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August 27, 2010, 7:23 AM CT

Vaccine has cut bacterial pneumonia

Vaccine has cut bacterial pneumonia
The number of children admitted to English hospitals with bacterial pneumonia decreased by a fifth in the two years following the introduction of a vaccine to combat the disease, according to a new study published recently in the journal Thorax

Bacterial pneumonia is a serious illness caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that mostly affects babies, young children and elderly people. In Europe, around one in ten deaths in the under-fives is caused by the disease.

Bacterial pneumonia usually develops as a complication following a respiratory tract infection such as influenza. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, fever and loss of appetite.

In September 2006, a vaccine known as PCV7 was introduced into the childhood primary immunisation programme across the UK, to protect against seven different strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

Today's study, led by researchers from Imperial College London, shows that in the first two years following the introduction of this vaccine, hospital admissions for bacterial pneumonia decreased by 19 per cent amongst children aged under 15 years. Admissions for empyema, a rare and serious complication of bacterial pneumonia, decreased by 22 per cent.

The pneumococcal vaccine is administered at two, three and 13 months of age. When it was first introduced there was a catch-up campaign for children up to two years. Take-up of the vaccine over the study period was high. It was administered to an average of 84 per cent of eligible children in England in the first year following its introduction and 91 per cent the following year.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 26, 2010, 7:09 AM CT

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients
Aug. 25 Vitamin D appears to be an effective treatment to treat and even prevent allergy to a common mold that can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma, as per scientists from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Results of the study, led by Jay Kolls, M.D., Ph.D., a lung disease researcher at Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are reported in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Aspergillus fumigatus, is one of the most common airborne molds and while it does not cause illness in the vast majority of those who inhale it, it can cause life threatening allergic symptoms in patients with cystic fibrosis. As a number of as 15 percent of patients with cystic fibrosis will develop a severe allergic response, known as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). Some patients with asthma also can develop ABPA.

The research team led by Dr. Kolls studied cystic fibrosis patients from the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children's Hospital who had A. fumigatus infections. One group had developed ABPA, while the other hadn't. The scientists observed that the ABPA patients had a heightened response by immune cells known as type 2 T helper (Th2) cells, and that a protein known as OX40L was critical to this heightened response. The heightened Th2 response correlated with lower levels of vitamin D as compared with the non-ABPA patients. Adding vitamin D to these cells in the laboratory substantially reduced the expression of OX40L and increased the expression of other proteins critical to the development of allergen tolerance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Salmon baby food?

Salmon baby food?
Salmon
Has your toddler eaten fish today? A University of Illinois food science professor has two important reasons for including seafood in your young child's diet, reasons that have motivated her work in helping to develop a tasty, nutritious salmon baby food for toddlers.

"First, babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food, most of them don't get nearly enough," said Susan Brewer, also a registered dietitian.

"Second, children's food preferences are largely developed by the time they're five, so I urge parents to help their kids develop a taste for seafood early," she said.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have huge health benefits and help to prevent coronary artery disease, but most adults don't eat fish twice weekly as experts recommend. In predisposing children toward liking fish, parents are doing their kids a big favor, she said.

Brewer knows her recommendations might meet with some resistance. "When we started working on salmon baby food, I thought, Ewwwh! But the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is solidly behind the idea, and fish-based baby foods, common in Asian markets, have been marketed successfully in the United Kingdom and Italy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol
Playing "media detective" allows children to understand the intentions of marketers and the goals of advertising while empowering them to resist messages that encourage alcohol or tobacco use.

A study reported in the current journal Pediatrics shows that teaching children as early as third grade to be more skeptical of media messages can help prevent substance use. The study, based on the research of Erica Weintraub Austin, director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion at Washington State University, reveals that a brief, two-week course boosted the critical thinking skills of third through fifth graders and reduced their intentions to use alcohol and tobacco while increasing their belief that they will be able to resist them.

"We underestimate the extent to which young children internalize advertising messages," Austin said. "This can affect their consumer decisions later on. For example, children who associate tobacco use with popularity and independence may want to use tobacco when the opportunity arises.

"Message designers put a lot of proprietary research into making their messages appealing to young people, and children need to understand early on that messages are not always developed with their best interests in mind. This means children must and can learn to discount appeals to their emotions." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 9, 2010, 6:56 AM CT

Children's vegetable intake linked to Popeye cartoons

Children's vegetable intake linked to Popeye cartoons
Popeye cartoons, tasting parties and junior cooking classes can help increase vegetable intake in kindergarten children, as per new research reported in the journal Nutrition & Dietetics

Scientists at Mahidol University in Bangkok found the type and amount of vegetables children ate improved after they took part in a program using multimedia and role models to promote healthy food.

Twenty six kindergarten children aged four to five participated in the eight week study. The scientists recorded the kinds and amounts of fruit and vegetables eaten by the children before and after the program.

Lead researcher Professor Chutima Sirikulchayanonta said: "We got the children planting vegetable seeds, taking part in fruit and vegetable tasting parties, cooking vegetable soup, and watching Popeye cartoons. We also sent letters to parents with tips on encouraging their kids to eat fruit and vegetables, and teachers sat with children at lunch to role model healthy eating.' .

Professor Sirikulchayanonta and her colleagues found vegetable intake doubled and the types of vegetables the children consumed increased from two to four. Parents also reported their children talked about vegetables more often and were proud they had eaten them in their school lunch.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 21, 2010, 6:10 AM CT

Children's school performance tied to family "type"

Children's school performance tied to family
The way a family interacts can have more of an impact on a child's predicted school success than reading, writing or arithmetic, as per a University of Notre Dame study published recently in the Journal of Child Development.

University of Notre Dame Professor of Psychology Mark Cummings and his colleagues at the University of Rochester studied the relationship patterns of some 300 families (with six year-olds) over the course of three years, and found distinct family-school connections. Specific family "types" emerged as predictors of school success:

"Coming from a cohesive family, in which members tend to be warm and responsive to one another, where problems are resolved, and members cope well, increases the likelihood of children doing well in school," as per Cummings.

Children from enmeshed families, characterized by over involvement, hostility and only moderate warmth, enter school with no more problems than their cohesive family peers, but suffer more anxiety and feelings of alienation later, Cummings explains.

The third family type, "detached," in which all problems are avoided, in which hostility is present, and without displays of affection, tend to have children with the most problems.

"They often start school with more disruptive behavior and higher levels of aggression and difficulty cooperating," Cummings explains.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 8, 2010, 6:45 AM CT

Inactivity and childhood obesity epidemic

Inactivity and childhood obesity epidemic
A new report from the EarlyBird Diabetes Study suggests that physical activity has little if any role to play in the obesity epidemic among children. Obesity is the key factor behind diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

EarlyBird is based at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK, and has been observing in detail a cohort of city school children for the past 11 years.

A review published in 2009 of all trials using physical activity to reduce childhood obesity showed weight loss amounting to just 90g (3oz) over three years, and the EarlyBird study wanted to know why the trials were so ineffective. So they challenged some popular paradigms.

It is well known that less active children are fatter, but that does not mean as most people assume it does that inactivity leads to fatness. It could equally well be the other way round: that obesity leads to inactivity.

And this is the question EarlyBird was uniquely placed to answer. With data collected annually over several years from a large cohort of children, it could ask the question which comes first? Does the physical activity of the child precede changes in fatness over time, or does the fatness of the child precede changes in physical activity over time?

And the answer, published recently in Archives of Disease in Childhood, was clear. Physical activity had no impact on weight change, but weight clearly led to less activity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 6, 2010, 7:19 AM CT

Kids now see more ads for fast food

Kids now see more ads for fast food
Children saw fewer television advertisements for certain foods, including those for sweets and beverages, in 2007 compared with 2003, as per a report posted online today that will appear in the September print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, children now see more fast-food ads, and racial gaps in exposure to all food advertising have increased.

An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report concluded that there was good evidence that television advertising influences the short-term eating habits of children age 2 to 11, and moderate evidence that advertising influences their usual dietary intake, as per background information in the article. In 2006, 10 major U.S. food companies pledged to devote at least half of their child-targeted advertising to healthier products or encouraging good nutrition and healthy lifestyles, an effort called the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. By 2009, 16 companies had signed on. "Given that each company defined their own better-for-you products and also had different definitions of what constituted children's programming, key questions remain," the authors write.

To assess trends in food advertising before and after the initiative, Lisa M. Powell, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago studied television ratings data from Nielsen Media Research for the calendar years 2003, 2005 and 2007.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 10:51 PM CT

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby
Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby.

Credit: SINC.

There is great confusion among the scientific community about whether women who are drug abusers should breast feed their babies. In order to shed some light on this issue, researchers from various Spanish hospitals and research centres are reviewing the methods used to detect substances in breast milk, their adverse effects, and the recommendations that mothers should follow in this month's issue of the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

"The general recommendation is to totally avoid drug abuse while breastfeeding, because these substances can pass directly through to the newborn", scar Garca Algar, co-author of the study and a doctor in the Paediatrics Department at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, tells SINC.

The researcher adds: "This recommendation extends to the prenatal period, because these substances are passed on to the foetus via the placenta, and then in the postnatal period via the environment. If they have exposure through the milk, they will certainly also have had it during the pregnancy, and they can also be in the environment, as is the case with tobacco smoke".

For this study, the team used the average daily intake of the breastfeeding baby, around 150 millilitres of milk per kilo of weight, as a benchmark. The recommendations are listed for each substance, taking the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a reference.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 21, 2010, 7:18 AM CT

Therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells

Therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells
The therapeutic potential of embryonic stem cells has been an intense focus of study and discussion in biomedical research and has resulted in technologies to produce human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Derived by epigenetic reprogramming of human fibroblasts, these hiPSCs are believed to be almost identical to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and provide great promise for patient-tailored regenerative medicine therapies. However, recent studies have suggested noteworthy differences between these two stem cell types which require additional comparative analyses.

Researchers at Children's Memorial Research Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine investigated the expression of key members of the Nodal embryonic signaling pathway, critical to maintaining pluripotency, in hiPSC and hESC cell lines. Nodal is an important morphogen a soluble molecule that can regulate cell fate in embryological systems that requires tight regulatory control of its biological function.

The group's results demonstrated slightly lower levels of Nodal and Cripto-1 (Nodal's co-receptor) and a dramatic decrease in Lefty (Nodal's inhibitory regulator) in hiPSCs compared with hESCs, suggesting less regulatory control of cell fate in reprogrammed stem cells. Based on these findings, additional work addressed the implications linked to the epigenetic reprogramming of hiPSCs and examined a global comparative analysis of 365 microRNAs (miRs) in hiPSC vs. hESC lines.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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