Abstract: Risk is big business. It has assumed almost universal acceptance as an ever-present reality of life, something out there waiting to cause harm (most notably to political, economic and health systems). It commands vast resources to develop preventative measures that are the preserve of experts issuing often contradictory advice and warnings. Children’s play is caught up in this account. No longer something that children just do, it is subject to adult scrutiny that simultaneously and paradoxically attempts to manage risk and promote “risk-taking” for its perceived instrumental benefits, primarily the development of risk assessing skills. Adults thus guide children’s play, rendering children passive and needy recipients of expertise. This article takes a broader perspective to consider how this contemporary understanding of risk plays out in material discursive practices in relation to childhood, play, health and wellbeing. It then draws on conceptual tools of relationality, materiality and performativity to reconfigure playing as an emergent co-production of entangled bodies, affects, objects, space and histories in ways that make life better for the time of playing. Such moments produce health-affirming potential as an intra-dependent phenomenon rather than an individual achievement. Finally, it considers implications for “health promotion” and health enabling environments.
Abstract: The Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for survivors of childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers are evidence- and consensus-based guidelines that have been developed and published by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Late Effects Committee, Nursing Discipline, and the Patient Advocacy Committee. Originally published in 2004, the guidelines are currently in version 3.0. While the COG guidelines have been praised as a model for providing risk-based survivorship care, adherence has not been uniform. Reasons for this gap include unawareness on the part of the survivor and/or care team as well as disagreement about the individual recommendations. In some cases, the burden of testing (such as annual echocardiography or repeat pulmonary function testing) may be too great. A small number of intervention studies have documented improved adherence to guideline recommendations with dissemination of informational material. Future studies should focus on individualizing screening recommendations, as well as identifying unnecessary testing.
Abstract: Knowledge of vitamin D in the health of children has grown greatly over the years, extending past the importance for calcium homeostasis and bone growth. There is growing recognition of the role vitamin D plays in health impacting the innate immune system to prevent infections and the adaptive immune system to modulate autoimmunity. Other studies are starting to reveal the neurohormonal effects of vitamin D on brain development and behavior, with a link to mental health disorders. Many of these effects start well before the birth of the child, so it is important that each pregnant woman be assessed for vitamin D deficiency and supplemented for the best possible health outcome of the child. It is recommended that targeting a 25(OH)D level of 40–70 ng/mL for each individual would provide optimal health benefits and reduce health care costs. Current recommended doses of vitamin D supplementation fall short of what is needed to obtain ideal serum levels. A vitamin D supplementation program to prevent disease, much like the current vaccination program, could potentially have a dramatic impact on overall health worldwide.
Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in children and is increasing in prevalence. There has also been a related increase in prescribing stimulant medication despite some controversy whether ADHD medication makes a lasting difference in school performance or achievement. Families who are apprehensive about side effects and with concerns for efficacy of medication pursue integrative medicine as an alternative or adjunct to pharmacologic and cognitive behavioral treatment approaches. Integrative medicine incorporates evidence-based medicine, both conventional and complementary and alternative therapies, to deliver personalized care to the patient, emphasizing diet, nutrients, gut health, and environmental influences as a means to decrease symptoms associated with chronic disorders. Pediatric integrative medicine practitioners are increasing in number throughout the United States because of improvement in patient health outcomes. However, limited funding and poor research design interfere with generalizable treatment approaches utilizing integrative medicine. The use of research designs originally intended for drugs and procedures are not suitable for many integrative medicine approaches. This article serves to highlight integrative medicine approaches in use today for children with ADHD, including dietary therapies, nutritional supplements, environmental hygiene, and neurofeedback.
Abstract: In the face of excellent survival rates for pediatric and adolescent cancer, preserving the opportunity to have biological children is an important component of long term quality of life. Yet, modern chemotherapeutic regimens continue to pose a threat to fertility. The only fertility preservation methods available to pre-pubertal children of both genders is cryopreservation of gonadal tissue, a highly experimental intervention, or shielding/re-location of reproductive tissue in the setting of radiation. These techniques are available in the post pubertal population as well, but post pubertal patients also have the option for cryopreservation of gametes, a process that is much simpler in males than females. For this reason, prior to the initiation of therapy, sperm banking should be considered standard of care for males, while consideration of embryo or oocyte cryopreservation should be limited to those females at risk of developing ovarian failure. Attention to reproductive health and fertility preservation should continue after the completion of therapy. Establishing programs that streamline access to current fertility preservation techniques will assist in ensuring that all eligible patients can avail themselves of current options.
Abstract: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) primarily describes two distinct chronic conditions with unknown etiology, ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). UC is limited to the colon, while CD may involve any portion of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus. These diseases exhibit a pattern of relapse and remission, and the disease processes are often painful and debilitating. Due to the chronic nature of IBD and the negative side effects of many of the conventional therapies, many patients and their families turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for symptom relief. This article focuses on the current available evidence behind CAM/integrative therapies for IBD.