Tag Archive | "pediatrics"

Antibiotics for Asthma Given to Too Many Children

A current study found that close to a million children in the United States are prescribed with antibiotics for asthma even though the actual guidelines do not recommend its use. Dr. Ian Paul, the lead researcher and a professor of pediatrics at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, said that they try really hard not to prescribe unnecessary antibiotics but their study shows that pediatricians are prescribing the drug too often.

Paul said that it is unclear why doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat severe asthma. He, however, said that doctors may feel that they need to cover all bases and also prescribe antibiotics. There are also times when parents themselves ask their doctors for antibiotics.

The one finding that Paul thought to be encouraging is that education regarding asthma plays an important role in the prescription antibiotics. It appears that when astham education was delivered during the visit, antibiotics are only prescribed 11% of the time; in comparison to 19% when asthma education is not given.

Paul further said that this means we can decrease the likelihood of the use of antibiotics in treating asthma by educating families and patients.

In addition, the doctor said that most antibiotics have side effects and patients may develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria which are life threatening. That is why unnecessary prescription of antibiotics is definitely discouraged.

This report was published on “Pediatrics” on the 23rd of May. Pediatrics is an online medical magazine.

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ADHD and Autism on the Rise

Government researchers have reported recently that one in every six American children born today has developmental disability which includes ADHD and autism. That is a sharp 17% rise from the data collected 10 years ago.

The study that was published in “Pediatrics”, discovered that around 15% of American children between 3 and 17 years old have been diagnosed with the disorder between 2006 and 2008; that is a total of 10 million children. In comparison, only 8 million children were diagnosed between 1997 and 1999.

Although researchers saw a general increase in developmental disability cases, including learning disabilities and stuttering, the increases were most significantly seen in ADHD and autism cases. ADHD cases, for example, rose from 5.7% in 1997-1999 to 33% in 2006-2008.

The study noted that more boys were diagnosed with the disability than girls. Males have higher tendencies of inheriting genetic disabilities than females. Also, ADHD symptoms are more pronounced in boys than in girls; thus, the former is more easily diagnosed than the latter.

Some other important findings of the study include the fact that ADHD and autism cases are higher among children on Medicaid and those who are from low-income families. Also, researchers noticed that cases of developmental disabilities are lower among Hispanic children than black or white Americans. They, however, noted that the language barrier may be the reason for this data and it may not necessarily reflect the correct rate.

It is still unclear to the researchers why there was a significant increase in the cases of ADHD, autism, and developmental disability in general. However, they said that it may be due to the increase of preterm labor and the mother’s age during pregnancy. Children born prematurely have 30% to 60% more chances of developing ADHD than those who were born full term. Also, mothers who give birth in their 40s have greater chances of having an autistic child than those who are in their 20s.

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