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Children, Volume 6, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) recommends the initiation of chest [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Cognitive and Psychosocial Development in Young Children with Brain Tumors: Observations from a Clinical Sample
Children 2019, 6(11), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110128 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Survivors of pediatric brain tumor (BT) are known to be at risk for developing cognitive and psychosocial late effects. Young age at treatment (≤6 years) is typically considered to put patients at increased risk. However, there is limited research specifically exploring functioning in [...] Read more.
Survivors of pediatric brain tumor (BT) are known to be at risk for developing cognitive and psychosocial late effects. Young age at treatment (≤6 years) is typically considered to put patients at increased risk. However, there is limited research specifically exploring functioning in these young patients. Cognitive and psychosocial data were retrospectively abstracted from medical charts for 79 young patients (54.4% male) treated for BT with a variety of treatment modalities (e.g., surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy). Children were clinically assessed at 4.52 years of age (range = 1.48–5.98) and most were off-therapy (74.4%). Mean performances on developmental (68.3 ± 10.02), cognitive (88.09 ± 18.38), and pre-academic (86.84 ± 19.75) measures were all below average. Parent report of adaptive functioning was also below average (82.10 ± 16.21), but psychosocial functioning was generally within normal limits. Most patients had impaired functioning (scores <10th percentile) in at least one domain assessed. Exploratory analyses revealed that many patients (27.3–60.6%) exhibited a significant discrepancy between domains of cognitive functioning (e.g., verbal and spatial). Young children treated for BT experienced high rates of impairment in cognitive, pre-academic, and adaptive domains. Future work is needed to focus on serial longitudinal assessment of these young patients, as well as dedicated intervention and prevention efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosocial Functioning in Childhood Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Lifestyle Modification for Enhancing Autonomic Cardiac Regulation in Children: The Role of Exercise
Children 2019, 6(11), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110127 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Decreased physical activity (PA) is a global concern contributing to the rise in cardiometabolic diseases. One potential mechanism linking insufficient PA and poor health is dysregulated autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity. This relationship is established in adults and PA recommendations, with specific exercise [...] Read more.
Decreased physical activity (PA) is a global concern contributing to the rise in cardiometabolic diseases. One potential mechanism linking insufficient PA and poor health is dysregulated autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity. This relationship is established in adults and PA recommendations, with specific exercise prescription guidelines, have been proposed to overcome this societal health burden. However, research on the benefits and underlying mechanisms of exercise on ANS activity in children <18 years old is limited. This review aimed to describe the optimal exercise “dose” and potential mechanisms of action that exercise may pose on enhancing child ANS activity, represented by heart rate variability (HRV). PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched for articles examining the influence of exercise on child HRV. Various exercise duration and frequency combinations appear to improve HRV indices, primarily those representing parasympathetic influence. Furthermore, both aerobic and resistance training benefit HRV through potentially different mechanisms with intensity proposed to be important for exercise prescription. Findings indicate that exercise is a crucial lifestyle modification with protective and therapeutic effects on cardiometabolic health associated with improvements in child ANS activity. Exercise programming must consider the various components including mode, intensity and population characteristics to optimize ANS health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Integrative Pediatrics)
Open AccessArticle
When the Future is Not Bright: Social and Political Stakes in Discussing Childhood Cancer in Romanian Media
Children 2019, 6(11), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110126 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
In contemporary societies’ perception of children, death plays an incredibly insignificant role. This role goes from being ornamental, a weak reminder that our civilisation has overcome the times of children’s high mortality rates, to being some other society’s concern. Despite both medical improvements [...] Read more.
In contemporary societies’ perception of children, death plays an incredibly insignificant role. This role goes from being ornamental, a weak reminder that our civilisation has overcome the times of children’s high mortality rates, to being some other society’s concern. Despite both medical improvements and cultural constructions of the child as an immanent and social transcendence, children can and do die. Although an increasing number of recent studies disclose and legitimise children’s preoccupation with death and dying in the context of a popular culture fascinated with death, studies interested in the representations of death and dying in children are rather scant. In this article, we investigate the social and political stakes in discussing children’s cancer in today’s Romanian media, aiming to make visible how the illustrations of the connections between children, death and illness are never ethically neutral. We begin with the observation that, during recent years, there has been a growing media focus on childhood cancer in Romania. Adopting a qualitative approach and resorting to comparative analysis, we analyse what lies beneath the intentions of criticising troublesome socio-political or medical realities of childhood cancer, revealing the mechanisms through which childhood cancer is transformed into a social illness and the cultural implications for the acceptance of death as an inherent part of life both for children and the population as a whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Illness and Death in Childhood)
Open AccessArticle
Topical and Oral Therapies for Childhood Atopic Dermatitis and Plaque Psoriasis
Children 2019, 6(11), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110125 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: Treatment of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in children is difficult due to lack of standardized treatment guidelines and few FDA-approved treatment options. Treatments approved for adults may be used off-label in pediatric patients. Objective: This review evaluates the topical and oral treatment [...] Read more.
Background: Treatment of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in children is difficult due to lack of standardized treatment guidelines and few FDA-approved treatment options. Treatments approved for adults may be used off-label in pediatric patients. Objective: This review evaluates the topical and oral treatment options available, including off-label uses, and provides a basic therapeutic guideline for pediatric atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Methods: A PubMed review of topical and systemic treatments for pediatric psoriasis and atopic dermatitis with information regarding age, efficacy, dosing, contra-indications, adverse events, and off-label treatments. Results: The search identified seven topical and five systemic treatments that are routinely employed to treat pediatric atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Limitations: Standardized guidelines regarding treatment choice, dosing, and long-term safety are scarce. Reviews may be subject to ascertainment bias. Conclusions: Current treatment guidelines are based on clinical experience and expert advice with few treatments officially approved for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis in Children)
Open AccessArticle
A Psychosocial Intervention’s Impact on Quality of Life in AYAs with Cancer: A Post Hoc Analysis from the Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM) Randomized Controlled Trial
Children 2019, 6(11), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110124 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM), a psychosocial intervention for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with serious illness, enhances resilience resources via four skills-based training sessions. A recent randomized controlled trial showed PRISM improved health-related quality of life (HRQOL) compared to usual care [...] Read more.
Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM), a psychosocial intervention for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with serious illness, enhances resilience resources via four skills-based training sessions. A recent randomized controlled trial showed PRISM improved health-related quality of life (HRQOL) compared to usual care (UC). This post hoc exploratory analysis aimed to better understand the effect of PRISM on HRQOL by describing changes in HRQOL subdomain scores. English-speaking AYAs (12–25 years) with cancer were randomized to PRISM or UC. At enrollment and six months later, HRQOL was assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) Generic Short Form (SF-15) and Cancer Module. Scores at each time point were summarized descriptively and individual HRQOL trajectories were categorized (<70 vs. ≥70). “Positive” trajectories indicate participants maintained scores ≥70 or improved from <70 to ≥70 during the study period. Baseline assessments were completed by 92 participants (48 PRISM, 44 UC); six-month assessments were completed by 74 participants (36 PRISM, 38 UC). For the SF-15, positive trajectories in psychosocial domains were more common with PRISM; trajectories in the physical subdomain were similar across groups. For the Cancer Module, positive trajectories were more common with PRISM in the following subdomains: nausea, treatment anxiety, worry, cognitive, physical appearance, and communication. From this, we conclude PRISM may improve HRQOL, especially in psychosocial domains of wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosocial Functioning in Childhood Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Children’s Intake of Food from Non-Fast-Food Outlets and Child-Specific Menus: A Survey of Parents
Children 2019, 6(11), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110123 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Eating out-of-home is associated with higher energy intakes in children. The continued high prevalence of childhood obesity requires a greater understanding of child menu options and eating out frequency to inform appropriate regulatory initiatives. The majority of studies to date have focused on [...] Read more.
Eating out-of-home is associated with higher energy intakes in children. The continued high prevalence of childhood obesity requires a greater understanding of child menu options and eating out frequency to inform appropriate regulatory initiatives. The majority of studies to date have focused on menus from fast-food outlets with few focused on non-fast-food outlets. This study aimed to describe parents’ reports of their child(ren)’s (aged up to 6 years) frequency of consuming foods at non-fast-food outlets, observations of child menus at these outlets, and their purchasing behaviours and future preferences regarding these menus; and if their responses were influenced by sociodemographic characteristics. Ninety-five parents completed a 15-item cross-sectional survey. Overall, children from 54% of families consumed food from non-fast-food outlets at least monthly. Of the 87 parents who reported that their child eats at a non-fast-food restaurant, 71 had children who ordered from child menus every time (7%, n = 5), often (29%, n = 22), sometimes (42%, n = 32) or rarely (16%, n = 12), with a further 7% (n = 5) never ordering from these menus. All parents indicated that they would like to see a higher proportion of healthy child menu items than is currently offered. Parents’ responses were not influenced by sociodemographic characteristics. Parents’ views support implementation of initiatives to increase availability of healthy options on child menus at non-fast-food outlets. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Pediatric Residents’ Attitudes toward Anticipatory Counseling on Gun Safety
Children 2019, 6(11), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110122 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Introduction: Guns remain a major cause of injury and death among children. We determined pediatric residents’ familiarity with gun safety campaigns and their gun safety counseling practices. We determined pediatric residents’ comfort with the Asking Saves Kids (ASK) campaign, which recommends that parents [...] Read more.
Introduction: Guns remain a major cause of injury and death among children. We determined pediatric residents’ familiarity with gun safety campaigns and their gun safety counseling practices. We determined pediatric residents’ comfort with the Asking Saves Kids (ASK) campaign, which recommends that parents ask about gun safety and storage where their children play. Methods: Cross-sectional 27-item electronic survey was distributed to three pediatric residency programs in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Residents were asked to respond to statements using a seven-point Likert scale on familiarity with three gun safety campaigns and their attitudes toward gun safety counseling. Results: 82% of respondents were not familiar with gun safety programs. 23% reported not counseling. 87% believed it is a good idea to ask about guns in a home but only 64% were comfortable recommending their patients’ parents to ask about guns. 59% were personally comfortable asking about guns in the home. 15% believed their patients’ parents would be comfortable asking about guns in the homes of friends and families. Conclusions: The residents in this survey supported the idea of gun safety anticipatory guidance but discussing firearms can be problematic. Educational programs and strategies are needed to support physicians’ counselling on gun safety. Full article
Open AccessReview
Complementary and Integrative Therapies for Childhood Atopic Dermatitis
Children 2019, 6(11), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110121 - 30 Oct 2019
Abstract
Background: Childhood atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes significant psychological and financial costs to the individual and society. Treatment regimens may require long-term medication adherence and can be associated with poor patient satisfaction. There is considerable interest in complementary [...] Read more.
Background: Childhood atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes significant psychological and financial costs to the individual and society. Treatment regimens may require long-term medication adherence and can be associated with poor patient satisfaction. There is considerable interest in complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) approaches for childhood atopic dermatitis. Objective: To assess the effects of CIM approaches on childhood atopic dermatitis outcomes as defined by randomized, controlled clinical trials. Methods: A PubMed review of CIM-related treatments for pediatric atopic dermatitis was performed, and data related to age, study population, efficacy, treatment regimen, length of treatment, and sample size were included. Results: The search yielded 20 trials related to probiotic/prebiotic treatments for atopic dermatitis, three on the effects of vitamins on children with atopic dermatitis, and two on the effects of Chinese herbal treatments for atopic dermatitis in children and adolescents. The strongest evidence was for supplementation with the probiotics L. fermentum and L. plantarum. Conclusions: Certain strains of probiotics, specifically L. plantarum and L. fermentum, may improve clinical severity scores in children with atopic dermatitis. However, additional trials are needed to more thoroughly delineate the effects of additional integrative therapies on childhood atopic dermatitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis in Children)
Open AccessViewpoint
Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children: Interrupted Child Development and Unfulfilled Child Rights
Children 2019, 6(11), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110120 - 30 Oct 2019
Abstract
The 21st century phenomenon of “global displacement” is particularly concerning when it comes to children. Childhood is a critical period of accelerated growth and development. These processes can be negatively affected by the many stressors to which refugee and asylum-seeking children are subjected. [...] Read more.
The 21st century phenomenon of “global displacement” is particularly concerning when it comes to children. Childhood is a critical period of accelerated growth and development. These processes can be negatively affected by the many stressors to which refugee and asylum-seeking children are subjected. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most ratified human rights treaty in history, with 196 States Parties (SPs). The CRC provides a framework of 54 articles outlining government responsibilities to ensure the protection, promotion, and fulfillment of rights of all children within their jurisdictions. Among these are the rights of refugee and asylum-seeking children, declared under Article 22 of the CRC. Refugee and asylum-seeking children, similarly to all other children, are entitled to their rights under the CRC and do not forgo any right by virtue of moving between borders. The hosting governments, as SPs to the CRC, are the primary duty bearers to fulfill these rights for the children entering their country. This manuscript provides an overview of the health and developmental ramification of being displaced for refugee and asylum-seeking children. Then, an in-depth analysis of the provisions under Article 22 is presented and the responsibilities of SPs under this article are described. The paper provides some international examples of strengths and shortcomings relating to these responsibilities and closes with a few concluding remarks and recommendations. Full article
Open AccessReview
Chest Compressions for Bradycardia during Neonatal Resuscitation—Do We Have Evidence?
Children 2019, 6(11), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110119 - 29 Oct 2019
Abstract
The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) recommends the initiation of chest compressions (CC) during neonatal resuscitation after 30 s of effective ventilation if the infant remains bradycardic (defined as a heart rate less than 60 bpm). The CC are performed during bradycardia [...] Read more.
The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) recommends the initiation of chest compressions (CC) during neonatal resuscitation after 30 s of effective ventilation if the infant remains bradycardic (defined as a heart rate less than 60 bpm). The CC are performed during bradycardia to optimize organ perfusion, especially to the heart and brain. Among adults and children undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), CC is indicated only for pulselessness or poor perfusion. Neonates have a healthy heart that attempts to preserve coronary and cerebral perfusion during bradycardia secondary to asphyxia. Ventilation of the lungs is the key step during neonatal resuscitation, improving gas exchange and enhancing cerebral and cardiac blood flow by changes in intrathoracic pressure. Compressing the chest 90 times per minute without synchrony with innate cardiac activity during neonatal bradycardia is not based on evidence and could potentially be harmful. Although there are no studies evaluating outcomes in neonates, a recent pediatric study in a hospital setting showed that when CC were initiated during pulseless bradycardia, a third of the patients went into complete arrest, with poor survival at discharge. Ventilation-only protocols such as helping babies breathe are effective in reducing mortality and stillbirths in low-resource settings. In a situation of complete cardiac arrest, CC reinitiates pulmonary flow and supports gas exchange. However, the benefit/harm of performing asynchronous CC during bradycardia as part of neonatal resuscitation remains unknown. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Caffeine and Clinical Outcomes in Premature Neonates
Children 2019, 6(11), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110118 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Caffeine is the most widely used drug by both adults and children worldwide due to its ability to promote alertness and elevate moods. It is effective in the management of apnea of prematurity in premature infants. Caffeine for apnea of prematurity reduces the [...] Read more.
Caffeine is the most widely used drug by both adults and children worldwide due to its ability to promote alertness and elevate moods. It is effective in the management of apnea of prematurity in premature infants. Caffeine for apnea of prematurity reduces the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in very-low-birth-weight infants and improves survival without neurodevelopmental disability at 18–21 months. Follow-up studies of the infants in the Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity trial highlight the long-term safety of caffeine in these infants, especially relating to motor, behavioral, and intelligence skills. However, in animal models, exposure to caffeine during pregnancy and lactation adversely affects neuronal development and adult behavior of their offspring. Prenatal caffeine predisposes to intrauterine growth restriction and small growth for gestational age at birth. However, in-utero exposure to caffeine is also associated with excess growth, obesity, and cardio-metabolic changes in children. Caffeine therapy is a significant advance in newborn care, conferring immediate benefits in preterm neonates. Studies should help define the appropriate therapeutic window for caffeine treatment along with with the mechanisms relating to its beneficial effects on the brain and the lung. The long-term consequences of caffeine in adults born preterm are being studied and may depend on the ability of caffeine to modulate both the expression and the maturation of adenosine receptors in infants treated with caffeine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Conducting Psychosocial Intervention Research among Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer: Lessons from the PRISM Randomized Clinical Trial
Children 2019, 6(11), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/children6110117 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Background: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer have poor psychosocial outcomes, in part because their limited participation in clinical trials precludes intervention-testing. We previously reported results of a successful randomized trial testing an AYA-targeted psychosocial intervention. Here, we aimed to describe strategies [...] Read more.
Background: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer have poor psychosocial outcomes, in part because their limited participation in clinical trials precludes intervention-testing. We previously reported results of a successful randomized trial testing an AYA-targeted psychosocial intervention. Here, we aimed to describe strategies learned during the trial’s conduct. Methods: We summarized data from the medical record and staff field notes regarding reasons for participation/non-participation. We conducted two focus groups with study staff; directed content analyses identified strategies for success. Results: 92 AYAs enrolled (77% of approached; n = 50 Usual Care (control), n = 49 PRISM (intervention)). In eligible families who declined participation (n = 22 AYAs, n = 8 parents), the AYAs more commonly had advanced cancer (n = 11 (37%) declined vs. n = 25 (26%) enrolled). AYA reasons for non-enrollment were predominantly “not interested”; parents worried participation was “too burdensome.” Staff strategies for accrual included having significant time to introduce the study and underscoring a desire to learn from the patient. After enrollment, AYAs who discontinued participation were more commonly assigned to control (n = 5 (10%) control vs. n = 2 (4%) intervention). Only n = 1 AYA chose to discontinue participation after receiving the intervention. Conclusions: Efforts to engage AYAs prior to and during studies may help with accrual and retention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychosocial Functioning in Childhood Cancer)
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