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NICHD Interviews Dr. Rehan Regarding Transgenerational Asthma - 08/29/2013

Virender Rehan, M.D.Dr. Virender Rehan and a team of collaborators recently published a landmark study using laboratory rats, showing that the risk of asthma is not only limited to the children of women who smoke but also passes to grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

The NICHD interviewed Dr. Rehan about the discovery as part of their series of conversations they do with NICHD scientists and grantees.

"...a large body of evidence suggests that nicotine might be a key ingredient in cigarette smoke that accounts for childhood asthma following smoke exposure during pregnancy. Supporting this, there is strong experimental and clinical evidence showing that, on exposure of the developing fetus, nicotine crosses the human placenta with minimal biotransformation."

- Dr. Virender Rehan in NIH interview

Stuttering Not Deeply Harmful to Children, Says Study - 08/26/2013

Kid talking to adultConcerned parents file into the offices of pediatricians for a multitude of reasons. Many of those reasons are serious, some less so. According to a new study, stuttering should fall into the latter category.

Done by public health researchers in Australia in a study published online today and in print by Pediatrics of AAP in September, the study showed that contrary to what was previously believed, kids who stutter have a higher aptitude in verbal and non-verbal tests than their non-stuttering counterparts. Furthermore, kids who stutter have no ascertainable social impediments.

Study: Delayed Diagnosis for Latino Children with Autism - 08/19/2013

According to a study to be published in the September issue of AAP Pediatrics, Latino children are more likely to get a delayed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Two hundred and sixty-seven California primary care pediatricians were surveyed on the topic of identifying Latino children with ASD. Ninety percent of the surveyed pediatricians did not do the recommended developmental screenings for ASD in Spanish.

When pressed for reasons for the poor identification rates, pediatricians cited menial access, bad communication, and cultural barriers.

While language barriers are an obvious contributor to the late diagnoses, the most frequent hurdle to timely ASD identification for Latino children was access to developmental specialists. Most surveyed pediatricians believed that parents of Latino children were less knowledgeable about ASDs than white parents.

Even when surveys were done as recommended in Spanish for Latino children, pediatricians said they experienced greater difficulty assessing for ASD, compared to white children.

Brief of Children in the Emergency Department, 2010 - 08/15/2013

According to a statistical brief by The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), emergency department visits are on the rise, and children represent a significant portion of the visitors.

The brief, a study of hospital visits in 2010, estimated that there were over 25.5 million emergency department visits by children younger than 18 years of age. Ninety-six percent of those children were treated and released.

The brief also studied the wealth of communities, finding an inverse relation to wealth and emergency department visits. The study had a balanced representation of all communities, indiscriminate of income, and concluded that children from poorer communities accounted for twice as many ED visits as children from wealthier communities.

Mean age of Children Visiting ED:

  • Infants younger than 1 represented 11.9% of the treat-and-release population and represented 22.8% of ED visits resulting in hospital admission
  • Ages 1 through 4 years: Treat-and-release ED visits, 32.8, ED visits resulting in hospital admission, 26.3
  • Ages 5 through 9 years: Treat-and-release ED visits, 20.5, ED visits resulting in hospital admission, 15.5

Interview with USA Football's Medical Director: Dr. Patrick Kersey - 08/12/2013

 Dr. Patrick Kersey Football season is almost upon us. Not just pro football, but youth football as well. Many seasoned kids have already begun practicing over the summer. Even more will don football pads this fall, when football coaches doubling as PE teachers collar the newest kid to hit a growth spurt and point him towards the football field.

According to a poll released in 2012, 59% of Americans follow the NFL. It's popularity is still surging while the health of its players is more scrutinized than ever. So how, then, can parents feel assured that their kids are safe on the gridiron? And what is the role of a pediatrician in ensuring the safety of kids who play football? I reached out to USA Football and got to ask their Medical Director, Dr. Patrick Kersey, a few questions. I began with the million dollar question:

In general, do you think football is safe enough for kids to play?

34 Children Per Day Are Treated for Choking Incidents - 08/09/2013

Food Choking HazardIn a new study published by AAP's Pediatrics, researchers have found that the number of emergency department visits due to children choking on food has increased. An average of 12,400 visits to the hospital were due to children ages 0-14 years of age choking on food -- that's 34 kids per day.

The study points to hard candy as the main food culprit, accounting for 15% of the choking episodes. Other kinds of candy, meat, and bones were also among the causes of choking incidents. The report didn't find a gender divide as boys accounted for 55% of the emergency department visits.

The authors of the report suggest that there be visible warning labels on food to indicate that it presents a choking hazard and to also develop public awareness campaigns to educate parents about the risk of kids choking on food.

Get Vaccinated Before Classes Begin - 08/07/2013

National Immunization Awareness MonthAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). Immunizations are important for everyone at almost every stage in life: from babies to pregnant women, children, preteens, teens, young adults, and adults all need to be vaccinated.

With classes a mere weeks away, students need to remember to get their immunizations. They'll be shaking hands with strangers, hugging friends and kissing loved ones in the biggest melting pot they'll encounter the rest of their life. See your primary health care provider about getting vaccinated.

We all need immunizations to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our community safe, Harbor Pediatrics is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month. Shots can prevent serious diseases like measles, diphtheria, and rubella. It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them.

Harbor-UCLA Pediatrics Team Makes Landmark Discovery of Transgenerational Asthma - 08/06/2013

Virender Rehan, M.D.Virender Rehan, M.D., Chief of the Division of Neonatology, and his team of investigators from the Department of Pediatrics have made a landmark discovery that changes what we know about the lingering effects of second-hand smoke linger beyond what was initially believed.

In a study published online by the American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Rehan, John S. Torday, PhD; Jie Liu, PhD, and Reiko Sakurai, PhD, have concluded that an unborn child can develop asthma from indirect nicotine exposure during the mother's pregnancy. This phenomenon is known as "transgenerational" linkage because the third generation was never exposed directly to smoking of any kind. It was previously believed that only two generations, called "multigenerational" linkage, was possible with asthma.

What is Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS)? - 07/24/2013

Genom StudyLast week, we welcomed the Genomic Outcomes division to Harbor Peds as they founded the LA BioMed Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences. The team will be employing a research methodology known as genome-wide association study (GWAS).

What Is GWAS?

A Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) is an approach that involves rapidly scanning markers across the complete set of DNA of many people to find genetic variations associated with a particular disease.

Understanding Human DNA

A 13 year, $3 billion endeavor that began in 1989 and combined the work of scientists across the world, the Human Genome Project sought to map the human genome.

Get to Know Dr. Moin Vera - 07/17/2013

Dr. Moin Vera
Moin Vera, M.D., Ph.D., a recent graduate of the Harbor-UCLA fellowship program, has recently been appointed to be Assistant Clinical Professor of Medical Genetics and Pediatric Hospital Medicine.

The writing may have always been on the wall for Moin's ascension, or at least ever since he switched specialties to Categorical Pediatrics and came to Harbor for residency where he has been ever since.

Moin was chief resident during his final year as a fellow in the Clinical Genetics and Medical Biochemical Genetics in the UCLA Intercampus Medical Genetics Training Program. "I loved being a fellow at Harbor. Our training program allowed us to spend significant time working with physicians at UCLA in clinical and laboratory settings."