Houston Area Pediatric Specialists

Independent pediatric specialists aim to serve our community. We want to share news and analysis regarding our specialties and our practices.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

To avoid concussion rules, some players sandbag their baseline tests

Why is a comprehensive neurologic evaluation important after a concussion?

As physicians we treat people and not tests. Tests provide supportive data that quantify deficits. If you game the test or use non-standard testing conditions, the data can be flawed.

Dr. Rotenberg

To avoid concussion rules, some players sandbag their baseline tests

NFL players are given tests to determine their baseline brain functioning so that if they suffer a concussion, they can be held out until they return to their previous levels. But NFL players often don’t want to be held out after they suffer a concussion. And that may lead to some of them intentionally doing poorly on baseline tests.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Hazards: For Children in E.R., a Big Increase in CT Scans

Published: April 7, 2011

The number of computed tomography scans performed on children visiting hospital emergency rooms has increased fivefold in recent years, to 1.65 million in 2008 from 330,000 in 1995, a new study has found.

The analysis, published online on Tuesday in the journal Radiology, found that CT scans were performed in almost 6 percent of all children’s emergency department visits in 2008, compared with about 1 percent in 1995. Scans were most commonly done on children arriving with head injuries, headaches or abdominal pain.

The sharp increase in the use of CT scans did not surprise the authors of the report, who said advances in the technology had resulted in improved image quality that can greatly aid diagnosis of childhood ailments. But the scans expose patients to high levels of ionizing radiation that can cause cancer in later years, and radiation is even more harmful for children than for adults.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Psychological Problems in Childhood Affect Earning Power and Relationships Later

By Meredith Melnick Monday, April 4, 2011

In a 50-year study of more than 17,000 British people who were followed since birth, researchers from the RAND Labor and Population program found that psychological problems during childhood were related to measurable social and financial deficits later in life.

By age 50, those who had experienced serious psychological problems as children had family incomes that were 25% smaller than those of their peers who didn't have the same issues. Kids who had serious psychological problems — such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse or other mental disorders that caused moderate or severe 'emotional maladjustment' as determined by a doctor — were also less likely to have stable personal relationships or to be married by 50.

Read the rest of the article here.

Behavior Therapy Trumps Medications for Autism, Study Says

Research Concludes Behavior-Based Interventions Are The Most Effective By LARA SALAHI April 4, 2011

Shannon Penrod, 48, of Saugus, Calif., could feel a change coming over her son Jem Miller. By the time he was two, parts of his speech gradually began to disappear. In just a few months, what started as, "Mama what are you doing?" turned to "Mama, what doing?" Then he retreated into silence. "He didn't even acknowledge me in a room or seek me out," said Penrod.

Within six months, Jem was diagnosed with autism, a disorder characterized by withdrawn social and behavioral skills. "Autism was like a thief coming into the night and stealing pieces of my child," said Penrod. "Something in him seemed like it was just going away." While Jem's deteriorating language skills and apparent emotional separation from his family was hard to bear for Penrod and her husband, learning about Jem's diagnosis was not the hardest part, she said. Finding the right treatment was.

While there is no cure for autism, there is no shortage of purported treatments to manage the range of symptoms associated with the wide spectrum of the disorder. And, like Penrod, many parents of newly diagnosed children find themselves inundated with overflowing and at times conflicting treatment recommendations.

Read the rest of the article here.

Food Fight: Our Brain's Reward System Meets the Bottom Line

A Warning on Overuse Injuries for Youths

By JANE E. BRODY Published: April 4, 2011 Just as warming weather brings millions of young athletes back onto sports fields, a major athletics association has renewed this warning: Some school-age competitors who are inadequately prepared, or improperly coached, continue to develop serious overuse injuries. The risks often exceed those faced by adults who get carried away with a chosen sport because young athletes are still growing mentally and physically, and so are vulnerable to certain injuries, some of which can compromise growth. Among the most common are Osgood-Schlatter disease, a painful inflammation just below the knee; Sever’s disease, a injury to the heel’s growth plate; and among young baseball pitchers, nagging elbow or shoulder injuries. Young athletes are also more vulnerable to stress fractures. Read the rest of the article here.