Leukodystrophies are a group of genetically determined disorders that affect development or maintenance of central nervous system myelin. Leukodystrophies have an incidence of at least 1 in 4700 live births and significant morbidity and elevated risk of early death. This report includes a discussion of the types of leukodystrophies; their prevalence, clinical presentation, symptoms, and diagnosis; and current and future treatments. Leukodystrophies can present at any age from infancy to adulthood, with variability in disease progression and clinical presentation, ranging from developmental delay to seizures to spasticity. Diagnosis is based on a combination of history, examination, and radiologic and laboratory findings, including genetic testing. Although there are few cures, there are significant opportunities for care and improvements in patient well-being. Rapid advances in imaging and diagnosis, the emergence of and requirement for timely treatments, and the addition of leukodystrophy screening to newborn screening, make an understanding of the leukodystrophies necessary for pediatricians and other care providers for children.
Progress in therapy has made survival into adulthood a reality for most children, adolescents, and young adults with a cancer diagnosis today. Notably, this growing population remains vulnerable to a variety of long-term therapy-related sequelae. Systematic ongoing follow-up of these patients is, therefore, important to provide for early detection of and intervention for potentially serious late-onset complications. In addition, health counseling and promotion of healthy lifestyles are important aspects of long-term follow-up care to promote risk reduction for physical and emotional health problems that commonly present during adulthood. Both general and subspecialty health care providers are playing an increasingly important role in the ongoing care of childhood cancer survivors, beyond the routine preventive care, health supervision, and anticipatory guidance provided to all patients. This report is based on the guidelines that have been developed by the Children’s Oncology Group to facilitate comprehensive long-term follow-up of childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer survivors (www.survivorshipguidelines.org).
All children and adolescents deserve access to quality health care regardless of their race/ethnicity, health conditions, financial resources, or geographic location. Despite improvements over the past decades, severe disparities in the availability and access to high-quality health care for children and adolescents continue to exist throughout the United States. Economic and racial factors, geographic maldistribution of primary care pediatricians, and limited availability of pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists all contribute to inequitable access to pediatric care. Robust, comprehensive telehealth coverage is critical to improving pediatric access and quality of care and services, particularly for under-resourced populations.
Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children. In 2018, almost 900 US children younger than 20 years died of drowning. A number of strategies are available to prevent these tragedies. As educators and advocates, pediatricians can play an important role in prevention of drowning.