Top Child Health News of 2008, Continued

Part 2:  Here is my synopsis and opinion on the 2nd half of the top 10 most read online pediatric and adolescent medicine stories of 2008.  The previous post is here.

  • When Are Temper Tantrums in Preschool Children Cause for Concern? 
    • Most toddlers and pre-schoolers have the occasional, or even frequent, tantrums but are generally healthy. In some children, however, they can be an early sign of depression or disruptive disorders.  If you have concerns about the frequency or quality of your child’s tantrums, please see your doctor.  
  • Vaccines in the News
    • Two new combination vaccines have been approved this year.  The AAP strongly encourages the use of combination vaccines, as it helps assure that children receive their vaccines on schedule.  I think they’re nice because in my quest to prevent life-threatening illnesses, I have to stick fewer needles into children.  The kids seem to agree.
      • Kinrix combines diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and inactivated polio vaccine in one shot. It is approved for children aged 4 to 6 years.  This is a nice option because it decreases the number of injections children need before entering kindergarden.  They still won’t be happy….
      • Pentacel combines DTaP, inactivated polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate (tetanus toxoid conjugate) vaccine and is approved for children aged 6 weeks though 4 years as a four-dose series at any of the 2-, 4-, 6-, and 15- to 18-month routine visits.  There is already another combination vaccine for this age group, but this is a nice option for some families: talk to your pediatrician about the alternatives.
  • Use of Soy-Based Formulas in Infants: Myths, Misuse, and Misconceptions
    • Soy formula is a very popular alternative to cow-milk formula in many families.  But soy products contain the plant form of the female hormone estrogen (“phytoestrogen”) and many families are concerned about the potential estrogenic effects of soy and its potential impact on the growth and development of children, both boys and girls.  This article suggests that while the popularity of its use for prevention or treatment of colic and for the prevention of allergies may be unjustified, the fears of the effects of the phytoestrogens might be exaggerated.  In other words, soy formula is not a miracle cure but is probably not harmful either. 
    • My take:  I don’t often recommend soy formula, preferring to think of infants as more closely related to baby cows than to baby soybeans.
  • Sweet Relief for Cough? 
    • This article discusses my favorite treatment for cough: honey.  I talk about it here
  • Guanfacine and Clonidine: What Are Their Roles in ADHD Treatment in Children? 
    • Updates on two of the alternative medicines for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their efficacy.  This is minutiae to all but the parents of kids with ADHD who can’t tolerate or don’t respond to the first line therapies.  If you are one of these parents, however, it is fabulous to have an alternative.

Bottom line:  Cutting edge science often yields results that seem to confuse more than illuminate.  I try to stay current with the latest science, and to use  this knowledge combined with common sense to help parents make decisions for their families.  At work today, I used my line about kids being more closely related to baby cows than to baby soybeans, and got a good laugh from the mother of my infant patient.  Then she said “That makes sense to me.”  It might be a bit unsophisticated–I have to admit that I don’t have a biochemist’s understanding of what happens to the constituents of milk or soy when they are processed into formula–but it makes sense to me too. 

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1 Comment

Filed under Common Illnesses, Healthy Eating, In The News, Newborns and Infants, Vaccines

One response to “Top Child Health News of 2008, Continued

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Child Health Articles of 2008: The Science of Medicine « Dr. Kim, MD

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