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Important News

From The American Academy Of Pediatrics

June 1, 2021
Early Childhood Caries in Indigenous Communities

The oral health of Indigenous children of Canada (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) and the United States (American Indian and Alaska native) is a major child health disparity when compared with the general population of both countries. Early childhood caries (ECC) occurs in Indigenous children at an earlier age, with a higher prevalence, and at much greater severity than in the general population. ECC results in adverse oral health, affecting childhood health and well-being, and may result in high rates of costly surgical treatment under general anesthesia. ECC is an infectious disease that is influenced by multiple factors, but the social determinants of health are particularly important. This policy statement includes recommendations for preventive and clinical oral health care for infants, toddlers, preschool-aged children, and pregnant women by primary health care providers. It also addresses community-based health-promotion initiatives and access to dental care for Indigenous children. This policy statement encourages oral health interventions at early ages in Indigenous children, including referral to dental care for the use of sealants, interim therapeutic restorations, and silver diamine fluoride. Further community-based research on the microbiology, epidemiology, prevention, and management of ECC in Indigenous communities is also needed to reduce the dismally high rate of caries in this population.

June 1, 2021
Ambient Air Pollution: Health Hazards to Children

Ambient air pollution is produced by sources including vehicular traffic, coal-fired power plants, hydraulic fracturing, agricultural production, and forest fires. It consists of primary pollutants generated by combustion and secondary pollutants formed in the atmosphere from precursor gases. Air pollution causes and exacerbates climate change, and climate change worsens health effects of air pollution. Infants and children are uniquely sensitive to air pollution, because their organs are developing and they have higher air per body weight intake. Health effects linked to air pollution include not only exacerbations of respiratory diseases but also reduced lung function development and increased asthma incidence. Additional outcomes of concern include preterm birth, low birth weight, neurodevelopmental disorders, IQ loss, pediatric cancers, and increased risks for adult chronic diseases. These effects are mediated by oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, endocrine disruption, and genetic and epigenetic mechanisms across the life span. Natural experiments demonstrate that with initiatives such as increased use of public transportation, both air quality and community health improve. Similarly, the Clean Air Act has improved air quality, although exposure inequities persist. Other effective strategies for reducing air pollution include ending reliance on coal, oil, and gas; regulating industrial emissions; reducing exposure with attention to proximity of residences, schools, and child care facilities to traffic; and a greater awareness of the Air Quality Index. This policy reviews both short- and long-term health consequences of ambient air pollution, especially in relation to developmental exposures. It examines individual, community, and legislative strategies to mitigate air pollution.

June 1, 2021
Use of Probiotics in Preterm Infants

Probiotic products in the United States are available for use in the general category of dietary supplements, bypassing the rigor of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process in safety, efficacy, and manufacturing standards. As a result, currently available probiotics lack FDA-approved drug labeling and cannot be marketed to treat or prevent disease in preterm infants, including necrotizing enterocolitis and late-onset sepsis. Despite lack of availability of a pharmaceutical-grade product, the number of preterm infants receiving probiotics in the United States and Canada is steadily increasing. According to recent reports from large collaborative databases in the United States, approximately 10% of extremely low gestational age neonates receive a probiotic preparation during their stay in the NICU, with wide variation in practice among units. In sum, more than 10 000 preterm infants have been enrolled in randomized clinical trials of probiotic supplementation worldwide. Methodologic differences among study protocols included different strains and combinations of therapy, masking of trials, and a priori definitions of the primary outcome measure. Large meta-analyses of these trials have demonstrated the efficacy of multiple-strain probiotics in reducing necrotizing enterocolitis and all-cause mortality, whereas the efficacy of single-strain probiotic preparations is less certain. In the absence of an appropriate medical-grade product in the United States, dietary supplement–grade probiotics, some of which have been the subject of recent recalls for contamination, are being prescribed. Given the lack of FDA-regulated pharmaceutical-grade products in the United States, conflicting data on safety and efficacy, and potential for harm in a highly vulnerable population, current evidence does not support the routine, universal administration of probiotics to preterm infants, particularly those with a birth weight of <1000 g.

June 1, 2021
Collaborative Care in the Identification and Management of Psychosis in Adolescents and Young Adults

Pediatricians are often the first physicians to encounter adolescents and young adults presenting with psychotic symptoms. Although pediatricians would ideally be able to refer these patients immediately into psychiatric care, the shortage of child and adolescent psychiatry services may sometimes require pediatricians to make an initial assessment or continue care after recommendations are made by a specialist. Knowing how to identify and further evaluate these symptoms in pediatric patients and how to collaborate with and refer to specialty care is critical in helping to minimize the duration of untreated psychosis and to optimize outcomes. Because not all patients presenting with psychotic-like symptoms will convert to a psychotic disorder, pediatricians should avoid prematurely assigning a diagnosis when possible. Other contributing factors, such as co-occurring substance abuse or trauma, should also be considered. This clinical report describes psychotic and psychotic-like symptoms in the pediatric age group as well as etiology, risk factors, and recommendations for pediatricians, who may be among the first health care providers to identify youth at risk.

June 1, 2021
The 21st Century Cures Act & Adolescent Confidentiality