022829
6.  Children in reviews: Methodological issues in child-relevant evidence syntheses 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:38.
Background
The delivery of optimal medical care to children is dependent on the availability of child relevant research. Our objectives were to: i) systematically review and describe how children are handled in reviews of drug interventions published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); and ii) determine when effect sizes for the same drug interventions differ between children and adults.
Methods
We systematically identified all of the reviews relevant to child health in the CDSR 2002, Issue 4. Reviews were included if they investigated the efficacy or effectiveness of a drug intervention for a condition that occurs in both children and adults. Information was extracted on review characteristics including study methods, results, and conclusions.
Results
From 1496 systematic reviews, 408 (27%) were identified as relevant to both adult and child health; 52% (213) of these included data from children. No significant differences were found in effect sizes between adults and children for any of the drug interventions or conditions investigated. However, all of the comparisons lacked the power to detect a clinically significant difference and wide confidence intervals suggest important differences cannot be excluded. A large amount of data was unavailable due to inadequate reporting at the trial and systematic review level.
Conclusion
Overall, the findings of this study indicate there is a paucity of child-relevant and specific evidence generated from evidence syntheses of drug interventions. The results indicate a need for a higher standard of reporting for participant populations in studies of drug interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-38
PMCID: PMC1261269  PMID: 16176579
7.  Acyclovir for treating varicella in otherwise healthy children and adolescents: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials 
BMC Pediatrics  2002;2:9.
Background
Acyclovir has the potential to shorten the course of chickenpox which may result in reduced costs and morbidity. We conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials that evaluated acyclovir for the treatment of chickenpox in otherwise healthy children.
Methods
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched. The reference lists of relevant articles were examined and primary authors and Glaxo Wellcome were contacted to identify additional trials. Two reviewers independently screened studies for inclusion, assessed study quality using the Jadad scale and allocation concealment, and extracted data. Continuous data were converted to a weighted mean difference (WMD). Overall estimates were not calculated due to differences in the age groups studied.
Results
Three studies were included. Methodological quality was 3 (n = 2) and 4 (n = 1) on the Jadad scale. Acyclovir was associated with a significant reduction in the number of days with fever, from -1.0 (95% CI -1.5,-0.5) to -1.3 (95% CI -2.0,-0.6). Results were inconsistent with respect to the number of days to no new lesions, the maximum number of lesions and relief of pruritis. There were no clinically important differences between acyclovir and placebo with respect to complications or adverse effects.
Conclusion
Acyclovir appears to be effective in reducing the number of days with fever among otherwise healthy children with chickenpox. The results were inconsistent with respect to the number of days to no new lesions, the maximum number of lesions and the relief of itchiness. The clinical importance of acyclovir treatment in otherwise healthy children remains controversial.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-2-9
PMCID: PMC130054  PMID: 12356336

Results 1-7 (7)