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.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Declining lung function may occur routinely due to sleep physiology, making already marginal asthma worse. Dr. Susarla

A recent study found a high prevalence of clinical insomnia in individuals with asthma. In addition, the study also determined the effects of insomnia on the well-being, asthma control, and asthma-related health care utilization of patients. Researchers concluded that insomnia is highly prevalent in individuals with asthma, and those with insomnia experience adverse health effects and are at risk for not having well-controlled asthma.
A team of researchers, lead by Faith S. Luyster at the University of Pittsburg, studied the prevalence of insomnia in patients with asthmas to determine its association with asthmas and the health of the patient by using the Insomnia Severity Index, Asthma Control Test, Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The study collected data from 714 participants confirmed with asthma and enrolled in the Severe Asthmas Research Program III.
Researchers identified insomnia in 263 participants (37%). Insomnia in patients increased their risk for not having well-controlled asthma by 2.4-fold and their risk for asthma-related health care utilization by 1.5-fold in the past year compared to patients without insomnia. Patients with insomnia also showed higher levels of anxiety and depression, as well as poor quality of life.
While patients with asthma commonly report sleep difficulties, the relationship between asthma and insomnia is unknown. The researchers concluded, “Insomnia is highly prevalent in asthma and is associated with adverse outcomes. Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the interaction between insomnia and asthma control.”

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Natural asthma therapies? Inflammation is the  cause  for most asthma sufferers. Dr. Susarla

A recent study found that high quality omega-3 fatty acids (17-HDHA) may decrease the inflammatory immune system response related to allergic asthma, and might be an effective alternative to corticosteroids for patients with mild asthma.
“While corticosteroids can be effective at suppressing chronic inflammation, systemic or [oral corticosteroids] also have deleterious side effects, including weight gain, osteoporosis, and growth retardation in children,” the researchers wrote.
Specialized proresolving mediators, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown in animal models to reduce inflammation in chronic inflammatory diseases.
To investigate their effects in patients with asthma, researchers collected blood samples from 17 patients with asthma taking inhaled corticosteroids, with β2-agonists as needed; 3 of the 17 participants were taking high dosages of oral corticosteroids. Blood samples from healthy donors were also collected.
Researchers isolated peripheral blood B cells and treated them with either 17-HDHA or resolvin D1 (RvD1) using cells from at least 3 participants to test that effects of omega-3 fatty acids on immunoglobulin E (IgE) production in B cells. In one experiment, researchers tested the effects of corticosteroids on the ability of 17-HDHA to reduce inflammation.
Their findings showed that 17-HDHA and RvD1 reduced the level of IgE antibodies in blood samples, indicating a reduction in the antibodies that cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.
However, the results were not found in samples from participants on high doses of oral corticosteroids as researchers discovered that the steroids blocked the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids in participants with severe asthma. 
“Our results suggest that [specialized proresolving mediators] are important potential therapeutics for most patients with allergic asthma. Further, our results highlight that immunosuppressive therapies like [oral corticosteroids] also suppress endogenous resolution pathways and suggest one method by which [oral corticosteroids] may actually exacerbate allergic diseases,” the researchers concluded.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Most Kids Who Died of Flu Weren’t Vaccinated, Study Finds

Notwithstanding the seasons where flu efficacy is poor, this is still a good default argument for treating at-risk kids. Dr. Susarla

Most children who have died of flu in recent years were not vaccinated against the virus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers reported Monday. 
They found that at least three-quarters of kids who died from influenza between 2010 and 2014 had not been vaccinated in the months before they got sick.
And while kids with asthma, developmental disorders and other conditions are at especially high risk, fully half the kids who died were considered healthy before they became infected, the researchers found.
Article linked here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

'Last Supper' Portions have Super Sized Over Time

Not neurology but interesting anyway. - JR

Portion Sizes in 'Last Supper' Paintings Grew Over Time 

By Andrea Thompson | March 22, 2010

Nutrition experts have analyzed the food depicted in some of the best-known paintings of the biblical Last Supper and found that the portion and plate sizes depicted in them increased substantially from older paintings to those painted more recently.

The findings suggest the trend of bigger plates and portions that has been noticed recently and linked to obesity may have been in the works for much longer, the researchers suggest.

"I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or 'portion distribution' is a recent phenomenon," said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. "But this research indicates that it's a general trend for at least the last millennium."


"As the most famously depicted dinner of all time, the Last Supper is ideally suited for review," Craig Wansink said.

From the 52 paintings, which date between 1000 and 2000 A.D., the sizes of loaves of bread, main dishes and plates were calculated with the aid of a computer program that could scan the items and rotate them in a way that allowed them to be measured. To account for different proportions in paintings, the sizes of the food were compared to the sizes of the human heads in the paintings.


Full article

altima cena ;

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pediatric Sleep Apnea Linked to Brain Changes

Medical community slowly learning more about the consequences of sleep apnea in children. Dr. Susarla

In children with a common condition that causes them to periodically stop breathing during sleep, areas of the brain involved with thinking and problem-solving appear to be smaller than in children who sleep normally, a study finds.
Researchers can't say the brain changes actually cause problems for children at home or school, but they do say the condition, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), has been tied to behavior and cognitive problems.
"It really does seem that there is a change in the brain or that the brain is affected," said study author Paul Macey, who is director of technology and innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing.

Macey and colleagues write in Scientific Reports that up to 5 percent of all children are affected by OSA. The condition causes the child's airway to become blocked, which ultimately causes the brain to go without oxygen for short periods of time and may wake the child up.