The 21st Century Cures Act, which contains provisions designed to accelerate regulatory approval of medical devices and drugs, authorize new medical research funding, and give $1 billion to states to combat the opioid crisis, passed the House by a vote of 392-26 on Wednesday. The final version, which is scheduled for consideration in the Senate next week, drops language that would have rolled back reporting requirements for payments from drug and device companies to health care providers.
The US has discontinued public sale of smallpox vaccines since 1971 when routine pediatric vaccination was deemed unnecessary, but continues to have an adequate vaccine supply if a smallpox emergency arises, writes Dr. H. Cody Meissner, an ex officio member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. The vaccines would be given to those with direct smallpox exposure and may be recommended to those without exposure depending on the circumstances of the outbreak, Meissner writes.
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Forty-five percent of pediatric food allergy tests ordered by primary care physicians were panel tests, compared with 1.2% of allergists' orders, while testing costs per patient were nearly $400 for PCPs, compared with about $200 for allergists, according to a study in Pediatrics based on one-year food allergy testing data at a hospital in Ohio. Panel tests may prompt food allergy misdiagnosis and unnecessary diet restrictions that can increase the risk of stunted growth, nutritional deficiencies and true allergies in children, said study author Dr. David Stukus.
Figures show a 70% drop in global pediatric HIV infections between 2000 and 2015 and a more than 95% decline in HIV transmission among US infants since the 1990s, which is largely due to prevention programs, especially for HIV-positive women, said Dr. Ellen Gould Chadwick, chair of the AAP Committee on Pediatric AIDS. Children with HIV who take their medications can have long, healthy lives but may be at higher risk for other health issues, such as heart disease and neurologic diseases, said Dr. Thor Wagner of Seattle Children's Hospital.
A vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy for people of all ages, as well as for pregnant women, athletes and children, and is good for the environment, according to a position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. AND spokeswoman Vandana Sheth said these diets must be balanced and planned out to ensure they contain sufficient nutrients.
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Researchers examined data from an early childhood center and found that only 22% of child care workers adhered to proper hand-washing guidelines after diaper changing, food preparation, garbage disposal and nose wiping. The findings in the American Journal of Infection Control showed hand-washing rates of 30% for caregivers, 11% for paraprofessional and 4% for parents at the facility.
A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report called on the FDA to revise food allergy warning labels to make them less confusing and more specific about the level of risk people face. The report said more studies are needed on how many adults and children are affected by food allergies and recommended the FDA replace its current use of precautionary labels with a risk-based approach.
Some early-childhood education advocates say they are unsure what to expect under a Trump administration. Laura Bornfreund, director of early and elementary education policy with nonpartisan Washington think tank New America, says she does not expect new funding for Head Start.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who is President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead HHS, has repeatedly proposed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. His plans include offering consumers fixed tax credits to buy health insurance, expanding health savings accounts, capping employer tax deductions for health insurance, creating state-run high-risk pools and allowing some coverage restrictions for pre-existing conditions.
Dec. 1 to 7 marks Infantile Spasms Awareness Week. Most pediatricians will encounter only one or two cases in their career but appropriate early identification and treatment will lead to developmental recovery for the child. Part of the week's events include an archived webinar where Dr. Mary Zupanc discusses the causes of infantile spasms and the importance of early recognition. She also explains the differences between infantile spasms and febrile seizures.
Expert offers age-appropriate tips on keeping Pokémon Go safe
The Pokémon GO craze is attracting attention from all ages, and some parents are asking their pediatrician whether or not is OK to let their children play the game. Elizabeth Murray, DO, MBA, FAAP, provides safety tips on HealthyChildren.org for all ages when playing this "augmented reality game."
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