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Journal: BMC pediatrics


BACKGROUND: Celiac disease is defined as a ‘chronic small intestinal immune-mediated enteropathy precipitated by exposure to dietary gluten in genetically predisposed individuals’. Sweden has experienced an “epidemic” of celiac disease in children below two years of age. Celiac disease etiology is considered multifactorial; however, little is known regarding potential risk- or protecting factors. We present data on the possible association between early infectious episodes and celiac disease, including their possible contribution to the Swedish celiac disease epidemic. METHODS: A population-based incident case-referent study (475 cases, 950 referents) with exposure information obtained via a questionnaire (including family characteristics, infant feeding, and the child’s general health) was performed. Celiac disease cases were diagnosed before two years of age, fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Referents were randomly selected from the national population register after fulfilling matching criteria. The final analyses included 954 children, 373 (79%) cases and 581 (61%) referents, with complete information on main variables of interest in a matched set of one case with one or two referents. RESULTS: Having three or more parental-reported infectious episodes, regardless of type of infection, during the first six months of life was associated with a significantly increased risk for later celiac disease, and this remained after adjusting for infant feeding and socioeconomic status (odds ratio [OR] 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.0; P=0.014). The celiac disease risk increased synergistically if, in addition to having several infectious episodes, infants were introduced to dietary gluten in large amounts, compared to small or medium amounts, after breastfeeding was discontinued (OR 5.6; 95% CI, 3.1-10; P<0.001). CONCLUSION: This study suggests that having repeated infectious episodes early in life increases the risk for later celiac disease. In addition, we found a synergistic effect between early infections and daily amount of gluten intake, more pronounced among infants for whom breastfeeding had been discontinued prior to gluten introduction. Regarding contribution to the Swedish celiac disease epidemic, which partly was attributed to concurrent changes in infant feeding, early infections probably made a minor contribution via the synergistic effect with gluten amount.

Concepts: Transmission and infection of H5N1, Medicine, Infant, Epidemiology, Coeliac disease, Nutrition, Infection, Infectious disease


BACKGROUND: Studies on the association of birth by caesarean section (C/S) and allergies have produced conflicting findings. Furthermore, evidence on whether this association may differ in those at risk of atopy is limited. This study aims to investigate the association of mode of delivery with asthma and atopic sensitization and the extent to which any effect is modified by family history of allergies. METHODS: Asthma outcomes were assessed cross-sectionally in 2216 children at age 8 on the basis of parents' responses to the ISAAC questionnaire whilst skin prick tests to eleven aeroallergens were also performed in a subgroup of 746 children. Adjusted odds ratios of asthma and atopy by mode of delivery were estimated in multivariable logistic models while evidence of effect modification was examined by introducing interaction terms in the models. RESULTS: After adjusting for potential confounders, children born by C/S appeared significantly more likely than those born vaginally to report ever wheezing (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.07-1.71), asthma diagnosis (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.09-1.83) and be atopic (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.08-2.60). There was modest evidence that family history of allergies may modify the effect of C/S delivery on atopy (p for effect modification=0.06) but this was not the case for the asthma outcomes. Specifically, while more than a two-fold increase in the odds of being a topic was observed in children with a family history of allergies if born by C/S (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.38-5.00), no association was observed in children without a family history of allergies (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.64-2.11). CONCLUSIONS: Birth by C/S is associated with asthma and atopic sensitization in childhood. The association of C/S and atopy appears more pronounced in children with family history of allergies.

Concepts: Allergen, Caesarean delivery on maternal request, Odds ratio, Hypersensitivity, Allergy, Atopy, Childbirth, Asthma


Awareness of federal nutrition programs and use of the nutrition facts label are associated with reduced risk for obesity and increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Relationships between nutrition programs, use of food labels and risk for overweight and obesity have rarely been evaluated in adolescents.

Concepts: Healthy diet, Cooking, Health, Dieting, Malnutrition, Vegetable, Obesity, Nutrition


BACKGROUND: Severe eczema in young children is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma and rhino-conjunctivitis. In the general population, however, most cases of eczema are mild to moderate. In an unselected cohort, we studied the risk of current asthma and the co-existence of allergy-related diseases at 6 years of age among children with and without eczema at 2 years of age. METHODS: Questionnaires assessing various environmental exposures and health variables were administered at 2 years of age. An identical health questionnaire was completed at 6 years of age. The clinical investigation of a random subsample ascertained eczema diagnoses, and missing data were handled by multiple imputation analyses. RESULTS: The estimate for the association between eczema at 2 years and current asthma at 6 years was OR=1.80 (95 % CI 1.10-2.96). Four of ten children with eczema at 6 years had the onset of eczema after the age of 2 years, but the co-existence of different allergy-related diseases at 6 years was higher among those with the onset of eczema before 2 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Although most cases of eczema in the general population were mild to moderate, early eczema was associated with an increased risk of developing childhood asthma. These findings support the hypothesis of an atopic march in the general population.Trial registrationThe Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim study has been identified as ISRCTN28090297 in the international Current Controlled Trials database.

Concepts: Data analysis, Epidemiology, Allergen, Expectation-maximization algorithm, Clinical trial, Asthma, Allergy, Eczema


BACKGROUND: Children’s fractures have been enlisted among orthopaedics complaints of childhood obesity. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviours may contribute to increased risk. This study described the prevalence of overweight/obesity in children and adolescents reporting a recent fracture in relation to gender, dynamic of trauma, and site of fracture. METHODS: Four-hundred-forty-nine children and adolescents with fracture and 130 fracture-free controls were recruited from a large children’s hospital. The interaction between overweight and gender, dynamic of trauma, site of fracture was explored. Sports participation, television viewing, and calcium intake were also investigated. RESULTS: Overweight/obesity rate was increased in girls with fracture either at the upper or the lower limb (p= 0.004), while it was increased only in boys with fracture at the lower limb (p <0.02). Overweight/obesity rate did not differ between groups with low or moderate trauma. TV viewing [greater than or equal to] 2 hrs was more frequent in children with fractures than controls (61.5% vs 34.5%, p =0.015) in the overweight/obese group. CONCLUSIONS: The increased prevalence of overweight/obesity in children with fractures is related to gender and site of fracture. Higher levels of sedentary behaviours characterize overweight children reporting fractures.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Case-control study, Childhood, Orthopedic surgery, Nutrition, Bone, Obesity, Bone fracture


BACKGROUND: PEG-based laxatives are considered today the gold standard for the treatment of constipation in children. PEG formulations differ in terms of composition of inactive ingredients which may have an impact on acceptance, compliance and adherence to treatment. We therefore compared the efficacy, tolerability, acceptance and compliance of a new PEG-only formulation compared to a reference PEG-electrolyte (PEG-EL) formulation in resolving faecal impaction and in the treatment of chronic constipation. METHODS: Children aged 2–16 years with functional chronic constipation for at least 2 months were randomized to receive PEG-only 0.7 g/kg/day in 2 divided doses or 6.9 g PEG-EL 1–4 sachets according to age for 4 weeks. Children with faecal impaction were randomized to receive PEG-only 1.5/g/kg in 2 divided doses until resolution or for 6 days or PEG-EL with an initial dose of 4 sachets and increasing 2 sachets a day until resolution or for 7 days. RESULTS: Ninety-six children were randomized into the study. Five patients withdrew consent before starting treatment. Three children discontinued treatment for refusal due to bad taste of the product (1 PEG-only, 2 PEG-EL); 1 (PEG-EL) for an adverse effect (abdominal pain). Intent-to-treat analysis was carried out in 49 children in the PEG-only group and 42 in the PEG-EL group.No significant differences were observed between the two treatment groups at baseline.Adequate relief of constipation in terms of normalized frequency and painless defecation of soft stools was achieved in all patients in both groups. The number of stools/week was 9.2 +/- 3.2 (mean +/- SD) in the PEG-only group and 7.8 +/- 2.4 in the PEG-EL group (p = 0.025); the number of days with stool was 22.4 +/- 5.1 in the PEG-only group and 19.6 +/- 7.2 in the PEG-EL group (p = 0.034).In the PEG-only group faecaloma resolution was observed in 5 children on the second day and in 2 children on the third day, while in the PEG-EL group it was observed in 2 children on the second day, in 3 children on the third day and in 1 child on the fifth day.Only 2 patients reported mild treatment-related adverse events: 1 child in the PEG-only group had diarrhoea and vomiting and 1 child in the PEG-EL group had abdominal pain requiring treatment discontinuation. The PEG-only preparation was better tolerated as shown by the lower frequency of nausea than in the PEG-EL group.In the PEG-only group, 96% of patients did not demonstrate any difficulties associated with treatment, as compared with 52% of patients in the PEG-EL group (p < 0.001). Also, the PEG-only formulation taste was better than that of PEG-EL (p < 0.001). The difference between the percentage of subjects who took > 80% of the prescribed dose was in favour of the PEG-only group (98% vs. 88%), though it did not reach a conventional statistical level (p = 0.062). CONCLUSION: PEG-only was better tolerated and accepted than PEG-EL in children with chronic constipation. At the higher PEG doses recommended by the manufactures children in the PEG-only group had higher and more regular soft stool frequency than PEG-EL.Trial NCT01592734.

Concepts: Irritable bowel syndrome, Enema, Polyethylene glycol, Randomized controlled trial, Fecal impaction, Constipation, Feces, Gastroenterology


The rates of childhood allergic conditions are changing, prompting the need for continued surveillance. Examination of healthcare provider-based diagnosis data is an important and lacking methodology needed to complement existing studies that rely on participant reporting.

Concepts: Rhinitis, Mast cell, Immune system, Cohort study, Food allergy, Eczema, Asthma, Allergy


Depression is often co-morbid with chronic conditions, and when combined with HIV it can increase progression and reduce survival. A brief and accurate screening tool for depression among children living with HIV is necessary to increase access to mental health care and improve HIV-related outcomes in the long-term.

Concepts: Mental health professional, Health, Mental health, Illness, Psychology, Mental disorder, Medicine, Health care


Recent research published in this journal highlighted the issue of the high content of aluminium in infant formulas. The expectation was that the findings would serve as a catalyst for manufacturers to address a significant problem of these, often necessary, components of infant nutrition. It is critically important that parents and other users have confidence in the safety of infant formulas and that they have reliable information to use in choosing a product with a lower content of aluminium. Herein, we have significantly extended the scope of the previous research and the aluminium content of 30 of the most widely available and often used infant formulas has been measured.

Concepts: Infancy, Manufacturing, Estimator, Science, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Metabolism, Research and development, Hydrogen


Childhood asthma and obesity prevalence have increased in recent years suggesting a potential association. However, the direction of any association is poorly understood and the potential causal-relationship is unknown.

Concepts: Cohort study, Body shape, Mass, Epidemiology, Obesity, Body mass index