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1.  The effect of systematic pediatric care on neonatal mortality and hospitalizations of infants born with oral clefts 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:121.
Background
Cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) increase mortality and morbidity risks for affected infants especially in less developed countries. This study aimed at assessing the effects of systematic pediatric care on neonatal mortality and hospitalizations of infants with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) in South America.
Methods
The intervention group included live-born infants with isolated or associated CL/P in 47 hospitals between 2003 and 2005. The control group included live-born infants with CL/P between 2001 and 2002 in the same hospitals. The intervention group received systematic pediatric care between the 7th and 28th day of life. The primary outcomes were mortality between the 7th and 28th day of life and hospitalization days in this period among survivors adjusted for relevant baseline covariates.
Results
There were no significant mortality differences between the intervention and control groups. However, surviving infants with associated CL/P in the intervention group had fewer hospitalization days by about six days compared to the associated control group.
Conclusions
Early systematic pediatric care may significantly reduce neonatal hospitalizations of infants with CL/P and additional birth defects in South America. Given the large healthcare and financial burden of CL/P on affected families and the relatively low cost of systematic pediatric care, improving access to such care may be a cost-effective public policy intervention.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00097149
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-121
PMCID: PMC3277464  PMID: 22204448
2.  Post mortem magnetic resonance imaging in the fetus, infant and child: A comparative study with conventional autopsy (MaRIAS Protocol) 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:120.
Background
Minimally invasive autopsy by post mortem magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been suggested as an alternative for conventional autopsy in view of the declining consented autopsy rates. However, large prospective studies rigorously evaluating the accuracy of such an approach are lacking. We intend to compare the accuracy of a minimally invasive autopsy approach using post mortem MR imaging with that of conventional autopsy in fetuses, newborns and children for detection of the major pathological abnormalities and/or determination of the cause of death.
Methods/Design
We recruited 400 consecutive fetuses, newborns and children referred for conventional autopsy to one of the two participating hospitals over a three-year period. We acquired whole body post mortem MR imaging using a 1.5 T MR scanner (Avanto, Siemens Medical Solutions, Enlargen, Germany) prior to autopsy. The total scan time varied between 90 to 120 minutes. Each MR image was reported by a team of four specialist radiologists (paediatric neuroradiology, paediatric cardiology, paediatric chest & abdominal imaging and musculoskeletal imaging), blinded to the autopsy data. Conventional autopsy was performed according to the guidelines set down by the Royal College of Pathologists (UK) by experienced paediatric or perinatal pathologists, blinded to the MR data. The MR and autopsy data were recorded using predefined categorical variables by an independent person.
Discussion
Using conventional post mortem as the gold standard comparator, the MR images will be assessed for accuracy of the anatomical morphology, associated lesions, clinical usefulness of information and determination of the cause of death. The sensitivities, specificities and predictive values of post mortem MR alone and MR imaging along with other minimally invasive post mortem investigations will be presented for the final diagnosis, broad diagnostic categories and for specific diagnosis of each system.
Clinical Trial Registration
NCT01417962
NIHR Portfolio Number: 6794
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-120
PMCID: PMC3259035  PMID: 22192497
Autopsy; post mortem magnetic resonance imaging; stillbirth; sudden infant death; diagnostic study; minimally invasive autopsy
3.  Childhood disability and socio-economic circumstances in low and middle income countries: systematic review 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:119.
Background
The majority of children with disability live in low and middle income (LAMI) countries. Although a number of important reviews of childhood disability in LAMI countries have been published, these have not, to our knowledge, addressed the association between childhood disability and the home socio-economic circumstances (SEC). The objective of this study is to establish the current state of knowledge on the SECs of children with disability and their households in LAMI countries through a systematic review and quality assessment of existing research.
Methods
Electronic databases (MEDLINE; EMBASE; PUBMED; Web of Knowledge; PsycInfo; ASSIA; Virtual Health Library; POPLINE; Google scholar) were searched using terms specific to childhood disability and SECs in LAMI countries. Publications from organisations including the World Bank, UNICEF, International Monetary Fund were searched for. Primary studies and reviews from 1990 onwards were included. Studies were assessed for inclusion, categorisation and quality by 2 researchers.
Results
24 primary studies and 13 reviews were identified. Evidence from the available literature on the association between childhood disability and SECs was inconsistent and inconclusive. Potential mechanisms by which poverty and low household SEC may be both a cause and consequence of disability are outlined in the reviews and the qualitative studies. The association of poor SECs with learning disability and behaviour problems was the most consistent finding and these studies had low/medium risk of bias. Where overall disability was the outcome of interest, findings were divergent and many studies had a high/medium risk of bias. Qualitative studies were methodologically weak.
Conclusions
This review indicates that, despite socially and biologically plausible mechanisms underlying the association of low household SEC with childhood disability in LAMI countries, the empirical evidence from quantitative studies is inconsistent and contradictory. There is evidence for a bidirectional association of low household SEC and disability and longitudinal data is needed to clarify the nature of this association.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-119
PMCID: PMC3259053  PMID: 22188700
4.  Psychosocial family factors and glycemic control among children aged 1-15 years with type 1 diabetes: a population-based survey 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:118.
Background
Being the parents of children with diabetes is demanding. Jay Belsky's determinants of parenting model emphasizes both the personal psychological resources, the characteristics of the child and contextual sources such as parents' work, marital relations and social network support as important determinants for parenting. To better understand the factors influencing parental functioning among parents of children with type 1 diabetes, we aimed to investigate associations between the children's glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and 1) variables related to the parents' psychological and contextual resources, and 2) frequency of blood glucose measurement as a marker for diabetes-related parenting behavior.
Methods
Mothers (n = 103) and fathers (n = 97) of 115 children younger than 16 years old participated in a population-based survey. The questionnaire comprised the Life Orientation Test, the Oslo 3-item Social Support Scale, a single question regarding perceived social limitation because of the child's diabetes, the Relationship Satisfaction Scale and demographic and clinical variables. We investigated associations by using regression analysis. Related to the second aim hypoglycemic events, child age, diabetes duration, insulin regimen and comorbid diseases were included as covariates.
Results
The mean HbA1c was 8.1%, and 29% had HbA1c ≤ 7.5%. In multiple regression analysis, lower HbA1c was associated with higher education and stronger perceptions of social limitation among the mothers. A higher frequency of blood glucose measurement was significantly associated with lower HbA1c in bivariate analysis. Higher child age was significantly associated with higher HbA1c both in bivariate and multivariate analysis. A scatterplot indicated this association to be linear.
Conclusions
Most families do not reach recommended treatment goals for their child with type 1 diabetes. Concerning contextual sources of stress and support, the families who successfully reached the treatment goals had mothers with higher education and experienced a higher degree of social limitations because of the child's diabetes. The continuous increasing HbA1c by age, also during the years before puberty, may indicate a need for further exploring the associations between child characteristics, context-related variables and parenting behavior such as factors facilitating the transfer of parents' responsibility and motivation for continued frequent treatment tasks to their growing children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-118
PMCID: PMC3282662  PMID: 22185481
5.  Examination of the cut-off scores determined by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire in a population-based sample of 6 month-old Norwegian infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:117.
Background
Few population-based samples have previously published performance on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), a recommended screening tool to detect infant developmental delay. The aim of the study was to investigate performance on the ASQ in a population-based sample of 6-month-old infants.
Methods
In this population-based questionnaire study from Oslo, Norway, the 30 item ASQ 6 month Questionnaire (N = 1053) were included, however without the pictograms, and compared to the Norwegian reference sample (N.ref) (N = 169) and to US cut-off values. Exclusion criteria were maternal non-Scandinavian ethnicity, infant age < 5.0 or > 7.0 months (corrected age), twins, and birth weight < 2.5 kg. Cut-off = 2.5 percentile (equivalent to mean minus 2 standard deviations). Pearson's Chi square and Mann-Whitney U were used to compare items and areas, respectively, with N.ref.
Results
The reported ASQ scores were lower on all but one of the 10 significantly different items, and in all areas except Personal social, compared to the N.ref sample. The estimated cut-off values for suspected developmental delay (Communication 25, Gross motor 15, Fine motor 18, Problem solving 25 and Personal social 20) were lower than the recommended American (US) values in all areas, and lower than the Norwegian values in two areas. Scores indicating need for further assessment were reached by 13.8% or 20.5% of the infants (missing items scored according to the US or the Norwegian manual), and by 33.8% or 30.3% of the infants using the recommended US or the Norwegian cut-off values, in this population-based sample. The Fine motor area demonstrated a large variability depending on the different cut-off and scoring possibilities. Both among the items excluding pictograms and the items that do not have pictograms, approximately every third item differed significantly compared to the N.ref sample.
Conclusion
The psychomotor developmental scores were lower than in the reference samples in this study of ASQ 6 month Questionnaire; to our knowledge the first study to be both representative and comparatively large. Approximately every third child with birth weight above 2.5 kg, received scores suggesting further assessment using recommended ASQ cut-off scores.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-117
PMCID: PMC3293730  PMID: 22182217
6.  Pro- and antisaccades in children elicited by visual and acoustic targets - does modality matter? 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:116.
Background
Children are able to inhibit a prepotent reaction to suddenly arising visual stimuli, although this skill is not yet as pronounced as it is in adulthood. However, up to now the inhibition mechanism to acoustic stimuli has been scarcely investigated
Methods
Reflexive (prosaccade) and inhibitory (antisaccade) responses to visual and acoustic targets were examined with an eye tracker system in 31 children between seven and twelve years of age using a gap-overlap task and two target eccentricities.
Results
Acoustically cued saccades had longer reaction times than visually cued saccades. A gap effect (i.e., shorter reaction time in the gap than the overlap condition) was only found for visually elicited saccades, whereas an eccentricity effect (i.e., faster saccades to more laterally presented targets - 12° vs. 6° or rather 90° vs. 45°) was only present in the acoustic condition. Longer reaction times of antisaccades compared to prosaccades were found only in the visual task. Across both tasks the typical pattern of elevated error rates in the antisaccade condition was found. Antisaccade errors declined with age, indicating an ongoing development of inhibitory functions.
Conclusions
The present results lay the ground for further studies of acoustically triggered saccades in typically as well as atypically developing children and it might thus be possible to upgrade physiological diagnostic tools.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-116
PMCID: PMC3260100  PMID: 22176946
7.  Family-based factors associated with overweight and obesity among Pakistani primary school children 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:114.
Background
Childhood obesity epidemic is now penetrating the developing countries including Pakistan, especially in the affluent urban population. There is no data on association of family-based factors with overweight and obesity among school-aged children in Pakistan. The study aimed to explore the family-based factors associated with overweight and obesity among Pakistani primary school children.
Methods
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a representative multistage cluster sample of 1860 children aged five to twelve years in Lahore, Pakistan. Overweight (> +1SD BMI-for-age z-score) and obesity (> +2SD BMI-for-age z-score) were defined using the World Health Organization reference 2007. Chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Linear regression was used to examine the predictive power of independent variables in relation to BMI. Logistic regression was used to quantify the independent predictors of overweight and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were obtained. All regression analyses were controlled for age and gender and statistical significance was considered at P < 0.05.
Results
Significant family-based correlates of overweight and obesity included higher parental education (P < 0.001), both parents working (P = 0.002), fewer siblings (P < 0.001), fewer persons in child's living room (P < 0.001) and residence in high-income neighborhoods (P < 0.001). Smoking in living place was not associated with overweight and obesity. Higher parental education (P < 0.001) and living in high-income neighborhoods (P < 0.001) showed a significant independent positive association with BMI while greater number of siblings (P = 0.001) and persons in child's living room (P = 0.022) showed a significant independent inverse association. College-level or higher parental education as compared to high school-level or lower parental education (aOR 2.54, 95% CI 1.76-3.67), living in high-income neighborhoods as compared to low-income neighborhoods (aOR 2.13, 95% CI 1.31-3.46) and three or less siblings as compared to more than three siblings (aOR 1.75, 95% CI 1.26-2.42) were significant independent predictors of overweight.
Conclusion
Family-based factors were significantly associated with overweight and obesity among school-aged children in Pakistan. Higher parental education, living in high-income neighborhoods and fewer siblings were independent predictors of overweight. These findings support the need to design evidence-based child health policy and implement targeted interventions, considering the impact of family-based factors and involving communities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-114
PMCID: PMC3266195  PMID: 22172239
8.  Birth weight for gestational age norms for a large cohort of infants born to HIV-negative women in Botswana compared with norms for U.S.-born black infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:115.
Background
Standard values for birth weight by gestational age are not available for sub-Saharan Africa, but are needed to evaluate incidence and risk factors for intrauterine growth retardation in settings where HIV, antiretrovirals, and other in utero exposures may impact birth outcomes.
Methods
Birth weight data were collected from six hospitals in Botswana. Infants born to HIV-negative women between 26-44 weeks gestation were analyzed to construct birth weight for gestational age charts. These data were compared with published norms for black infants in the United States.
Results
During a 29 month period from 2007-2010, birth records were reviewed in real-time from 6 hospitals and clinics in Botswana. Of these, 11,753 live infants born to HIV-negative women were included in the analysis. The median gestational age at birth was 39 weeks (1st quartile 38, 3rd quartile 40 weeks), and the median birth weight was 3100 grams (1st quartile 2800, 3rd quartile 3400 grams). We constructed estimated percentile curves for birth weight by gestational age which demonstrate increasing slope during the third trimester and leveling off beyond 40 weeks. Compared with black infants in the United States, Botswana-born infants had lower median birth weight for gestational age from weeks 37 through 42 (p < .02).
Conclusions
We present birth weight for gestational age norms for Botswana, which are lower at term than norms for black infants in the United States. These findings suggest the importance of regional birth weight norms to identify and define risk factors for higher risk births. These data serve as a reference for Botswana, may apply to southern Africa, and may help to identify infants at risk for perinatal complications and inform comparisons among infants exposed to HIV and antiretrovirals in utero.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-115
PMCID: PMC3271964  PMID: 22176889
9.  "Smoking in Children's Environment Test": a qualitative study of experiences of a new instrument applied in preventive work in child health care 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:113.
Background
Despite knowledge of the adverse health effects of passive smoking, children are still being exposed. Children's nurses play an important role in tobacco preventive work through dialogue with parents aimed at identifying how children can be protected from environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure. The study describes the experiences of Child Health Care (CHC) nurses when using the validated instrument SiCET (Smoking in Children's Environment Test) in dialogue with parents.
Method
In an intervention in CHC centres in south-eastern Sweden nurses were invited to use the SiCET. Eighteen nurses participated in focus group interviews. Transcripts were reviewed and their contents were coded into categories by three investigators using the method described for focus groups interviews.
Results
The SiCET was used in dialogue with parents in tobacco preventive work and resulted in focused discussions on smoking and support for behavioural changes among parents. The instrument had both strengths and limitations. The nurses experienced that the SiCET facilitated dialogue with parents and gave a comprehensive view of the child's ETS exposure. This gave nurses the possibility of taking on a supportive role by offering parents long-term help in protecting their child from ETS exposure and in considering smoking cessation.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that the SiCET supports nurses in their dialogue with parents on children's ETS exposure at CHC. There is a need for more clinical use and evaluation of the SiCET to determine its usefulness in clinical practice under varying circumstances.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-113
PMCID: PMC3267672  PMID: 22172056
10.  Factors associated with caregiver burden in a child and adolescent psychiatric facility in Lagos, Nigeria: a descriptive cross sectional study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:110.
Background
Definitions of burden of care stress the effect of the patient's mental illness on the family. There are generally very few studies in this environment on caregiver burden in child/adolescent mental ill-health. This study aimed to identify patient and caregiver characteristics that are associated with caregiver burden.
Method
Caregivers of patients attending the Child and Adolescent Clinic of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos [n = 155] were consecutively recruited over a one-month period. The caregivers were administered a sociodemographic questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire, Zarit Burden Interview, and the Columbia Impairment Scale. Scoring on the Children's Global Assessment Scale was done by clinicians.
Results
Most caregivers observed in this study were females (80.5%), with mothers of the patients accounting for 78% of all the caregivers. A higher percentage of the patients were males (52.8%). Moderate to severe/severe burden was recorded among 25.2% of caregivers. Factors associated with caregiver burden were patient's level of functioning [r = 0.489, p < 0.001], psychiatric morbidity in the caregiver [r = 0.709, p < 0.001], level of impairment as assessed by the caregiver [r = 0.545, p < 0.001], and child's level of education [t = 3.274, p = 0.001]. Each one independently predicted caregiver burden.
Conclusion
The study reveals a high level of burden among the caregivers of children and adolescents with mental health problems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-110
PMCID: PMC3252249  PMID: 22151428
11.  Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:111.
Background
Vitamin/mineral supplements are among the most commonly used treatments for autism, but the research on their use for treating autism has been limited.
Method
This study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled three month vitamin/mineral treatment study. The study involved 141 children and adults with autism, and pre and post symptoms of autism were assessed. None of the participants had taken a vitamin/mineral supplement in the two months prior to the start of the study. For a subset of the participants (53 children ages 5-16) pre and post measurements of nutritional and metabolic status were also conducted.
Results
The vitamin/mineral supplement was generally well-tolerated, and individually titrated to optimum benefit. Levels of many vitamins, minerals, and biomarkers improved/increased showing good compliance and absorption. Statistically significant improvements in metabolic status were many including: total sulfate (+17%, p = 0.001), S-adenosylmethionine (SAM; +6%, p = 0.003), reduced glutathione (+17%, p = 0.0008), ratio of oxidized glutathione to reduced glutathione (GSSG:GSH; -27%, p = 0.002), nitrotyrosine (-29%, p = 0.004), ATP (+25%, p = 0.000001), NADH (+28%, p = 0.0002), and NADPH (+30%, p = 0.001). Most of these metabolic biomarkers improved to normal or near-normal levels.
The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than the placebo group on the Parental Global Impressions-Revised (PGI-R, Average Change, p = 0.008), and on the subscores for Hyperactivity (p = 0.003), Tantrumming (p = 0.009), Overall (p = 0.02), and Receptive Language (p = 0.03). For the other three assessment tools the difference between treatment group and placebo group was not statistically significant.
Regression analysis revealed that the degree of improvement on the Average Change of the PGI-R was strongly associated with several biomarkers (adj. R2 = 0.61, p < 0.0005) with the initial levels of biotin and vitamin K being the most significant (p < 0.05); both biotin and vitamin K are made by beneficial intestinal flora.
Conclusions
Oral vitamin/mineral supplementation is beneficial in improving the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism, including improvements in methylation, glutathione, oxidative stress, sulfation, ATP, NADH, and NADPH. The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than did the placebo group on the PGI-R Average Change. This suggests that a vitamin/mineral supplement is a reasonable adjunct therapy to consider for most children and adults with autism.
Trial Registration
Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT01225198
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-111
PMCID: PMC3266205  PMID: 22151477
12.  The multiple meanings of "wheezing": a questionnaire survey in Portuguese for parents and health professionals 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:112.
Background
Most epidemiological studies on pediatric asthma rely on the report of "wheezing" in questionnaires. Our aim was to investigate the understanding of this term by parents and health professionals.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was carried out in hospital and community settings within the south of Portugal. Parents or caregivers self-completed a written questionnaire with information on social characteristics and respiratory history. Multiple choice questions assessed their understanding of "wheezing". Health professionals (physicians, nurses and physiotherapists) were given an adapted version. We used bivariate analysis and multivariate models to study associations between definitions of "wheezing" and participants' characteristics.
Results
Questionnaires from 425 parents and 299 health professionals were included. The term "wheezing" was not recognized by 34% of parents, more frequently those who were younger (OR 0.4 per 10-year increment, 95% CI 0.3-0.7), had lower education (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.5-7.4), and whose children had no history of respiratory disease (OR 4.6, 95% CI 2.5-8.7) (all ORs adjusted). 31% of parents familiar with "wheezing" either did not identify it as a sound, or did not locate it to the chest, while tactile (40%) and visual (34%) cues to identify "wheezing" were frequently used. Nurses reported using visual stimuli and overall assessments more often than physicians (p < 0.01). The geographical location was independently associated with how parents recognized and described "wheezing".
Conclusions
Different meanings for "wheezing" are recognized in Portuguese language and may be influenced by education, respiratory history and regional terminology. These findings are likely applicable to other non-English languages, and suggest the need for more accurate questionnaires and additional objective measurement instruments to study the epidemiology of wheezing disorders.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-112
PMCID: PMC3266641  PMID: 22151558
13.  Effect of a multi-faceted quality improvement intervention on inappropriate antibiotic use in children with non-bloody diarrhoea admitted to district hospitals in Kenya 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:109.
Background
There are few reports of interventions to reduce the common but irrational use of antibiotics for acute non-bloody diarrhoea amongst hospitalised children in low-income settings. We undertook a secondary analysis of data from an intervention comprising training of health workers, facilitation, supervision and face-to-face feedback, to assess whether it reduced inappropriate use of antibiotics in children with non-bloody diarrhoea and no co-morbidities requiring antibiotics, compared to a partial intervention comprising didactic training and written feedback only. This outcome was not a pre-specified end-point of the main trial.
Methods
Repeated cross-sectional survey data from a cluster-randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve management of common childhood illnesses in Kenya were used to describe the prevalence of inappropriate antibiotic use in a 7-day period in children aged 2-59 months with acute non-bloody diarrhoea. Logistic regression models with random effects for hospital were then used to identify patient and clinician level factors associated with inappropriate antibiotic use and to assess the effect of the intervention.
Results
9, 459 admission records of children were reviewed for this outcome. Of these, 4, 232 (44.7%) were diagnosed with diarrhoea, with 130 of these being bloody (dysentery) therefore requiring antibiotics. 1, 160 children had non-bloody diarrhoea and no co-morbidities requiring antibiotics-these were the focus of the analysis. 750 (64.7%) of them received antibiotics inappropriately, 313 of these being in the intervention hospitals vs. 437 in the controls. The adjusted logistic regression model showed the baseline-adjusted odds of inappropriate antibiotic prescription to children admitted to the intervention hospitals was 0.30 times that in the control hospitals (95%CI 0.09-1.02).
Conclusion
We found some evidence that the multi-faceted, sustained intervention described in this paper led to a reduction in the inappropriate use of antibiotics in treating children with non-bloody diarrhoea.
Trial registration
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register ISRCTN42996612
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-109
PMCID: PMC3314405  PMID: 22117602
14.  Lymphocyte apoptosis in children with central nervous system tuberculosis: a case control study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:108.
Background
Studies of the apoptosis mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis have suggested that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can actively interfere with the apoptosis of infected cells. In vivo studies have been performed in adult populations but have not focused on this process in children. In the present study, we analyzed spontaneous T lymphocyte (PBT) apoptosis in the peripheral blood of children with central nervous system tuberculosis (CNS TB), before and after chemotherapy, and compared the results with healthy controls.
Methods
A case-control study was conducted from January 2002 to June 2009. It included 18 children with CNS TB and 17 healthy controls. Spontaneous apoptosis of PBTs, including CD4+, CD8+ and CD8+/CD28+ T cells, was evaluated after 24 and 72 h of culture in complete medium, using the Annexin V detection test. Analysis was conducted before and after chemotherapy, and expression of the apoptotic markers CD95 (Fas) and Fas ligand (FasL) was evaluated.
Results
Higher percentages of apoptotic T cells and CD4 lymphocytes were isolated from children with acute phase CNS TB than from children in the control group (p < 0.05). This difference significantly decreased after 60 days of specific treatment. In children with CNS TB, high levels of Fas ligand expression were detected in lymphocyte populations, associated with a high percentage of Fas positive cells, before and after treatment. In contrast to the CD4+ apoptosis profile, we did not find any significant difference in total CD8+ cell apoptosis between children with acute phase disease and the control group. However, the percentage of apoptotic CD8+/CD28+ T cells was significantly higher in the children with acute phase disease than in the healthy controls.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that CNS TB in pediatric patients increases the sensitivity of CD4 and CD8+/CD28+ T cells to apoptosis, suggesting a hypoergic status of this infection. This could play a key role in the immunopathogenesis of this complicated form of TB. Interestingly, specific chemotherapy is able to normalize both apoptosis sensitivity and T-cell activation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-108
PMCID: PMC3282674  PMID: 22111973
15.  A survey of Autism knowledge and attitudes among the healthcare professionals in Lahore, Pakistan 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:107.
Background
The diagnosis and treatment of Autism in Pakistan occurs in multiple settings and is provided by variety of health professionals. Unfortunately, knowledge and awareness about Autism is low among Pakistani healthcare professionals & the presence of inaccurate and outdated beliefs regarding this disorder may compromise early detection and timely referral for interventions. The study assessed the baseline knowledge and misconceptions regarding autism among healthcare professionals in Pakistan which can impact future awareness campaigns.
Methods
Physicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists and family physicians) and non-physicians (psychologists and speech therapists) participated in this study. Knowledge of DSM-IV TR criteria for Autistic Disorder, beliefs about social, emotional, cognitive, treatment and prognosis of the disorder were assessed. Demographic information regarding the participants of the survey was also gathered.
Results
Two hundred and forty seven respondents (154 Physicians & 93 Non-physicians) participated in the study. Mean age of respondents was 33.2 years (S.D 11.63) with 53% being females. Reasonably accurate familiarity with the DSM IV-TR diagnostic criteria of Autistic Disorder was observed. However, within the professional groups, differences were found regarding the utilization of the DSM-IV-TR criteria when diagnosing Autistic Disorder. Non-Physicians were comparatively more likely to correctly identify diagnostic features of autism compared with Physicians (P-value <0.001). Significant misunderstandings of some of the salient features of autism were present in both professional groups.
Conclusion
Results suggests that current professionals in the field have an unbalanced understanding of autism due to presence of several misconceptions regarding many of the salient features of autism including developmental, cognitive and emotional features. The study has clinical implications and calls for continued education for healthcare professionals across disciplines with regards to Autism in Pakistan.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-107
PMCID: PMC3250946  PMID: 22107951
16.  Waist circumference, waist-hip ratio and waist-height ratio percentiles and central obesity among Pakistani children aged five to twelve years 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:105.
Background
Central obesity has been associated with the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in children and anthropometric indices predictive of central obesity include waist circumference (WC), waist-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-height ratio (WHtR). South Asian children have higher body fat distribution in the trunk region but the literature regarding WC and related indices is scarce in this region. The study was aimed to provide age- and gender-specific WC, WHR and WHtR smoothed percentiles, and to explore prevalence and correlates of central obesity, among Pakistani children aged five to twelve years.
Methods
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a representative multistage random cluster sample of 1860 primary school children aged five to twelve years in Lahore, Pakistan. Smoothed percentile curves were constructed for WC, WHR and WHtR by the LMS method. Central obesity was defined as having both age- and gender-specific WC percentile ≥90th and WHtR ≥0.5. Chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Multivariate logistic regression was used to quantify the independent predictors of central obesity and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% CI were obtained. Linear regression was used to explore the independent determinants of WC and WHtR. Statistical significance was considered at P < 0.05.
Results
First ever age- and gender-specific smoothed WC, WHR and WHtR reference curves for Pakistani children aged five to twelve years are presented. WC increased with age among both boys and girls. Fiftieth WC percentile curves for Pakistani children were higher as compared to those for Hong Kong and British children, and were lower as compared to those for Iranian, German and Swiss children. WHR showed a plateau pattern among boys while plateau among girls until nine years of age and decreased afterwards. WHtR was age-independent among both boys and girls, and WHtR cut-off of ≥0.5 for defining central obesity corresponded to 85th WHtR percentile irrespective of age and gender. Twelve percent children (95% CI 10.1-13.0) had a WC ≥90th percentile and 16.5% children (95% CI 14.7-18.1) had a WHtR ≥0.5 while 11% children (95% CI 8.9-11.6) had both WC ≥90th percentile and WHtR ≥0.5. Significant predictors of central obesity included higher grade, urban area with high socioeconomic status (SES), high-income neighborhood and higher parental education. Children studying in higher grade (aOR 5.11, 95% CI 1.76-14.85) and those living in urban area with high SES (aOR 82.34, 95% CI 15.76-430.31) showed a significant independent association. Urban area with high SES and higher parental education showed a significant independent association with higher WC and higher WHtR while higher grade showed a significant independent association with higher WC.
Conclusions
Comprehensive worldwide reference values are needed to define central obesity and the present study is the first one to report anthropometric indices predictive of central obesity for Pakistani school-aged children. Eleven percent children were centrally obese and strong predictors included higher grade, urban area with high SES and higher parental education. These findings support the need for developing a National strategy for childhood obesity and implementing targeted interventions, prioritizing the higher social class and involving communities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-105
PMCID: PMC3239239  PMID: 22104025
17.  A double blind, randomised placebo controlled trial of topical 2% viscous lidocaine in improving oral intake in children with painful infectious mouth conditions 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:106.
Background
Painful infectious mouth conditions are a common presentation to emergency departments. Although self limiting, painful ulcerative lesions and inflamed mucosa can decrease oral intake and can lead to dehydration. Oral analgesia is of limited efficacy and is often refused by the patient. Despite widespread use of oral 2% viscous lidocaine for many years, there is little evidence for its efficacy as an analgesic and in aiding oral intake in children with painful infectious mouth conditions. This study aims to establish the effectiveness of 2% viscous lidocaine in increasing oral intake in these children by comparing it with placebo.
Methods/Design
This study is a randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial of children between 6 months and 8 years of age with painful infectious mouth conditions defined as gingivostomatitis (herpetic or non herpetic), ulcerative pharyngitis, herpangina and hand foot and mouth disease as assessed by the treating clinician in association with a history of poor oral fluid intake. It will be conducted at a single tertiary paediatric emergency department in Melbourne Australia.
20 patients have already been randomised to receive 2% lidocaine or placebo in a pilot study to determine the sample size in a preplanned adaptive design. A further 80 patients will be randomised to receive either 2% lidocaine or placebo. The placebo agent is identical to lidocaine in terms of appearance, flavour and smell. All clinical and research staff involved, patients and their parents will be blinded to treatment allocation.
The primary endpoint is the amount of fluid ingested by each child, expressed in ml/kg, within 60 minutes from the time of administration of the study mixture. Secondary endpoints are the proportion of patients ingesting 5 ml/kg and 10 ml/kg at 30 and 60 minutes after drug administration and the incidence of adverse events. Longer term outcomes will include the proportion of patients requiring hospital admission and length of emergency department stay.
Discussion
This trial will define the role of 2% lidocaine in the treatment of painful infectious mouth conditions
Trial registration
The trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry - ACTRN12609000566235.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-106
PMCID: PMC3251034  PMID: 22104033
18.  Utility of clinical parameters to identify HIV infection in infants below ten weeks of age in South Africa: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:104.
Background
As HIV-infected infants have high mortality, the World Health Organization now recommends initiating antiretroviral therapy as early as possible in the first year of life. However, in many settings, laboratory diagnosis of HIV in infants is not readily available. We aimed to develop a clinical algorithm for HIV presumptive diagnosis in infants < 10 weeks old using screening data from the Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral therapy (CHER) study in South Africa.
HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected exposed infants < 10 weeks of age were identified through Vertical Transmission Prevention programs. Clinical and laboratory data were systematically recorded, groups were compared using Kruskal-Wallis, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Fisher's exact tests. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves were compiled using combinations of clinical findings.
Results
417 HIV-infected and 125 HIV-exposed, uninfected infants, median age 46 days (IQR 38-55), were included. The median CD4 percentage in HIV-infected infants was 34 (IQR 28-41)%. HIV-infected infants had lower weight-for-age, more lymphadenopathy, oral thrush, and hepatomegaly than exposed uninfected infants (Adjusted Odds Ratio 0.51, 8.8, 5.6 and 23.5 respectively; p < 0.001 for all). Sensitivity of individual signs was low (< 20%) but specificity high (98-100%). If any one of oral thrush, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, diaper dermatitis, weight < 50th centile are present, sensitivity for HIV infection amongst HIV-exposed infants was 86%. These algorithms performed similarly when used to predict severe immune suppression.
Conclusions
A combination of physical findings is helpful in identifying infants most likely to be HIV-infected. This may inform management algorithms and provide guidance for focused laboratory testing in some settings, and should be further validated in these settings and elsewhere.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-104
PMCID: PMC3258191  PMID: 22103994
19.  Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis presenting as fever of unknown origin: case report 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:103.
Background
Fever of unknown origin (FUO) can be defined as a body temperature higher than 38.3°C on several occasions over more than 3 weeks, the diagnosis of which remains uncertain after 1 week of evaluation. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system with a wide range of clinical manifestations. The highest incidence of ADEM is observed during childhood and it usually occurs following a viral or bacterial infection or, more rarely, following a vaccination, or without a preceding cause.
Case presentation
Here, we describe an atypical case of ADEM that initially manifested as several weeks of FUO in a fifteen years old boy.
Conclusions
This case report suggests a new possible syndromic association between ADEM and FUO, which should be considered in the clinical examination of patients with FUO, especially in the presence of also modest neurologic or neuropsychiatric symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-103
PMCID: PMC3228665  PMID: 22074226
20.  Systemic hydrocortisone to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants (the SToP-BPD study); a multicenter randomized placebo controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:102.
Background
Randomized controlled trials have shown that treatment of chronically ventilated preterm infants after the first week of life with dexamethasone reduces the incidence of the combined outcome death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). However, there are concerns that dexamethasone may increase the risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcome. Hydrocortisone has been suggested as an alternative therapy. So far no randomized controlled trial has investigated its efficacy when administered after the first week of life to ventilated preterm infants.
Methods/Design
The SToP-BPD trial is a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study including 400 very low birth weight infants (gestational age < 30 weeks and/or birth weight < 1250 grams), who are ventilator dependent at a postnatal age of 7 - 14 days. Hydrocortisone (cumulative dose 72.5 mg/kg) or placebo is administered during a 22 day tapering schedule. Primary outcome measure is the combined outcome mortality or BPD at 36 weeks postmenstrual age. Secondary outcomes are short term effects on the pulmonary condition, adverse effects during hospitalization, and long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae assessed at 2 years corrected gestational age. Analysis will be on an intention to treat basis.
Discussion
This trial will determine the efficacy and safety of postnatal hydrocortisone administration at a moderately early postnatal onset compared to placebo for the reduction of the combined outcome mortality and BPD at 36 weeks postmenstrual age in ventilator dependent preterm infants.
Trial registration number
Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR2768
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-102
PMCID: PMC3245429  PMID: 22070744
21.  Secretory phospholipase A2 pathway in various types of lung injury in neonates and infants: a multicentre translational study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:101.
Background
Secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) is a group of enzymes involved in lung tissue inflammation and surfactant catabolism. sPLA2 plays a role in adults affected by acute lung injury and seems a promising therapeutic target. Preliminary data allow foreseeing the importance of such enzyme in some critical respiratory diseases in neonates and infants, as well. Our study aim is to clarify the role of sPLA2 and its modulators in the pathogenesis and clinical severity of hyaline membrane disease, infection related respiratory failure, meconium aspiration syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome. sPLA2 genes will also be sequenced and possible genetic involvement will be analysed.
Methods/Design
Multicentre, international, translational study, including several paediatric and neonatal intensive care units and one coordinating laboratory. Babies affected by the above mentioned conditions will be enrolled: broncho-alveolar lavage fluid, serum and whole blood will be obtained at definite time-points during the disease course. Several clinical, respiratory and outcome data will be recorded. Laboratory researchers who perform the bench part of the study will be blinded to the clinical data.
Discussion
This study, thanks to its multicenter design, will clarify the role(s) of sPLA2 and its pathway in these diseases: sPLA2 might be the crossroad between inflammation and surfactant dysfunction. This may represent a crucial target for new anti-inflammatory therapies but also a novel approach to protect surfactant or spare it, improving alveolar stability, lung mechanics and gas exchange.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-101
PMCID: PMC3247178  PMID: 22067747
22.  Participation in physical play and leisure: developing a theory- and evidence-based intervention for children with motor impairments 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:100.
Background
Children with motor impairments (e.g. difficulties with motor control, muscle tone or balance) experience significant difficulties in participating in physical play and leisure. Current interventions are often poorly defined, lack explicit hypotheses about why or how they might work, and have insufficient evidence about effectiveness. This project will identify (i) the 'key ingredients' of an effective intervention to increase participation in physical play and leisure in children with motor impairments; and (ii) how these ingredients can be combined in a feasible and acceptable intervention.
Methods/Design
The project draws on the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and the UK Medical Research Council guidance for developing 'complex interventions'. There will be five steps: 1) identifying biomedical, personal and environmental factors proposed to predict children's participation in physical play and leisure; 2) developing an explicit model of the key predictors; 3) selecting intervention strategies to target the predictors, and specifying the pathways to change; 4) operationalising the strategies in a feasible and acceptable intervention; and 5) modelling the intervention processes and outcomes within single cases.
Discussion
The primary output from this project will be a detailed protocol for an intervention. The intervention, if subsequently found to be effective, will support children with motor difficulties to attain life-long well-being and participation in society. The project will also be an exemplar of methodology for a systematic development of non-drug interventions for children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-100
PMCID: PMC3219724  PMID: 22061203
23.  Determinants of rapid weight gain during infancy: baseline results from the NOURISH randomised controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:99.
Background
Rapid weight gain in infancy is an important predictor of obesity in later childhood. Our aim was to determine which modifiable variables are associated with rapid weight gain in early life.
Methods
Subjects were healthy infants enrolled in NOURISH, a randomised, controlled trial evaluating an intervention to promote positive early feeding practices. This analysis used the birth and baseline data for NOURISH. Birthweight was collected from hospital records and infants were also weighed at baseline assessment when they were aged 4-7 months and before randomisation. Infant feeding practices and demographic variables were collected from the mother using a self administered questionnaire. Rapid weight gain was defined as an increase in weight-for-age Z-score (using WHO standards) above 0.67 SD from birth to baseline assessment, which is interpreted clinically as crossing centile lines on a growth chart. Variables associated with rapid weight gain were evaluated using a multivariable logistic regression model.
Results
Complete data were available for 612 infants (88% of the total sample recruited) with a mean (SD) age of 4.3 (1.0) months at baseline assessment. After adjusting for mother's age, smoking in pregnancy, BMI, and education and infant birthweight, age, gender and introduction of solid foods, the only two modifiable factors associated with rapid weight gain to attain statistical significance were formula feeding [OR = 1.72 (95%CI 1.01-2.94), P = 0.047] and feeding on schedule [OR = 2.29 (95%CI 1.14-4.61), P = 0.020]. Male gender and lower birthweight were non-modifiable factors associated with rapid weight gain.
Conclusions
This analysis supports the contention that there is an association between formula feeding, feeding to schedule and weight gain in the first months of life. Mechanisms may include the actual content of formula milk (e.g. higher protein intake) or differences in feeding styles, such as feeding to schedule, which increase the risk of overfeeding.
Trial Registration
Australian Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12608000056392
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-99
PMCID: PMC3226648  PMID: 22054415
24.  The VICI-trial: high frequency oscillation versus conventional mechanical ventilation in newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: an international multicentre randomized controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:98.
Background
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a severe congenital anomaly of the diaphragm resulting in pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension. It is associated with a high risk of mortality and pulmonary morbidity. Previous retrospective studies have reported high frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFO) to reduce pulmonary morbidity in infants with CDH, while others indicated HFO to be associated with worse outcome. We therefore aimed to develop a randomized controlled trial to compare initial ventilatory treatment with high-frequency oscillation and conventional ventilation in infants with CDH.
Methods/design
This trial is designed as a multicentre trial in which 400 infants (200 in each arm) will be included. Primary outcome measures are BPD, described as oxygen dependency by day 28 according to the definition of Jobe and Bancalari, and/or mortality by day 28. All liveborn infants with CDH born at a gestational age of over 34 weeks and no other severe congenital anomalies are eligible for inclusion. Parental informed consent is asked antenatally and the allocated ventilation mode starts within two hours after birth. Laboratory samples of blood, urine and tracheal aspirate are taken at the first day of life, day 3, day 7, day 14 and day 28 to evaluate laboratory markers for ventilator-induced lung injury and pulmonary hypertension.
Discussion
To date, randomized clinical trials are lacking in the field of CDH. The VICI-trial, as the first randomized clinical trial in the field of CDH, may provide further insight in ventilation strategies in CDH patient. This may hopefully prevent mortality and morbidity.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR1310
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-98
PMCID: PMC3226543  PMID: 22047542
25.  Effects of a physical education intervention on cognitive function in young children: randomized controlled pilot study 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:97.
Background
Randomized controlled trials (RCT) are required to test relationships between physical activity and cognition in children, but these must be informed by exploratory studies. This study aimed to inform future RCT by: conducting practical utility and reliability studies to identify appropriate cognitive outcome measures; piloting an RCT of a 10 week physical education (PE) intervention which involved 2 hours per week of aerobically intense PE compared to 2 hours of standard PE (control).
Methods
64 healthy children (mean age 6.2 yrs SD 0.3; 33 boys) recruited from 6 primary schools. Outcome measures were the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB), the Attention Network Test (ANT), the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) and the short form of the Connor's Parent Rating Scale (CPRS:S). Physical activity was measured habitually and during PE sessions using the Actigraph accelerometer.
Results
Test- retest intraclass correlations from CANTAB Spatial Span (r 0.51) and Spatial Working Memory Errors (0.59) and ANT Reaction Time (0.37) and ANT Accuracy (0.60) were significant, but low. Physical activity was significantly higher during intervention vs. control PE sessions (p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences between intervention and control group changes in CAS scores. Differences between intervention and control groups favoring the intervention were observed for CANTAB Spatial Span, CANTAB Spatial Working Memory Errors, and ANT Accuracy.
Conclusions
The present study has identified practical and age-appropriate cognitive and behavioral outcome measures for future RCT, and identified that schools are willing to increase PE time.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN70853932 (http://www.controlled-trials.com)
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-97
PMCID: PMC3217848  PMID: 22034850
COGNITION; EXECUTIVE FUNCTION; CHILDREN; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; EXERCISE

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