Abstract: More than 80% of children and young adults diagnosed with invasive cancer will survive five or more years beyond their cancer diagnosis. This population has an increased risk for serious illness- and treatment-related morbidity and premature mortality. A number of these adverse health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and some second primary neoplasms, either have modifiable risk factors or can be successfully treated if detected early. Absolute risk models that project a personalized risk of developing a health outcome can be useful in patient counseling, in designing intervention studies, in forming prevention strategies, and in deciding upon surveillance programs. Here, we review existing absolute risk prediction models that are directly applicable to survivors of a childhood cancer, discuss the concepts and interpretation of absolute risk models, and examine ways in which these models can be used applied in clinical practice and public health.
Abstract: The increasing number of haemopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT) taking place worldwide has offered a cure to many high risk childhood malignancies with an otherwise very poor prognosis. However, HSCT is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and premature death, and patients who have survived the acute complications continue to face lifelong health sequelae as a result of the treatment. Endocrine dysfunction is well described in childhood HSCT survivors treated for malignancies. The endocrine system is highly susceptible to damage from the conditioning therapy, such as, alkylating agents and total body irradiation, which is given prior stem cell infusion. Although not immediately life-threatening, the impact of these abnormalities on the long term health and quality of life in these patients may be considerable. The prevalence, risk factors, clinical approaches to investigations and treatments, as well as the implications of ongoing surveillance of endocrine disorders in childhood HSCT survivors, are discussed in this review.
Abstract: Clostridium difficile is a frequent cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in adults and older children. However, as many as 80% of infants can be asymptomatically colonized. The reasons for this have not been well established but are believed to be due to differences in toxin receptors or toxin internalization. Determining which children who test positive for C. difficile warrant treatment is exceedingly difficult, especially in the setting of increased rates of detection and the rising risk of disease in children lacking classic risk factors for C. difficile.
Abstract: The pediatric obesity epidemic has gathered public and political interest recently. People often choose “diet” or artificial sweetened beverages (ASB) to combat this epidemic, but the obesity incidence continues to rise. First, I review the pediatric studies on the effect of ASB consumption with subsequent food intake. Next, I present pediatric studies of chronic ASB consumption and weight change. Some epidemiologic pediatric studies have supported an association between artificial sweetener use and increased BMI but cannot prove causation. Randomized control trials have provided some evidence of weight loss with ASB ingestion among children, but study limitations may minimize these conclusions. Finally, I summarize the possible mechanisms that may drive potential effects of artificial sweeteners.
Abstract: Autism is an etiologically heterogeneous developmental disorder for which the range of genetic investigations has expanded considerably over the past decade. Introduction of chromosomal microarray (CMA) to clinical practice has expanded the range of conditions which pediatricians are able to detect. This study reviewed the utilization, yield and cost of genetic investigations in a sample of children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) in an Australian metropolitan child development service. Six hundred and ninety eight patients with PDD were identified from the clinic population. One hundred and ten (15.7%) of the clinic population had undergone investigation with chromosomal microarray, 140 (20.0%) with karyotype (KT), and 167 (23.9%) with Fragile X testing (FRGX). Twelve (10.9%) CMA findings were reported, of which seven (6.3%) were felt to be the likely cause of the child’s clinical features. Five (3.5%) KT findings were reported, of which four (2.9%) were felt to be the likely cause of the child’s clinical features. Two patients (1.2%) were identified with Fragile X expansions. One fifth of the clinic’s recent PDD population had undergone testing with CMA. CMA appears to have increased the diagnostic yield of the genetic investigation of autism, in line with internationally reported levels. Number needed to test (NNT) and cost per incremental diagnosis, were also in line with internationally reported levels.
Abstract: Little research has empirically addressed the relationships among parental knowledge of child development, parental attunement, parental expectations, and child independence in predicting the social competence of infants and toddlers with special health care needs. We used baseline data from the Strengthening Families Project, a prevention intervention study that tested Bavolek’s Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Health Challenges to explore the roles of these variables in predicting social competence in infants and toddlers with special health care needs. Bivariate relationships among the study variables were explored and used to develop and test a model for predicting social competence among these children. Study findings pointed to a combination of indirect and direct influences of parent variables in predicting social competence. Results indicated that parents who encouraged healthy behaviors for developing a sense of power/independence were more likely to have children with social competence developing on schedule. Elements related to parental expectations, however, did not have the hypothesized relationships to social competence. The present study provides preliminary data to support the development of knowledge based interventions. Within medical settings, such interventions may indeed maximize benefit while minimizing cost.