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December 17, 2012
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News for pediatricians and other child health professionals

  Top Stories 
  • Routines can help children cope with tragedy
    Children returning to school today for the first time since the shooting in Connecticut last Friday could experience anxiety, but routines can help reassure children that their schools are safe, says Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, an associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Experts say parents and teachers should watch for any signs of excess worry or stress and should strive to give children clear answers to their questions. USA Today (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • For more: Please see the Last Word from the AAP for more information about responding to the Connecticut school shooting. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AAP backs thimerosal use in vaccines
    Thimerosal, a preservative containing ethyl mercury used in some vaccines, should not be considered a harmful source of mercury or be subjected to a ban contained in the United Nations' draft treaty, the AAP said. Dr. Walter Orenstein the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases said reducing mercury exposure is important, but the use of thimerosal in vaccines is an exception because it is key to protecting children. The policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics, supports WHO's stance on the use of thimerosal. Reuters (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Research and treatment advances in neonatology
What breakthrough enables physicians to rapidly diagnose critically ill infants that have genetic disorders? How are we improving surgical procedures for premature babies with intestinal problems? Get these answers and more in the neonatology SmartBrief sponsored by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City.
  Pediatric Health Care 
  • IVF twin pregnancies carry greater risk of complications than single births
    Twin pregnancies through in vitro fertilization resulted in more complications such as premature birth and low birth weight compared with two separate IVF singleton pregnancies, Swedish researchers found. Risks for breathing problems, sepsis or jaundice were higher among twin babies, while preeclampsia and C-sections were more likely among women carrying twins, according to the study in the journal Fertility and Sterility. Reuters (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tenofovir is well-tolerated by teens with chronic HBV, study shows
    Whether or not teens with chronic hepatitis B virus received prior treatment, taking tenofovir once a day for 72 weeks effectively normalized alanine aminotransferase values and suppressed the virus' DNA, a trial found. However, researchers noted that those in the tenofovir group were more likely to report grade 3 and 4 side effects than those in the placebo group. The findings appear in the journal Hepatology. News (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hispanic children with autism more likely to have learning, speech problems
    Hispanic children diagnosed with autism had an almost twofold increased risk of having a learning disability or speech disorder than other patients, a study showed. Researchers noted that anxiety disorders were more prevalent among white children compared with blacks. The findings were presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting. Family Practice News (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teen drinking, marijuana use may alter brain structure
    MRI scans of 92 teens with a history of alcohol or drug use showed that heavy drinkers and marijuana users had negative changes in their brain's white matter over 18 months. Heavy drinking had more of an effect than greater use of marijuana, researchers reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. HealthDay News (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology 
  • 5 key priorities for health IT next year
    Computerized physician order entry systems have been shown to have the potential to boost care quality and reduce costs, but few hospitals have gotten on board with the technology. This article recommends making CPOE use a top priority next year, along with enhancing data security, upgrading EHRs, implementing clinical decision support and hiring more IT workers. InformationWeek (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report shows physician practice costs increase
    Total operating costs for physician-owned practices increased 1.27% from 2010 to 2011, according to an MGMA-ACMPE report. Since 2001, multispecialty practices have seen a 64% increase in operating costs. Director of data solutions Todd Evenson said medical groups are "doing everything they can to control that cost curve growth." HealthLeaders Media (12/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Hot Topics 

Top five news stories selected by AAP SmartBrief readers in the past week.

  • Results based on number of times each story was clicked by readers.
  Health Policy & Regulations 
  The Last Word - News from the AAP 
  • Update on response to tragedy in Conn.
    The thoughts of everyone at the AAP and pediatricians across the nation are with the community of Newtown, Conn., after the tragic school shooting on Friday.
    On Friday, both and featured resources specific to disaster response, school shootings, and talking to children in times of crisis. Those resources are available online, including a special section on talking to children, which has been featured prominently in the media over the weekend. This list of resources also contains a link to the AAP policy on firearm injuries published in October, which includes a call for restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public.

    David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the Medical Home for Children and Adolescents Exposed to Violence Task Force, continues to be interviewed for numerous national media interviews. He currently is in the community of Newtown to assist school officials, and he has been briefing other pediatricians over the weekend. Many AAP spokespersons contributed to stories in Associated Press, USA Today, Denver Post, and the New York Post, and on National Public Radio, as well as in social media, to name a few. In addition, a statement under AAP President Dr. Tom McInerny's signature was disseminated via Web, social media and the AAP media mailing list as well as to the staff and leadership.

    AAP spokesperson Alanna Levine, MD, FAAP, will appear on an episode of the Dr. Oz show today about talking to children about tragedies. Check local listings for the time and station of the program in your area.

    The AAP will continue to disseminate messages and resources in response to this tragedy.
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Action is the antidote to despair."
--Joan Baez,
American singer

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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAP members and other health professionals about child health topics in the media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of pediatricians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues.
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