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1.  The Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Insertion/Deletion polymorphism is not associated with an increased risk of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia in ventilated very low birth weight infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:26.
Background
The ACE gene contains a polymorphism consisting of either the presence (insertion, I) or absence (deletion, D) of a 287 bp alu repeat in intron 16. The D allele is associated with increased ACE activity in both tissue and plasma. The DD genotype is associated with risk of developing ARDS and mortality. The frequency of the D allele is higher in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis and berylliosis. The role of this polymorphism has not been studied in the development of BPD in the premature newborn.
Methods
ACE I/D genotype was determined in 245 (194 African-American, 47 Caucasian and 4 Hispanic) mechanically ventilated infants weighing less than 1250 grams at birth and compared to outcome (death and/or development of BPD).
Results
The incidence of the D allele in the study population was 0.58. Eighty-eight (35.9%) infants were homozygous DD, 107 (43.7%) were heterozygous ID and 50 (20.4%) were homozygous II. There were no significant differences between genotype groups with respect to ethnic origin, birth weight, gestation, or gender. There was no effect of the ACE I/D polymorphism on mortality or development of BPD (O2 on 28 days or 36 weeks PCA). Secondary outcomes (intraventricular hemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia) similarly were not influenced by the ACE ID polymorphism.
Conclusions
The ACE I/D polymorphism does not significantly influence the development of BPD in ventilated infants less than 1250 grams.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-26
PMCID: PMC544573  PMID: 15610555
2.  Hospitalisations for respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis in Akershus, Norway, 1993–2000: a population-based retrospective study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:25.
Background
RSV is recognized as the most important cause of serious lower respiratory tract illness in infants and young children worldwide leading to hospitalisation in a great number of cases, especially in certain high-risk groups. The aims of the present study were to identify risk groups, outcome and incidences of hospitalisation for RSV bronchiolitis in Norwegian children under two years of age and to compare the results with other studies.
Methods
We performed a population-based retrospective survey for the period 1993–2000 in children under two years of age hospitalised for RSV bronchiolitis.
Results
822 admissions from 764 patients were identified, 93% had one hospitalisation, while 7% had two or more hospitalisations. Mean annual hospitalisation incidences were 21.7 per 1.000 children under one year of age, 6.8 per 1.000 children at 1–2 years of age and 14.1 per 1.000 children under two years of age. 77 children (85 admissions) belonged to one or more high-risk groups such as preterm birth, trisomy 21 and congenital heart disease. For preterm children under one year of age, at 1–2 years of age and under two years of age hospitalisation incidences per 1.000 children were 23.5, 8.7 and 16.2 respectively. The incidence for children under two years of age with trisomy 21 was 153.8 per 1.000 children.
Conclusion
While the overall hospitalisation incidences and outcome of RSV bronchiolitis were in agreement with other studies, hospitalisation incidences for preterm children were lower than in many other studies. Age on admission for preterm children, when corrected for prematurity, was comparable to low-risk children. Length of hospitalisation and morbidity was high in both preterm children, children with a congenital heart disease and in children with trisomy 21, the last group being at particular high risk for severe disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-25
PMCID: PMC544884  PMID: 15606912
3.  Psychological health of family caregivers of children admitted at birth to a NICU and healthy children: a population-based cross-sectional survey 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:24.
Background
There is little information in the research literature on how parents of children who spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) adapt psychologically to the demands of caregiving beyond the initial hospitalization period. Our aim was to compare parents of NICU children with parents of healthy full-term children, looking specifically at the relationship between parental psychosocial health and child characteristics, as well as the relationship between important predictor variables and psychosocial health.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was sent to parents as their child turned 3 1/2 years of age. The setting was the province of British Columbia, Canada. The sample included all babies admitted to tertiary level neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at birth over a 16-month period, and a consecutive sample of healthy babies. The main outcome was the SF-36 mental component summary (MCS) score. Predictor variables included caregiver gender; caregiver age; marital status; parental education; annual household income; child health status; child behavior; birth-related risk factors; caregiver strain; and family function.
Results
Psychosocial health of NICU parents did not differ from parents of healthy children. Child health status and behavior for NICU and healthy children were strongly related to MCS score in bivariate analysis. In the pooled multivariate model, parental age, low family function, high caregiver strain, and child's internalizing and externalizing behavioral symptoms were independently associated with lower psychosocial health. In addition, female gender was associated with lower psychosocial health in the NICU group, whereas lower education and child's problem with quality of life indicated lower psychosocial health in the healthy baby group.
Conclusions
Overall, parental gender, family functioning and caregiver strain played influential roles in parental psychosocial health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-24
PMCID: PMC544865  PMID: 15598353
4.  Healthcare professionals' perceptions of pain in infants at risk for neurological impairment 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:23.
Background
To determine whether healthcare professionals perceive the pain of infants differently due to their understanding of that infant's level of risk for neurological impairment.
Method
Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU's) at two tertiary pediatric centers. Ninety-five healthcare professionals who practice in the NICU (50 nurses, 19 physicians, 17 respiratory therapists, 9 other) participated. They rated the pain (0–10 scale and 0–6 Faces Pain Scale), distress (0–10), effectiveness of cuddling to relieve pain (0–10) and time to calm without intervention (seconds) for nine video clips of neonates receiving a heel stick. Prior to each rating, they were provided with descriptions that suggested the infant had mild, moderate or severe risk for neurological impairment. Ratings were examined as a function of the level of risk described.
Results
Professionals' ratings of pain, distress, and time to calm did not vary significantly with level of risk, but ratings of the effectiveness of cuddling were significantly lower as risk increased [F (2,93) = 4.4, p = .02]. No differences in ratings were found due to participants' age, gender or site of study. Physicians' ratings were significantly lower than nurses' across ratings.
Conclusion
Professionals provided with visual information regarding an infants' pain during a procedure did not display the belief that infants' level of risk for neurological impairment affected their pain experience. Professionals' estimates of the effectiveness of a nonpharmacological intervention did differ due to level of risk.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-23
PMCID: PMC534106  PMID: 15541179
5.  Low birth weight and longitudinal trends of cardiovascular risk factor variables from childhood to adolescence: the bogalusa heart study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:22.
Background
Several studies have linked low birth weight to adverse levels of cardiovascular risk factors and related diseases. However, information is sparse at a community level in the U.S. general population regarding the effects of low birth weight on the longitudinal trends in cardiovascular risk factor variables measured concurrently from childhood to adolescence.
Methods
Longitudinal analysis was performed retrospectively on data collected from the Bogalusa Heart Study cohort (n = 1141; 57% white, 43% black) followed from childhood to adolescence by repeated surveys between 1973 and 1996. Subjects were categorized into low birth weight (below the race-specific 10th percentile; n = 123) and control (between race-specific 50–75th percentile; n = 296) groups.
Results
Low birth weight group vs control group had lower mean HDL cholesterol (p = 0.05) and higher LDL cholesterol (p = 0.05) during childhood (ages 4–11 years); higher glucose (p = 0.02) during adolescence. Yearly rates of change from childhood to adolescence in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.02), LDL cholesterol (p = 0.05), and glucose (p = 0.07) were faster, and body mass index (p = 0.03) slower among the low birth weight group. In a multivariate analysis, low birth weight was related independently and adversely to longitudinal trends in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.004), triglycerides (p = 0.03), and glucose (p = 0.07), regardless of race or gender. These adverse associations became amplified with age.
Conclusions
Low birth weight is characterized by adverse developmental trends in metabolic and hemodynamic variables during childhood and adolescence; and thus, it may be an early risk factor in this regard.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-22
PMCID: PMC534105  PMID: 15527498
6.  Parents' reported preference scores for childhood atopic dermatitis disease states 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:21.
Background
We sought to elicit preference weights from parents for health states corresponding to children with various levels of severity of atopic dermatitis. We also evaluated the hypothesis that parents with children who had been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis would assign different preferences to the health state scenarios compared with parents who did not have a child with atopic dermatitis.
Methods
Subjects were parents of children aged 3 months to 18 years. The sample was derived from the General Panel, Mommies Sub-Panel, and Chronic Illness Sub-Panel of Harris Interactive. Participants rated health scenarios for atopic dermatitis, asthma, and eyeglasses on a visual analog scale, imagining a child was experiencing the described state.
Results
A total of 3539 parents completed the survey. Twenty-nine percent had a child with a history of atopic dermatitis. Mean preference scores for atopic dermatitis were as follows: mild, 91 (95% confidence interval [CI], 90.7 to 91.5); mild/moderate, 84 (95%CI, 83.5 to 84.4); moderate, 73 (95%CI, 72.5 to 73.6); moderate/severe, 61 (95%CI, 60.6 to 61.8); severe, 49 (95% CI, 48.7 to 50.1); asthma, 58 (95%CI, 57.4 to 58.8); and eyeglasses, 87(95%CI, 86.3 to 87.4).
Conclusions
Parents perceive that atopic dermatitis has a negative effect on quality of life that increases with disease severity. Estimates of parents' preferences can provide physicians with insight into the value that parents place on their children's treatment and can be used to evaluate new medical therapies for atopic dermatitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-21
PMCID: PMC529264  PMID: 15491500
7.  Morphine for elective endotracheal intubation in neonates: a randomized trial [ISRCTN43546373] 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:20.
Background
Elective endotracheal intubations are still commonly performed without premedication in many institutions. The hypothesis tested in this study was that morphine given prior to elective intubations in neonates would decrease fluctuations in vital signs, shorten the duration of intubation and reduce the number of attempts.
Methods
From December 1999 to September 2000, infants of all gestations admitted to a level III neonatal intensive care unit and requiring an elective endotracheal intubation were randomly assigned to receive morphine 0.2 mg/kg IV or placebo 5 minutes before intubation. Duration of severe hypoxemia (HR< 90/min and Sp02<85%), duration of procedure, duration of hypoxemia (Sp02<85%), number of attempts and change in mean blood pressure were compared between groups.
Results
34 infants (median 989 g and 28 weeks gestation) were included. The duration of severe hypoxemia was similar between groups. Duration of procedure, duration of hypoxemia, number of attempts and increases in mean blood pressure were also similar between groups. 94% of infants experienced bradycardia during the procedure.
Conclusion
We failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of morphine in reducing the physiological instability or time needed to perform elective intubations. Alternatives, perhaps with more rapid onset of action, should be considered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-20
PMCID: PMC524358  PMID: 15461825
8.  High-dose ibuprofen therapy associated with esophageal ulceration after pneumonectomy in a patient with cystic fibrosis: a case report 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:19.
Background
Lung disease in patients with cystic fibrosis is thought to develop as a result of airway inflammation, infection, and obstruction. Pulmonary therapies for cystic fibrosis that reduce airway inflammation include corticosteroids, rhDNase, antibiotics, and high-dose ibuprofen. Despite evidence that high-dose ibuprofen slows the progression of lung disease in patients with cystic fibrosis, many clinicians have chosen not to use this therapy because of concerns regarding potential side effects, especially gastrointestinal bleeding. However, studies have shown a low incidence of gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding in patients with cystic fibrosis who have been treated with high-dose ibuprofen.
Case presentation
The described case illustrates a life-threatening upper gastrointestinal bleed that may have resulted from high-dose ibuprofen therapy in a patient with CF who had undergone a pneumonectomy. Mediastinal shift post-pneumonectomy distorted the patient's esophageal anatomy and may have caused decreased esophageal motility, which led to prolonged contact of the ibuprofen with the esophagus. The concentrated effect of the ibuprofen, as well as its systemic effects, probably contributed to the occurrence of the bleed in this patient.
Conclusions
This report demonstrates that gastrointestinal tract anatomical abnormalities or dysmotility may be contraindications for therapy with high-dose ibuprofen in patients with cystic fibrosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-19
PMCID: PMC518969  PMID: 15363106
cystic fibrosis; esophageal ulceration; gastrointestinal bleed; ibuprofen; pneumonectomy
9.  Lactobacillus casei strain GG in the treatment of infants with acute watery diarrhea: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial [ISRCTN67363048] 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:18.
Background
Adjuvant therapy to ORT with probiotic bacteria for infants with acute watery diarrhea has been under active investigation. Most studies have been done in the developed world showing benefit only for viral mild gastroenteritis. We evaluated the effect of a milk formula containing one billion (109) cfu/ml of Lactobacillus casei strain GG (LGG) upon duration and severity of diarrhea in infants in an environment with more severe acute diarrhea, where etiologic agents other than rotavirus are involved more frequently, and where mixed infections are more prevalent.
Methods
Male infants aged 3–36 months brought for treatment of acute watery diarrhea of less than 48 hours were eligible. After rehydration was completed with the WHO's oral rehydration solution, patients were randomly assigned to receive a milk formula either containing LGG or not. Stool volume was periodically measured using a devise suited to collect stools separate from urine. Duration of diarrhea was estimated based on stools physical characteristics.
Results
Eighty nine patients received the placebo milk formula and ninety received the LGG containing formula. Both groups were comparable in their baseline characteristics. Total stool output was significantly larger (p = 0.047) in the LGG group (247.8 ml/kg) than in the placebo group (195.0 ml/kg). No significant differences were found in duration of diarrhea (58.5 hours with LGG vs. 50.4 hours with placebo), rate of treatment failure (21.1% with LGG vs. 18.0% with placebo), and proportion of patients with unresolved diarrhea after 120 hours (12.2% with LGG vs. 12.5% with placebo). The rate of stools with reducing substances after 24 hours of treatment increased significantly in both groups (from 41.4% to 72.2% with LGG and from 45.9% to 68.0% with placebo).
Conclusion
This study did not show a positive effect of LGG on the clinical course of acute watery diarrhea. Positive beneficial effects of LGG, as had been reported elsewhere, could have been masked in our study by worsening diarrhea due to transient lactose malabsorption. Further studies with low-lactose or non-lactose conveyors of LGG are desirable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-18
PMCID: PMC517719  PMID: 15345099
10.  Glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition in very low birth weight infants. Design of a double-blind randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN73254583] 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:17.
Background
Enteral feeding of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is a challenge, since metabolic demands are high and administration of enteral nutrition is limited by immaturity of the gastrointestinal tract. The amino acid glutamine plays an important role in maintaining functional integrity of the gut. In addition, glutamine is utilised at a high rate by cells of the immune system. In critically ill patients, glutamine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid. VLBW infants may be especially susceptible to glutamine depletion as nutritional supply of glutamine is limited in the first weeks after birth. Glutamine depletion has negative effects on functional integrity of the gut and leads to immunosuppression. This double-blind randomised controlled trial is designed to investigate the effect of glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition on feeding tolerance, infectious morbidity and short-term outcome in VLBW infants. Furthermore, an attempt is made to elucidate the role of glutamine in postnatal adaptation of the gut and modulation of the immune response.
Methods
VLBW infants (gestational age <32 weeks and/or birth weight <1500 g) are randomly allocated to receive enteral glutamine supplementation (0.3 g/kg/day) or isonitrogenous placebo supplementation between day 3 and 30 of life. Primary outcome is time to full enteral feeding (defined as a feeding volume ≥ 120 mL/kg/day). Furthermore, incidence of serious infections and short-term outcome are evaluated. The effect of glutamine on postnatal adaptation of the gut is investigated by measuring intestinal permeability and determining faecal microflora. The role of glutamine in modulation of the immune response is investigated by determining plasma Th1/Th2 cytokine concentrations following in vitro whole blood stimulation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-17
PMCID: PMC517718  PMID: 15341667
11.  Syndromes with congenital brittle bones 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:16.
Background
There is no clear definition of osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). The most widely used classification of OI divides the disease in four types, although it has been suggested that there may be at least 12 forms of OI. These forms have been named with numbers, eponyms or descriptive names. Some of these syndromes can actually be considered congenital forms of brittle bones resembling OI (SROI).
Discussion
A review of different syndromes with congenital brittle bones published in the literature is presented. Syndromes are classified in "OI" (those secondary to mutations in the type I pro-collagen genes), and "syndromes resembling OI" (those secondary to mutations other that the type I pro-collagen genes, identified or not). A definition for OI is proposed as a syndrome of congenital brittle bones secondary to mutations in the genes codifying for pro-collagen genes (COL1A1 and COL1A2).
Summary
A debate about the definition of OI and a possible clinical and prognostic classification are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-16
PMCID: PMC516444  PMID: 15339338
classification; osteogenesis imperfecta; brittle bones; congenital
12.  Treatment of Retinopathy of Prematurity with topical ketorolac tromethamine: a preliminary study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:15.
Background
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a common retinal neovascular disorder of premature infants. It is of variable severity, usually heals with mild or no sequelae, but may progress to blindness from retinal detachments or severe retinal scar formation. This is a preliminary report of the effectiveness and safety of a new and original use of topical ketorolac in preterm newborn to prevent the progression of ROP to the more severe forms of this disease.
Methods
From January 2001 to December 2002, all fifty nine preterm newborns with birthweight less than 1250 grams or gestational age less than 30 weeks of gestational age admitted to neonatal intensive care were eligible for treatment with topical ketorolac (0.25 milligrams every 8 hours in each eye). The historical comparison group included all 53 preterm newborns, with the same inclusion criteria, admitted between January 1999 and December 2000.
Results
Groups were comparable in terms of weight distribution, Apgar score at 5 minutes, incidence of sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage and necrotizing enterocolitis. The duration of oxygen therapy was significantly longer in the control group. In the ketorolac group, among 43 children that were alive at discharge, one (2.3%) developed threshold ROP and cryotherapy was necessary. In the comparison group 35 children survived, and six child (17%) needed cryotherapy (Relative Risk 0.14, 95%CI 0.00 to 0.80, p = 0.041). Adjusting by duration of oxygen therapy did not significantly change these results. Adverse effects attributable to ketorolac were not detected.
Conclusions
This preliminary report suggests that ketorolac in the form of an ophthalmic solution can reduce the risk of developing severe ROP in very preterm newborns, without producing significant adverse side effects. These results, although promising, should be interpreted with caution because of the weakness of the study design. This is an inexpensive and simple intervention that might ameliorate the progression of a disease with devastating consequences for children and their families. We believe that next logical step would be to assess the effectiveness of this intervention in a randomized controlled trial of adequate sample size.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-15
PMCID: PMC514707  PMID: 15298714
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP); Ketorolac; Cryotherapy; Preterm newborns; non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
13.  Oxidative stress in term small for gestational age neonates born to undernourished mothers: a case control study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:14.
Background
The objective of this study was to assess the status of oxidative stress in term small for gestational age (SGA) newborn infants born to undernourished mothers by estimating levels of erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, reduced glutathione, and serum malondialdehyde (MDA) in cord blood and comparing them to healthy appropriate for gestational age (AGA) controls. This was done in a case control design at a tertiary level teaching hospital.
Methods
We included 20 singleton healthy SGA newborn infants born between 38–40 weeks to undernourished mothers with a) post-pregnancy weight < 50 kg or height < 145 cm AND b) hemoglobin < 8.0 g/dL or serum albumin < 2.5 g/dL. An equal number of age and sex matched AGA newborn infants born to healthy mothers served as Controls. Mothers with other risk factors and newborns with complications during delivery or immediate newborn period were excluded. MDA, SOD, catalase and reduced glutathione were measured in the cord blood of all neonates and compared between the groups (unpaired t test); levels were also correlated to maternal weight, height, hemoglobin, and albumin by both univariate (pearsonian correlation) and multivariate (multiple regression) analysis.
Results
The activity of MDA was increased (5.33 ± 0.72 vs 2.55 ± 0.22 nmol/mL; P < 0.0001) while levels of superoxide dismutase (493.6 ± 54.9 vs. 786.8 ± 79.1 U/g Hb; P < 0.0001), catalase (1.48 ± 0.24 vs. 2.31 ± 0.20 U/g Hb; P < 0.0001) and reduced glutathione (2.84 ± 0.37 vs 6.42 ± 0.23 Umol/g Hb, P < 0.0001) were decreased in term SGA born to undernourished mothers as compared to term AGA born to healthy mothers. On univariate analysis, all the markers of oxidative stress correlated significantly with maternal parameters (P < 0.005). On multivariate analysis, maternal albumin and hemoglobin accounted for maximum correlation with the markers of oxidative stress.
Conclusions
Intrauterine malnutrition is associated with significant oxidative stress in small for gestational age neonates born at term to malnourished mothers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-14
PMCID: PMC487903  PMID: 15260886
14.  Clinical utility of antinuclear antibody tests in children 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:13.
Background
Antinuclear antibody (ANA) tests are frequently used to screen children for chronic inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the diagnostic utility of this test is limited because of the large number of healthy children who have low-titer positive tests. We sought to determine the clinical utility of ANA tests in screening children for rheumatic disease and to determine whether there are specific signs or symptoms that enhance the clinical utility of ANA tests in children.
Methods
We undertook a retrospective analysis of 509 new patient referrals. Charts of patients referred because of results of ANA testing were selected for further analysis. Children with JRA, SLE, and other conditions were compared using demographic data, chief complaints at the time of presentation, and ANA titers.
Results
One hundred ten patients were referred because of an ANA test interpreted as positive. Ten patients were subsequently diagnosed with SLE. In addition, we identified one patient with mixed connective tissue disease, and an additional child with idiopathic Raynaud's phenomenon. Eighteen children of the children referred for a positive ANA test had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Another 80 children with positive ANA tests were identified, the majority of whom (n = 39, 49%) had musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Neither the presence nor the titer of ANA served to distinguish children with JRA from children with other musculoskeletal conditions. Children with JRA were readily identified on the basis of the history and physical examination. Children with SLE were therefore compared with children with positive ANA tests who did not have JRA, designated the "comparison group." Non-urticarial rash was more common in children with SLE than in children without chronic inflammatory disease (p = 0.007). Children with SLE were also older (mean ± sd = 14.2 ± 2.5 years) than the comparison group (11.0 ± 3.6 years; p = 0.001). ANA titer was also a significant discriminator between children with SLE and children without chronic inflammatory disease. The median ANA titer in children with SLE was 1: 1,080 compared with 1:160 for other children (p < 0.0001). ANA titers of ≥1,080 had a positive predictive value for SLE of 1.0 while titers of ≤1: 360 had a negative predictive value for lupus of 0.84.
Conclusion
Age and ANA titer assist in discriminating children with SLE from children with other conditions. ANA tests are of no diagnostic utility in either making or excluding the diagnosis of JRA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-13
PMCID: PMC476739  PMID: 15245579
15.  Correction: Infant mortality trends in a region of Belarus, 1980–2000 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:12.
After the publication of this work [1], we noted that we inadvertently failed to acknowledge funding support for this project.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-12
PMCID: PMC476738
16.  Human Cytomegalovirus: detection of congenital and perinatal infection in Argentina 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:11.
Background
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most commonly found agents of congenital infections. Primary maternal infection is associated with risk of symptomatic congenital diseases, and high morbidity is frequently associated with very low birth weight. Neonates with asymptomatic infection develop various sequelae during infancy. This is the first Argentine study performed in neonates with congenital and postnatal HCMV infection. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique with different pairs of primers, to detect cytomegalovirus isolated in tissue cultures and directly in urine and dried blood spot (DBS) specimens. Results were compared with IgM detection.
Methods
The study was performed between 1999 and 2001 on routine samples in the Laboratory. A total of 61 urine and 56 serum samples were selected from 61 newborns/infants, 33 patients whose samples were analyzed during the first two to three weeks of life were considered congenital infections; the remaining 28 patients whose samples were taken later than the third week were grouped as perinatal infections, although only in 4 the perinatal transmission of infection was determined unequivocally
Cytomegalovirus diagnosis was made by isolating the virus from urine samples in human foreskin fibroblast cells.
Three different primer pairs directed to IE, LA and gB genes were used for the HCMV PCR assay in viral isolates. Subsequently, PCR and nested PCR (nPCR) assays with gB primers were performed directly in urine and in 11 samples of dried blood spot (DBS) on Guthrie Card, these results were then compared with serology.
Results
The main clinical manifestations of the 33 patients with congenital infection were purpura, jaundice, hepatomegaly and anaemia. Three patients presented low birth weight as single symptom, 10, intracranial calcifications, and 2, kidney failure. In the 28 patients grouped as with perinatal infection, anaemia, hepatosplenomegaly and enzymatic alteration were predominant, and 4 patients were HIV positive.
The primers used to amplify the gB region had a PCR positivity rate of 100%, whereas those that amplified IE and LA regions had a PCR positivity rate of 54% and 61% respectively, in CMV isolates.
Amplification by PCR of urine samples (with no previous DNA extraction), using primers for the gB region, detected 34/61 positive samples. Out of the 33 samples from patients with congenital infection, 24 (73%) were positive. When nPCR was used in these samples, all were positive, whereas in the remaining 28 patients, two negative cases were found.
Cytomegalovirus DNA detection in 11 samples was also carried out in DBS: 7 DBS samples were positive and 4 were negative.
Conclusions
Primers directed to the gB fragment region were the best choice for the detection of CMV DNA in positive isolates. In congenital infections, direct PCR in urine was positive in a high percentage (73%) of samples; however, in patients grouped as with perinatal infection only 36% of the cases were positive. With n-PCR, total sample positivity reached 97%. PCR technique performed in DBS allowed identifying congenital infection in four patients and to be confirmed in 3. These results show the value of nPCR for the detection of all cases of CMV infection. The assay offers the advantage that it may be performed within the normal working day and provides reliable results in a much shorter time frame than that required for either traditional tissue culture or the shell-viral assay.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-11
PMCID: PMC449715  PMID: 15214967
17.  Elevated platelet-derived growth factor-BB concentrations in premature neonates who develop chronic lung disease 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:10.
Background
Chronic lung disease (CLD) in the preterm newborn is associated with inflammation and fibrosis. Platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), a potent chemotactic growth factor, may mediate the fibrotic component of CLD. The objectives of this study were to determine if tracheal aspirate (TA) concentrations of PDGF-BB increase the first 2 weeks of life in premature neonates undergoing mechanical ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), its relationship to the development of CLD, pulmonary hemorrhage (PH) and its relationship to airway colonization with Ureaplasma urealyticum (Uu).
Methods
Infants with a birth weight less than 1500 grams who required mechanical ventilation for RDS were enrolled into this study with parental consent. Tracheal aspirates were collected daily during clinically indicated suctioning. Uu cultures were performed on TA collected in the first week of life. TA supernatants were assayed for PDGF-BB and secretory component of IgA concentrations using ELISA techniques.
Results
Fifty premature neonates were enrolled into the study. Twenty-eight infants were oxygen dependent at 28 days of life and 16 infants were oxygen dependent at 36 weeks postconceptual age. PDGF-BB concentrations peaked between 4 and 6 days of life. Maximum PDGF-BB concentrations were significantly higher in infants who developed CLD or died from respiratory failure. PH was associated with increased risk of CLD and was associated with higher PDGF-BB concentrations. There was no correlation between maximum PDGF-BB concentrations and Uu isolation from the airway.
Conclusions
PDGF-BB concentrations increase in TAs of infants who undergo mechanical ventilation for RDS during the first 2 weeks of life and maximal concentrations are greater in those infants who subsequently develop CLD. Elevation in lung PDGF-BB may play a role in the development of CLD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-10
PMCID: PMC434507  PMID: 15198807
18.  Comparisons of mortality and pre-discharge respiratory outcomes in small-for-gestational-age and appropriate-for-gestational-age premature infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:9.
Background
There are differences in the literature regarding outcomes of premature small-for-gestational-age (SGA) and appropriate-for gestational-age (AGA) infants, possibly due to failure to take into account gestational age at birth.
Objective
To compare mortality and respiratory morbidity of SGA and AGA premature newborn infants.
Design/Methods
A retrospective study was done of the 2,487 infants born without congenital anomalies at ≤36 weeks of gestation and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at John Dempsey Hospital, between Jan. 1992 and Dec. 1999. Recent (1994–96) U.S. birth weight percentiles for gestational age (GA), race and gender were used to classify neonates as SGA (<10th percentile for GA) or AGA (10th–90th percentile for GA). Using multivariate logistic regression and survival analyses to control for GA, SGA and AGA infants were compared for mortality and respiratory morbidity.
Results
Controlling for GA, premature SGA infants were at a higher risk for mortality (Odds ratio 3.1, P = 0.001) and at lower risk of respiratory distress syndrome (OR = 0.71, p = 0.02) than AGA infants. However multivariate logistic regression modeling found that the odds of having respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) varied between SGA and AGA infants by GA. There was no change in RDS risk in SGA infants at GA ≤ 32 wk (OR = 1.27, 95% CI 0.32 – 1.98) but significantly decreased risk for RDS at GA > 32 wk (OR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.27 – 0.63; p < 0.01). After controlling for GA, SGA infants were observed to be at a significantly higher risk for developing chronic lung disease as compared to AGA infants (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.2 – 3.9, P = 0.01). There was no significant difference between SGA and AGA infants in total days on ventilator. Among infants who survived, mean length of hospital stay was significantly higher in SGA infants born between 26–36 wks GA than AGA infants.
Conclusions
Premature SGA infants have significantly higher mortality, significantly higher risk of developing chronic lung disease and longer hospital stay as compared to premature AGA infants. Even the reduced risk of RDS in infants born at ≥32 wk GA, (conferred possibly by intra-uterine stress leading to accelerated lung maturation) appears to be of transient effect and is counterbalanced by adverse effects of poor intrauterine growth on long term pulmonary outcomes such as chronic lung disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-9
PMCID: PMC434508  PMID: 15186501
19.  Seasonality and trend in blood lead levels of New York State children 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:8.
Background
Environmental exposure to lead remains a significant health problem for children. The costs of lead exposure in children are estimated to be considerably more than other childhood diseases of environmental origin. While long-term trends in blood lead levels (BLLs) among children are declining, seasonal variation persists. Cross-sectional studies have found a peak in summer months. Part of this variation may be due to increased exposure to lead paint on window sills and through increased contact with soils containing lead during the summer. The current study represents the largest published population-based study on seasonality and trends in the BLLs of children to date. In addition, the results offer a comparison of recent data on seasonality of BLLs in New York State children, to studies conducted over the past three decades.
Methods
262,687 New York State children born between 1994 and 1997 were screened for blood lead within 2 weeks of their first or second birthdays. Time series analyses of blood lead data from these children were conducted to study the seasonality and trends of BLLs.
Results
Children's blood lead values showed a distinct seasonal cycle on top of a long-term decreasing trend. The geometric mean BLL declined by about 24% for children born between 1994 and 1997. The prevalence of elevated BLLs in two-year-olds was almost twice that in one-year-olds over the time period. Nearly twice as many children had elevated BLLs in the late summer compared to late winter/early spring. In this and previous cross-sectional studies, the amount of seasonality as a proportion of the mean ranged between 15% and 30%.
Conclusion
Pediatricians should be aware of the seasonality of BLLs. For example, if a two-year-old receives a borderline result during the winter, it is possible that the levels would have been higher if he had been tested during the summer. However, physicians should continue to screen children at their normally scheduled well-child visits rather than delaying until summertime and possibly postponing the discovery of an elevated BLL. Age, season, and time trends still need to be considered in lead studies and result interpretation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-8
PMCID: PMC449716  PMID: 15180903
20.  Abnormal systemic venous connection possibly associated with a persistent right umbilical vein; a case report 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:7.
Background
Abnormal venous connections involving a persistent right umbilical vein are rare. In a minority of cases the liver is entirely bypassed and the condition is associated with multiple congenital malformations.
Case presentation
The described case illustrates a systemic venous drainage that was severely abnormal in a newborn girl with a truncus arteriosus type II congenital heart defect. Injection of contrast medium through the umbilical vein catheter revealed a very peculiar venous connection that passed anterio-laterally through the right hemithorax before crossing in an oblique fashion towards the superior vena cava.
Conclusions
This venous drainage may be the result of a persistent right umbilical vein connecting with the superior vena cava.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-7
PMCID: PMC416482  PMID: 15117414
21.  Children grow and horses race: is the adiposity rebound a critical period for later obesity? 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:6.
Background
The adiposity rebound is the second rise in body mass index that occurs between 3 and 7 years. An early age at adiposity rebound is known to be a risk factor for later obesity. The aim here is to clarify the connection between the age at rebound and the corresponding pattern of body mass index change, in centile terms, so as to better understand its ability to predict later fatness.
Discussion
Longitudinal changes in body mass index during adiposity rebound, measured both in original (kg/m2) and standard deviation (SD) score units, are studied in five hypothetical subjects. Two aspects of the body mass index curve, the body mass index centile and the rate of body mass index centile crossing, determine a child's age at rebound. A high centile and upward centile crossing are both associated separately with an early rebound, while a low centile and/or downward centile crossing correspond to a late rebound. Early adiposity rebound is a risk factor for later fatness because it identifies children whose body mass index centile is high and/or crossing upwards. Such children are likely to have a raised body mass index later in childhood and adulthood. This is an example of Peto's "horse racing effect". The association of centile crossing with later obesity is statistical not physiological, and it applies at all ages not just at rebound, so adiposity rebound cannot be considered a critical period for future obesity. Body mass index centile crossing is a more direct indicator of the underlying drive to fatness.
Summary
An early age at adiposity rebound predicts later fatness because it identifies children whose body mass index centile is high and/or crossing upwards. Such children are likely to have a raised body mass index later. Body mass index centile crossing is more direct than the timing of adiposity rebound for predicting later fatness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-6
PMCID: PMC394330  PMID: 15113440
22.  Pathogenesis of peroxisomal deficiency disorders (Zellweger syndrome) may be mediated by misregulation of the GABAergic system via the diazepam binding inhibitor 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:5.
Background
Zellweger syndrome (ZS) is a fatal inherited disease caused by peroxisome biogenesis deficiency. Patients are characterized by multiple disturbances of lipid metabolism, profound hypotonia and neonatal seizures, and distinct craniofacial malformations. Median live expectancy of ZS patients is less than one year. While the molecular basis of peroxisome biogenesis and metabolism is known in considerable detail, it is unclear how peroxisome deficiency leads to the most severe neurological symptoms. Recent analysis of ZS mouse models has all but invalidated previous hypotheses.
Hypothesis
We suggest that a regulatory rather than a metabolic defect is responsible for the drastic impairment of brain function in ZS patients.
Testing the hypothesis
Using microarray analysis we identify diazepam binding inhibitor/acyl-CoA binding protein (DBI) as a candidate protein that might be involved in the pathogenic mechanism of ZS. DBI has a dual role as a neuropeptide antagonist of GABA(A) receptor signaling in the brain and as a regulator of lipid metabolism. Repression of DBI in ZS patients could result in an overactivation of GABAergic signaling, thus eventually leading to the characteristic hypotonia and seizures. The most important argument for a misregulation of GABA(A) in ZS is, however, provided by the striking similarity between ZS and "benzodiazepine embryofetopathy", a malformation syndrome observed after the abuse of GABA(A) agonists during pregnancy.
Implications of the hypothesis
We present a tentative mechanistic model of the effect of DBI misregulation on neuronal function that could explain some of the aspects of the pathology of Zellweger syndrome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-5
PMCID: PMC391370  PMID: 15102341
23.  Does routine child health surveillance contribute to the early detection of children with pervasive developmental disorders? – An epidemiological study in Kent, U.K. 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:4.
Background
Recently changed guidelines for child health surveillance in the United Kingdom (U.K.) suggest targeted checks only, instead of the previously conducted routine or universal screening at 2 years and 3.5 years. There are concerns that these changes could lead to a delay in the detection of children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Recent U.K. studies have suggested that the prevalence of PDD is much higher than previously estimated. This study establishes to which extent the routine checks contributed to the early detection and assessment of cases of PDD. Simultaneously we have evaluated the process involved and estimate the prevalence of PDD in our district.
Methods
Retrospective study design utilising community medical files. Headteachers of schools (n = 75) within Maidstone district (Kent) were asked to report all children with an established diagnosis of autism or PDD attending year 4 (born '91 and '92 / n = 2536) in October 2000 based on educational records.
Results
59 schools (78.7%) took part in the study. A total of 33 children were reported. 21 fulfilled the inclusion criteria (12 falsely reported). The prevalences were (per 10,000): PDD 82.8 (male to female ratio 6:1), childhood autism 23.7, Asperger's syndrome 11.8 and autistic spectrum disorder 47.3. Co-existing medical conditions were noted in 14.3%; 52.4% were attending mainstream schools. In 63.2% of cases concerns – mainly in the area of speech and language development (SLD) – had been documented at the 2 year check. At the 3.5 year check concerns were noted in 94.1% – the main area was again SLD (76.5%), although behavioural abnormalities were becoming more frequent (47.1%). A total of 13 children (68.4%) were referred for further assessment as a direct result of the checks.
Conclusions
The prevalences for different types of PDD were similar to figures published recently, but much higher than reported a few years ago. Analysis of our data suggests that routine surveillance is a valuable contributing factor for the early detection of PDD and thereby facilitates early intervention. Thus, if routine surveillance ceases, then an alternative method of early detection should be put in place.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-4
PMCID: PMC375534  PMID: 15053835
autism; Asperger's syndrome; pervasive developmental disorder; autistic spectrum disorder; child health surveillance
24.  Infant mortality trends in a region of Belarus, 1980–2000 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:3.
Background
The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the breakup of the former Soviet Union (FSU) in 1991 challenged the public health infrastructure in the former Soviet republic of Belarus. Because infant mortality is regarded as a sensitive measure of the overall health of a population, patterns of neonatal and postneonatal deaths were examined within the Mogilev region of Belarus between 1980 and 2000.
Methods
Employing administrative death files, this study utilized a regional cohort design that included all infant deaths occurring among persons residing within the Mogilev oblast of Belarus between 1980 and 2000. Patterns of death and death rates were examined across 3 intervals: 1980–1985 (pre-Chernobyl), 1986–1991 (post-Chernobyl & pre-FSU breakup), and 1992–2000 (post-Chernobyl & post-FSU breakup).
Results
Annual infant mortality rates declined during the 1980s, increased during the early 1990s, and have remained stable thereafter. While infant mortality rates in Mogilev have decreased since the period 1980–1985 among both males and females, this decrement appears due to decreases in postneonatal mortality. Rates of postneonatal mortality in Mogilev have decreased since the period 1980–1985 among both males and females. Analyses of trends for infant mortality and neonatal mortality demonstrated continuous decreases between 1990, followed by a bell-shaped excess in the 1990's. Compared to rates of infant mortality for other countries, rates in the Mogilev region are generally higher than rates for the United States, but lower than rates in Russia. During the 1990s, rates for both neonatal and postneonatal mortality in Mogilev were two times the comparable rates for East and West Germany.
Conclusions
While neonatal mortality rates in Mogilev have remained stable, rates for postneonatal mortality have decreased among both males and females during the period examined. Infant mortality rates in the Mogilev region of Belarus remain elevated compared to rates for other western countries, but lower than rates in Russia. The public health infrastructure might attempt to assure that prenatal, maternal, and postnatal care is maximized.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-3
PMCID: PMC362877  PMID: 15018629
infant deaths; epidemiology; public health; neonatal deaths; postneonatal deaths; Chernobyl
25.  Benign afebrile cluster convulsions with gastroenteritis: an observational study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:2.
Backround
The occurrence of afebrile seizures in association with viral gastroenteritis, without dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, is virtually unknown outside Asia. They are reported to have a benign prognosis and not to require specific investigations or therapy.
Methods
We report the occurrence of such afebrile convulsions in association with viral gastroenteritis without dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, over a 3-year period, in a cohort of 14 British children.
Results
The children (5 males and 9 females, 10 Caucasians and 4 Asians) were aged 9 to 60 months (median 14.5 months). All 14 had a normal neurological examination and normal serum biochemistry. Twelve children had generalised seizures and 2 had, in addition, absence seizures. The number of seizures per child ranged from 1 to 8. Most convulsions were short with 85.7% of children having the longest seizure not longer than 4 minutes. The longest duration for a seizure was 10 minutes and occurred in 2 children. Convulsions did not recur after the first day in 10 children, 3 children had recurrences the second day and one child on the fourth day. No convulsions recurred after 4 days.
Cerebrospinal fluid studies, computed tomography and electroencephalogram (EEG) were performed on two children who had prolonged seizures and the results were normal. No pathogenic bacteria were grown in any of the stools. Enzyme immunoassay detection of Rotavirus in the stools was positive in 7 of the 10 children where it was tested. All 14 children recovered spontaneously within a few days. On long-term follow of up to 31 months (median 16 months), none had further convulsions and all had normal development milestones.
Conclusions
Afebrile seizures in association with viral gastroenteritis do also occur outside Asia. Recognition of this entity should lead to reassurance of the parents. As in previously published series, investigations such as lumbar puncture, neuroimaging and EEG are usually normal and may not be necessary in most cases. Likewise, published data indicate that long-term anticonvulsant therapy is not usually warranted and the prognosis seems to be reassuring.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-2
PMCID: PMC343283  PMID: 15005806
convulsions; seizures; gastroenteritis; diarrhea; rotavirus

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