Παρασκευή, 5 Απριλίου 2019

Archives of Disease in Childhood

Highlights from this issue

In Kipling's seminal novel 'Kim', the central premise (literal and metaphorical) is the wresting for power in fin de (19th) siècle South Asia. This attritional confrontation became popularly known as the Great Game and, though ostensibly a children's book, is really more complex. At its core, it is an examination of conflict at multiple levels, part of course of the 'human condition'. The book, is as apposite now as it was in the Bombay and Kabul of Kipling's youth and the theme underpins several of this month's broad ranging papers

Disaster preparedness

Though one might debate the relative contributions to the change, no one would refute the fact that, as starkly highlighted by the global terrorism index, the world is becoming less stable. Though human beings may always have had this propensity, technological changes have altered the means of expressing this phenotype on both a personal and national scale....



Conflict, candour and reflection

There are many challenges to practising medicine well, not least keeping up to date with medical advances, implementing them within the time and financial restraints of ever expanding healthcare and avoiding over or under treatment while keeping the patient safe and avoiding criticism or complaints. In essence, considering the 'whole patient' and managing them using our knowledge, skills and experience which no longer equates to just the medical facts with increased recognition that skills like 'openness', 'listening', 'transparency' and enhanced communication are partly acquired by experience but can also be facilitated by training, mentoring and working in a positive and supportive environment. Multiple new areas of thinking have emerged as priorities—conflict resolution training, the duty of candour, learning from excellence, the need to reflect and active consideration of well being for ourselves, our patients and their families. These concepts need to be embraced as they will help facilitate us...



Quality of life after extremely preterm birth

Gire et al examine the quality of life (QoL) of French primary school-age children born extremely preterm (EP), without disabilities.1 EP birth is usually defined as birth <28 completed weeks' pregnancy, and accounts for <1% of all births, and about 5% of all preterm births. Most children born preterm are moderate to late preterm. However, children born EP have been followed up in international cohort studies for many years, and are well recognised as being at high risk of mortality, morbidity and adverse long-term neurodevelopmental and metabolic outcomes. As these children grow into adulthood, a rich body of literature is emerging, describing their self-reported and observer-reported QoL: an important adjunct to the medical and psychological outcome measures that are deemed important by clinicians and researchers.

Gire et al report that this cross-sectional multicentre study from five level III neonatal hospitals includes 20% of children born EP in France. Importantly, both...



Research beyond the hospital walls
Introduction

Reading widely is not only good for children. Although 'publish or perish' has tended to replace 'read or be dull' in academic life, reading beyond the clinical literature gives us grown-ups a better understanding of children's lives and histories as well as our own. This article provides pointers to the kinds of work with something important to say about children's well-being beyond hospital or clinical settings. The more we understand—as medical education reminds us—that bodies are not just a bunch of organs and that medicine is only one of many determinants of good child health, the more fun it can be to see what we might learn from people on whose shoulders we stand, whatever their discipline.

Earlier articles in this series discuss the imperative to build on what we know and to ask the kinds of questions that children, parents and healthcare professionals would like to...



Maternal immunisation in pregnancy to protect newborn infants

Although maternal tetanus immunisation has been effectively implemented for many years in the developing world,1 there has been a renewed global interest in maternal immunisation programmes over the past several years.2–5 This has been driven partly by the severity of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in pregnant women and the safety provided by the widespread maternal immunisation programme implemented in response to the pandemic.6 7 It has also been increasingly appreciated that maternal immunisations are an excellent way to provide protection to young infants before their own primary immunisation series would begin. There are several reasons that immunising pregnant women is an attractive vaccination strategy. First, by immunising the pregnant woman there is the potential to prevent the targeted infection in both the pregnant woman and her infant. This approach is often referred to as a 'two-fer' with...



A call to action: attention to paediatric-specific disaster preparedness

Natural and man-made disasters have been increasing worldwide. Six hundred natural disasters were documented worldwide in 2016 compared with 200 in 1980.1 The Global Terrorism Index score (which reflects the relative impact of terrorism incidents annually) increased ninefold from 2000 to 2015.2 With this increasing frequency of mass-casualty events globally, hospitals and their healthcare professionals (HCPs) must be ready to receive and manage a large influx of patients. Additionally, these institutions and front-line healthcare workers must be prepared to care for disaster victims of all ages, including the paediatric population, regardless of the hospitals' typical intake patterns.

In order to be best prepared, many countries across the world have developed healthcare-related disaster plans. Similar to other countries, France has developed the Organisation de la Réponse du Système de Santé en Situations Sanitaires Exceptionnelles plan to guide the management of mass casualties. However, this specific plan lacks...



Disaster preparedness in French paediatric hospitals 2 years after terrorist attacks of 2015
Objective

We aimed to determine paediatric hospital preparedness for a mass casualty disaster involving children in both prehospital and hospital settings. The study findings will serve to generate recommendations, guidelines and training objectives.

Design and setting

The AMAVI-PED study is a cross-sectional survey. An electronic questionnaire was sent to French physicians with key roles in specialised paediatric acute care.

Results

In total, 81% (26 of 32) of French University Hospitals were represented in the study. A disaster plan AMAVI with a specific paediatric emphasis was established in all the paediatric centres. In case of a mass casualty event, paediatric victims would be initially admitted to the paediatric emergency department for most centres (n=21; 75%). Paediatric anaesthesiologists, paediatric surgeons and paediatric radiologists were in-house in 20 (71%), 5 (18%) and 12 (43%) centres, respectively. Twenty-three (82%) hospitals had a paediatric specialised mobile intensive care unit and seven (25%) of these could provide a prehospital emergency response. Didactic teaching and simulation exercises were implemented in 20 (71%) and 22 (79%) centres, respectively. Overall, physician participants rated the level of readiness of their hospital as 6 (IQR: 5–7) on a 10-point readiness scale.

Conclusion

Paediatric preparedness is very heterogeneous between the centres. Based on the study findings, we suggest that a national programme must be defined and guidelines generated.



Reducing healthcare conflict: outcomes from using the conflict management framework
Objective

To test a new conflict management framework (CMF) to help staff identify and de-escalate conflict between staff and patients/families.

Design

Before/after study that reports staff quality of life, frequency/severity of conflicts and qualitative interviews on using the framework. Data were collected from May 2017 to September 2017.

Setting

A paediatric oncology department day-patient and 23-bed inpatient ward.

Intervention

A two-stage CMF used by staff during daily handovers to identify and then manage conflict cases with families.

Results

Staff found the CMFto be helpful in identifying and de-escalating conflicts. The number of conflicts reported decreased by 64% from baseline to follow-up. Communication regarding conflict identification improved. Reports of staff burn-out decreased between the two time-points (n=55 at baseline, n=31 at follow-up; p=0.001). Scores on compassion and secondary traumatic stress did not change.

Conclusions

The CMF substantially reduces the incidence of conflicts and is an acceptable approach for staff. Continued use of the framework would require it to be fully integrated into the working of the ward, which would need to include senior medical buy-in. Further refinements to the framework have been made and will be tested in four UK sites in 2018/2019.



Quality of life of extremely preterm school-age children without major handicap: a cross-sectional observational study
Objective

To determine the quality of life (QoL) of school-aged children who were born <28+0 weeks of gestation and who have no resultant major disabilities.

Design, setting and patients

A cross-sectional multicentre study of extremely preterm (EPT) infants born <28+0 weeks, discharged alive and free from severe impairments (cerebral palsy, autism, major cognitive disabilities). Two generic, self-evaluation and hetero-evaluation (by parent) QoL measurement questionnaires (Kidscreen 10/VSP-A) were used and then compared with French population reference.

Main outcome measures

Clinical examination, an assessment of cognitive functions and QoL between 7 and 10 years of age.

Results

40 (7.5%) severely disabled children were excluded. Among those 471 eligible, the lost to follow-up group (169 (36%)) paralleled those 302 (64%) included in the study. The mean gestational age was 26.2 (±0.8), birth weight was 879 (±181) g and the mean age was 8.4 (±0.87) years. 48% of participants had minor or moderate cognitive disabilities based on their Full-Scale Index Quotient. Working memory, attention and mental flexibility scored as low-average. Except for family relationships, the EPT QoL VSP-A and Kidscreen 10 assessment were significantly lower based on the children's and parent's perspectives. Children reported the most significant QoL decline as (1) friends' relationships, (2) self-esteem and (3) leisure, while parents indicated (1) psychological well-being, (2) schoolwork and (3) vitality.

Conclusion

The QoL of a school-age EPT child without severe impairment was lower relative to a reference population from both the parents' and child's points of view. This evaluation should help to better understand the long-term outcomes and to provide better support for them and their families.

Trial registration number

NCT01675726, pre-results.



Air pollution and autism

It's clear that genetics plays a major role in the aetiology of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), but the genuine increase in prevalence over recent decades suggests that environmental factors are also responsible. If ASD is considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder, rather than a social construct, then antenatal influences during early brain development may be important. Potential prenatal causes suggested thus far are many and varied, including paracetamol (Archivist Oct 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 11 708), antidepressant drugs (Archivist March 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 10 462), ultrasound (Archivist Sept 2018 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2018–3 15 816), season of conception (Lucina Dec 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 12 102), and obesity, among many others.

Several studies have hinted at a link with maternal air pollution exposure, but these have been inconsistent or inconclusive. ASD definitions have been imprecise, exposure indicators not sufficiently localised, and types of pollution lumped together. Importantly, confounding factors need to be accounted for, as families with the highest psychosocial risks for autism may tend...




Highlights from this issue

In Kipling's seminal novel 'Kim', the central premise (literal and metaphorical) is the wresting for power in fin de (19th) siècle South Asia. This attritional confrontation became popularly known as the Great Game and, though ostensibly a children's book, is really more complex. At its core, it is an examination of conflict at multiple levels, part of course of the 'human condition'. The book, is as apposite now as it was in the Bombay and Kabul of Kipling's youth and the theme underpins several of this month's broad ranging papers

Disaster preparedness

Though one might debate the relative contributions to the change, no one would refute the fact that, as starkly highlighted by the global terrorism index, the world is becoming less stable. Though human beings may always have had this propensity, technological changes have altered the means of expressing this phenotype on both a personal and national scale....



Conflict, candour and reflection

There are many challenges to practising medicine well, not least keeping up to date with medical advances, implementing them within the time and financial restraints of ever expanding healthcare and avoiding over or under treatment while keeping the patient safe and avoiding criticism or complaints. In essence, considering the 'whole patient' and managing them using our knowledge, skills and experience which no longer equates to just the medical facts with increased recognition that skills like 'openness', 'listening', 'transparency' and enhanced communication are partly acquired by experience but can also be facilitated by training, mentoring and working in a positive and supportive environment. Multiple new areas of thinking have emerged as priorities—conflict resolution training, the duty of candour, learning from excellence, the need to reflect and active consideration of well being for ourselves, our patients and their families. These concepts need to be embraced as they will help facilitate us...



Quality of life after extremely preterm birth

Gire et al examine the quality of life (QoL) of French primary school-age children born extremely preterm (EP), without disabilities.1 EP birth is usually defined as birth <28 completed weeks' pregnancy, and accounts for <1% of all births, and about 5% of all preterm births. Most children born preterm are moderate to late preterm. However, children born EP have been followed up in international cohort studies for many years, and are well recognised as being at high risk of mortality, morbidity and adverse long-term neurodevelopmental and metabolic outcomes. As these children grow into adulthood, a rich body of literature is emerging, describing their self-reported and observer-reported QoL: an important adjunct to the medical and psychological outcome measures that are deemed important by clinicians and researchers.

Gire et al report that this cross-sectional multicentre study from five level III neonatal hospitals includes 20% of children born EP in France. Importantly, both...



Research beyond the hospital walls
Introduction

Reading widely is not only good for children. Although 'publish or perish' has tended to replace 'read or be dull' in academic life, reading beyond the clinical literature gives us grown-ups a better understanding of children's lives and histories as well as our own. This article provides pointers to the kinds of work with something important to say about children's well-being beyond hospital or clinical settings. The more we understand—as medical education reminds us—that bodies are not just a bunch of organs and that medicine is only one of many determinants of good child health, the more fun it can be to see what we might learn from people on whose shoulders we stand, whatever their discipline.

Earlier articles in this series discuss the imperative to build on what we know and to ask the kinds of questions that children, parents and healthcare professionals would like to...



Maternal immunisation in pregnancy to protect newborn infants

Although maternal tetanus immunisation has been effectively implemented for many years in the developing world,1 there has been a renewed global interest in maternal immunisation programmes over the past several years.2–5 This has been driven partly by the severity of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in pregnant women and the safety provided by the widespread maternal immunisation programme implemented in response to the pandemic.6 7 It has also been increasingly appreciated that maternal immunisations are an excellent way to provide protection to young infants before their own primary immunisation series would begin. There are several reasons that immunising pregnant women is an attractive vaccination strategy. First, by immunising the pregnant woman there is the potential to prevent the targeted infection in both the pregnant woman and her infant. This approach is often referred to as a 'two-fer' with...



A call to action: attention to paediatric-specific disaster preparedness

Natural and man-made disasters have been increasing worldwide. Six hundred natural disasters were documented worldwide in 2016 compared with 200 in 1980.1 The Global Terrorism Index score (which reflects the relative impact of terrorism incidents annually) increased ninefold from 2000 to 2015.2 With this increasing frequency of mass-casualty events globally, hospitals and their healthcare professionals (HCPs) must be ready to receive and manage a large influx of patients. Additionally, these institutions and front-line healthcare workers must be prepared to care for disaster victims of all ages, including the paediatric population, regardless of the hospitals' typical intake patterns.

In order to be best prepared, many countries across the world have developed healthcare-related disaster plans. Similar to other countries, France has developed the Organisation de la Réponse du Système de Santé en Situations Sanitaires Exceptionnelles plan to guide the management of mass casualties. However, this specific plan lacks...



Disaster preparedness in French paediatric hospitals 2 years after terrorist attacks of 2015
Objective

We aimed to determine paediatric hospital preparedness for a mass casualty disaster involving children in both prehospital and hospital settings. The study findings will serve to generate recommendations, guidelines and training objectives.

Design and setting

The AMAVI-PED study is a cross-sectional survey. An electronic questionnaire was sent to French physicians with key roles in specialised paediatric acute care.

Results

In total, 81% (26 of 32) of French University Hospitals were represented in the study. A disaster plan AMAVI with a specific paediatric emphasis was established in all the paediatric centres. In case of a mass casualty event, paediatric victims would be initially admitted to the paediatric emergency department for most centres (n=21; 75%). Paediatric anaesthesiologists, paediatric surgeons and paediatric radiologists were in-house in 20 (71%), 5 (18%) and 12 (43%) centres, respectively. Twenty-three (82%) hospitals had a paediatric specialised mobile intensive care unit and seven (25%) of these could provide a prehospital emergency response. Didactic teaching and simulation exercises were implemented in 20 (71%) and 22 (79%) centres, respectively. Overall, physician participants rated the level of readiness of their hospital as 6 (IQR: 5–7) on a 10-point readiness scale.

Conclusion

Paediatric preparedness is very heterogeneous between the centres. Based on the study findings, we suggest that a national programme must be defined and guidelines generated.



Reducing healthcare conflict: outcomes from using the conflict management framework
Objective

To test a new conflict management framework (CMF) to help staff identify and de-escalate conflict between staff and patients/families.

Design

Before/after study that reports staff quality of life, frequency/severity of conflicts and qualitative interviews on using the framework. Data were collected from May 2017 to September 2017.

Setting

A paediatric oncology department day-patient and 23-bed inpatient ward.

Intervention

A two-stage CMF used by staff during daily handovers to identify and then manage conflict cases with families.

Results

Staff found the CMFto be helpful in identifying and de-escalating conflicts. The number of conflicts reported decreased by 64% from baseline to follow-up. Communication regarding conflict identification improved. Reports of staff burn-out decreased between the two time-points (n=55 at baseline, n=31 at follow-up; p=0.001). Scores on compassion and secondary traumatic stress did not change.

Conclusions

The CMF substantially reduces the incidence of conflicts and is an acceptable approach for staff. Continued use of the framework would require it to be fully integrated into the working of the ward, which would need to include senior medical buy-in. Further refinements to the framework have been made and will be tested in four UK sites in 2018/2019.



Quality of life of extremely preterm school-age children without major handicap: a cross-sectional observational study
Objective

To determine the quality of life (QoL) of school-aged children who were born <28+0 weeks of gestation and who have no resultant major disabilities.

Design, setting and patients

A cross-sectional multicentre study of extremely preterm (EPT) infants born <28+0 weeks, discharged alive and free from severe impairments (cerebral palsy, autism, major cognitive disabilities). Two generic, self-evaluation and hetero-evaluation (by parent) QoL measurement questionnaires (Kidscreen 10/VSP-A) were used and then compared with French population reference.

Main outcome measures

Clinical examination, an assessment of cognitive functions and QoL between 7 and 10 years of age.

Results

40 (7.5%) severely disabled children were excluded. Among those 471 eligible, the lost to follow-up group (169 (36%)) paralleled those 302 (64%) included in the study. The mean gestational age was 26.2 (±0.8), birth weight was 879 (±181) g and the mean age was 8.4 (±0.87) years. 48% of participants had minor or moderate cognitive disabilities based on their Full-Scale Index Quotient. Working memory, attention and mental flexibility scored as low-average. Except for family relationships, the EPT QoL VSP-A and Kidscreen 10 assessment were significantly lower based on the children's and parent's perspectives. Children reported the most significant QoL decline as (1) friends' relationships, (2) self-esteem and (3) leisure, while parents indicated (1) psychological well-being, (2) schoolwork and (3) vitality.

Conclusion

The QoL of a school-age EPT child without severe impairment was lower relative to a reference population from both the parents' and child's points of view. This evaluation should help to better understand the long-term outcomes and to provide better support for them and their families.

Trial registration number

NCT01675726, pre-results.



Air pollution and autism

It's clear that genetics plays a major role in the aetiology of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), but the genuine increase in prevalence over recent decades suggests that environmental factors are also responsible. If ASD is considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder, rather than a social construct, then antenatal influences during early brain development may be important. Potential prenatal causes suggested thus far are many and varied, including paracetamol (Archivist Oct 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 11 708), antidepressant drugs (Archivist March 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 10 462), ultrasound (Archivist Sept 2018 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2018–3 15 816), season of conception (Lucina Dec 2016 doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2016–3 12 102), and obesity, among many others.

Several studies have hinted at a link with maternal air pollution exposure, but these have been inconsistent or inconclusive. ASD definitions have been imprecise, exposure indicators not sufficiently localised, and types of pollution lumped together. Importantly, confounding factors need to be accounted for, as families with the highest psychosocial risks for autism may tend...




Highlights from the literature

I am honoured to take over the role of Lucina; Goddess of Childbirth

World-wide estimate of Suicidal ideation in 13-17 year olds

An estimate of the prevalence of suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts using data from Global School-based Student Health Survey of schoolchildren aged 13 to 17 years has highlighted some important geographical variation. [Uddin R et al. Lancet (Adolescent and Child Health) DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(18)30403-6]. This is a large population-based study of 229, 129 adolescents (mean age 14·6 [SD 1·18] years), from 59 low-income and middle-income countries across six WHO regions collected between 2003 and 2015. Meta-analysis with random effects was used to focus on age based and gender based estimates.

The overall prevalence of suicidal ideation was 16·9% (95% CI 15·0–18·8), suicide planning was 17·0% (14·8–19·2), and suicide attempts was 17·0% (14·7–19·3) in the 12 months preceding survey completion. The African region had the highest prevalence of suicidal...



Confused health and nutrition claims in food marketing to children could adversely affect food choice and increase risk of obesity
Objectives

To investigate the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children in the UK and to explore the use of health and nutrition claims.

Design

This cross-sectional study was carried out in a wide range of UK food retailers. Products marketed to children above the age of 1 year containing any of a range of child friendly themes (i.e. cartoons, toys and promotions), and terms suggesting a nutritious or healthy attribute such as 'one of 5-a-day', on product packaging were identified both in stores and online. Information on sugar, salt and fat content, as well as health and nutrition claims, was recorded. The Ofcom nutrient profiling model (NPM) was used to assess if products were healthy.

Results

Three hundred and thirty-two products, including breakfast cereals, fruit snacks, fruit-based drinks, dairy products and ready meals, were sampled. The use of cartoon characters (91.6%), nutrition claims (41.6%) and health claims (19.6%) was a common marketing technique. The one of 5-a-day claim was also common (41.6%), but 75.4% (103) of products which made this claim were made up of less than 80 g of fruit and vegetables. Sugar content (mean±SD per 100 g) was high in fruit snacks (48.4±16.2 g), cereal bars (28.9±7.5 g) and cereals (22.9±8.0 g). Overall, 41.0% of the products were classified as less healthy according to the Ofcom NPM.

Conclusion

A large proportion of products marketed to children through product packaging are less healthy, and claims used on product packaging are confusing. Uniform guidance would avoid confusion on nutritional quality of many popular foods.



Association between hypotension and serious illness in the emergency department: an observational study
Background

The value of routine blood pressure measurement in the emergency department (ED) is unclear.

Objective

To determine the association between hypotension in addition to tachycardia and the Shock Index for serious illness.

Design

Observational study.

Setting

University ED (2009–2016).

Participants, methods and main outcomes

Routine data collected from consecutive children <16 years. Using logistic regression, we assessed the association between hypotension (adjusted for tachycardia) and Shock Index (ratio heart rate/blood pressure [BP]) for serious illness. The predictive accuracy (sensitivity, specificity) for hypotension and Shock Index was determined for serious illness, defined as intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital admissions.

Results

We included 10 698 children with measured BP. According to three age-adjusted clinical cut-offs (Advanced Paediatric Life Support, Paediatric Advanced Life Support and Paediatric Early Warning Score), hypotension was significantly associated with ICU admission when adjusted for tachycardia (range OR 2.6–5.3). Hypotension showed low sensitivity (range 0.05–0.12) and high specificity (range 0.95–0.99) for ICU admission. Combining hypotension and tachycardia did not change the predictive value for ICU admission. Similar results were found for hospitalisation. Shock index was associated with serious illness. However, no specific cut-off value was identified in different age groups.

Conclusions

Hypotension, adjusted for tachycardia, is associated with serious illness, although its sensitivity is limited. Shock index showed an association with serious illness, but no acceptable cut-off value could be identified. Routine BP measurement in all children to detect hypotension has limited value in the ED. Future studies need to confirm which patients could benefit from BP measurement.



Acute ataxia in paediatric emergency departments: a multicentre Italian study
Objectives

To evaluate the causes and management of acute ataxia (AA) in the paediatric emergency setting and to identify clinical features predictive of an underlying clinically urgent neurological pathology (CUNP).

Study design

This is a retrospective medical chart analysis of children (1–18 years) attending to 11 paediatric emergency departments (EDs) for AA in an 8-year period. A logistic regression model was applied to identify clinical risk factors for CUNP.

Results

509 patients (mean age 5.8 years) were included (0.021% of all ED attendances). The most common cause of AA was acute postinfectious cerebellar ataxia (APCA, 33.6%). Brain tumours were the second most common cause (11.2%), followed by migraine-related disorders (9%). Nine out of the 14 variables tested showed an OR >1. Among them, meningeal and focal neurological signs, hyporeflexia and ophthalmoplegia were significantly associated with a higher risk of CUNP (OR=3–7.7, p<0.05). Similarly, the odds of an underlying CUNP were increased by 51% by each day from onset of ataxia (OR=1.5, CI 1.1 to 1.2). Conversely, a history of varicella-zoster virus infection and vertigo resulted in a significantly lower risk of CUNP (OR=0.1 and OR=0.5, respectively; p<0.05).

Conclusions

The most frequent cause of AA is APCA, but CUNPs account for over a third of cases. Focal and meningeal signs, hyporeflexia and ophthalmoplegia, as well as longer duration of symptoms, are the most consistent 'red flags' of a severe underlying pathology. Other features with less robust association with CUNP, such as seizures or consciousness impairment, should be seriously taken into account during AA evaluation.



Longitudinal analysis of health disparities in childhood
Objective

Combatting disparities in health outcomes among children is a major public health concern. This study focuses on two questions: (1) To what extent does socioeconomic status (SES) contribute to disparities in health outcomes? and (2) To what extent can social inequalities in health outcomes be explained by differences in children's health behaviours?

Design

This study included 2-year follow-up data of 1259 children (4–12 years of age) who participated in the 'Healthy Primary School of the Future' project (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02800616). SES was measured by maternal and paternal education and household income (adjusted for family size). Health outcomes were body mass index (BMI) z-score, health resource use, school absenteeism, health-related quality of life and psychosocial health, measured over 2 years of follow-up (2015–2017). Health behaviours included physical activity, and consumption of fruits, vegetables and sweetened beverages. Associations between SES and baseline health behaviours were examined, and mixed models for repeated measures were used to assess associations between SES and health outcomes over 2 years of follow-up.

Results

A high socioeconomic background was significantly associated with better health outcomes (all outcomes). For example, children with a low SES had higher BMI z-scores (beta coefficient: 0.42, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.62) and higher consumption healthcare costs (ratio of mean costs: 2.21, 95% CI 1.57 to 3.10). Effects of SES changed very little after controlling for health behaviours.

Discussion

Our findings strongly suggest that socioeconomic background has a pervasive impact on disparities in child health, but gives little support to the idea that social inequalities in child health can be tackled by means of lifestyle interventions.



Pharmacological management of abnormal tone and movement in cerebral palsy
Background

The evidence base to guide the pharmacological management of tone and abnormal movements in cerebral palsy (CP) is limited, as is an understanding of routine clinical practice in the UK. We aimed to establish details of motor phenotype and current pharmacological management of a representative cohort across a network of UK tertiary centres.

Methods

Prospective multicentre review of specialist motor disorder clinics at nine UK centres, collecting data on clinical features and pharmacological management of children and young people (CYP) with CP over a single calendar month.

Results

Data were collected from 275 CYP with CP reviewed over the calendar month of October 2017. Isolated dystonia or spasticity was infrequently seen, with a mixed picture of dystonia and spasticity ± choreoathetosis identified in 194/275 (70.5%) of CYP. A comorbid diagnosis of epilepsy was present in 103/275 (37.4%). The most commonly used medications for abnormal tone/movement were baclofen, trihexyphenidyl, gabapentin, diazepam and clonidine. Medication use appeared to be influenced separately by the presence of dystonia or spasticity. Botulinum toxin use was common (62.2%). A smaller proportion of children (12.4%) had undergone a previous neurosurgical procedure for tone/movement management.

Conclusions

CYP with CP frequently present with a complex movement phenotype and comorbid epilepsy. They have multiple therapy, medical and surgical management regimens. Future trials of therapeutic, pharmacological or surgical interventions in this population must adequately encompass this complexity in order to be translatable to clinical practice.



Contained and controlled: a collaborative future

Antimicrobial resistance continues to be a major global challenge. The recent Governmental publication from the Department of Health and Social Care in January 2019 reminds of this challenge and attempts to lay out an ambitious plan for the next 20 years; the UK 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance.

Department of Health and Social Care; 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-20-year-vision-for-antimicrobial-resistance. They comment that "The vision and plan were developed across the government, its agencies and administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with support from a range of stakeholders. It is supported by the 'UK 5 year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024'. "

It summarises the global issues of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It challenges not only the medical professions but all stakeholders in public sector and private sector and the public themselves. It reminds us that in the UK that at least 20% of antibiotic prescribed in primary care are...



Can the rotavirus vaccination reduce the incidence of Type 1 diabetes?

As the global epidemic of obesity and type two diabetes in children and adults continues to be a major challenge to public health, an intriguing possible 'off-target' effect of the rotavirus vaccine and association with a reduction in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes, has been reported in JAMA Paediatrics. An Australian study from a team in Melbourne, JAMA Pediatr 2019;173(3):280-282. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4578) and is the first report of epidemiological evidence of this possible and fascinating association.

Nearly 20 years ago it was recognised the rotavirus may have an effect on islet cells auto immunity (Diabetes 2000;49(8):1319–1324. doi:10.2337/diabetes.49.8.1319). Rotavirus vaccination was introduced in Australia in 2007. The team examined the incidence of type 1 diabetes, 8 years before the introduction of the vaccine and compared the incidence to the 8 years after introduction. They hypothesised that the rotavirus vaccination may reduce the incidence of the disease over time.

National coverage of the vaccination...



Falling admissions to hospital with febrile seizures in the UK
Objectives

There was a reduction in febrile seizure admissions in Scotland after 2008. Our hypothesis was that a similar trend would be seen in other countries.

Methods

We obtained the number of febrile and non-febrile seizure admissions in England and Scotland 2000–2013 and the incidence of all seizure admissions 2000–2013 in European countries. We compared the incidence of admission for febrile seizure (Scotland and England) and all seizures (all countries) between 2000–2008 and 2009–2013.

Results

The incidence of febrile seizure admissions per 1000 children in 2009–2013 was lower than 2000–2008 in Scotland (0.79 vs 1.08, p=0.001) and England (0.92 vs 1.20, p<0.001). The incidence of all seizure admissions (but not non-febrile seizures) was lower in 2009–2013 compared with 2000–2008 in Scotland (1.84 vs 2.20, p=0.010) and England (2.71 vs 2.91, p=0.001). Across 12 European countries (including the UK), there was no difference in all seizure admissions after 2008. We explored the possibility that the fall was related to the introduction of routine pneumococcal vaccination in 2006 but there were insufficient data.

Conclusion

A fall in admissions for febrile (but not afebrile) seizures after 2008 in Scotland and England explains a fall in all emergency admissions for seizure. A fall in all seizure admissions has not occurred in other European countries, and more research is required to understand the different outcomes in the UK and non-UK countries.



Age-related gait standards for healthy children and young people: the GOS-ICH paediatric gait centiles
Objective

To develop paediatric gait standards in healthy children and young people.

Methods

This observational study aims to address the lack of population standards for gait measurements in children. Analysing gait in children affected by neurological or musculoskeletal conditions is an important component of paediatric assessment but is often confounded by developmental changes. The standards presented here do not require clinician expertise to interpret and offer an alternative to developmental tables of normalised gait data. Healthy children aged 1–19 years were recruited from community settings in London and Hertfordshire, UK. The GAITRite walkway was used to record measurements for each child for velocity, cadence, step length, base of support and stance, single and double support (as percentage of gait cycle). We fitted generalised linear additive models for location, scale and shape (gamlss).

Results

We constructed percentile charts for seven gait variables measured on 624 (321 males) contemporary healthy children using a gamlss package in R. A clinical application of gait standards was explored.

Conclusion

Age-related, gender-specific standards for seven gait variables were developed and are presented here. They have a familiar format and can be used clinically to aid diagnoses and to monitor change over time for both medical therapy and natural history of the condition. The clinical example demonstrates the potential of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health Paediatric Gait Centiles to enable meaningful interpretation of change in an individual's performance and describes characteristic features of gait from a specific population throughout childhood.



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