The annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans and attracted more than 10,000 participants from around the world, including primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical sub-specialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and other health care professionals. The conference featured scientific sessions focusing on the latest advances in the care of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, as well as scientific papers, posters, and educational exhibits.
In one study, Matthew D. Milewski, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and colleagues found that a lack of sleep was associated with an increased risk of injury in adolescent athletes. Via an online survey, the investigators evaluated 112 student athletes in grades seven through 12 in a single combined middle/high school in the greater Los Angeles area. The survey consisted of questions regarding training practices, amount of sports, and time committed to sports per week and per year; utilization of strength training or a private coach; quantity of sleep obtained on an average night; and subjective enjoyment of sport participation.
"The key finding to our study was that kids who slept less than eight hours per night and were in a higher grade in school (meaning older kids) were more likely to have sustained an injury. These two factors were the best independent predictors based on multivariate analysis," Milewski said. "Student athletes were 1.7 times more likely to get an injury if they had slept less than eight hours per night. We feel that adolescent athletes may benefit from additional sleep as they get older to help minimize sports injuries. Injury prevention programs and initiatives should include sleep education."
In another study, Monika Goyal, M.D., of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues found that pregnancy testing among adolescent females presenting to the emergency department occurred infrequently, even among those presenting with potential reproductive health complaints or those being exposed to radiation that may be harmful if pregnant.
"Of the 77 million girls who visited an emergency department from 2000 to 2009, just 14.5 million, less than 20 percent, were tested for pregnancy. Of patients reporting symptoms that may be associated with pregnancy complications, 42.3 percent were tested; and, of those exposed to radiation that may be harmful if pregnant, only 21.5 percent were tested," Goyal said. "These findings underscore the need to develop quality improvement interventions to increase pregnancy testing in adolescent girls in the emergency department, especially among those with higher risk of pregnancy complications."
In an effort to increase the safety of cheerleading and decrease the number of injuries, the AAP offered new guidelines to aid in the prevention of cheerleading-related injuries.
"We are seeing more children and adolescents participating in cheerleading and we are seeing the complexity of the stunts and routines increase. Given both of these factors, we are seeing more injuries. In the last year for which we have good data (2007), there were over 26,000 cheerleading injuries in the United States. From 1980 to 2007, cheerleading injuries increased by over 400 percent," said Jeffrey Mjaanes, M.D., member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness and coauthor of the new guidelines. "Cheerleading is often not considered a sanctioned sport at many schools and colleges or by many states. We would like cheerleading to be designated as a sport across the country in order to improve access to quality coaches, facilities, and medical care, and to allow better injury data collection."
The new guidelines recommend limiting pyramid stunts to two-people high and using trained spotters for all stunts. In addition, cheerleaders should not move on to complex stunts until they have demonstrated appropriate skill progression from simpler stunts. The guidelines also recommend uniform training for coaches to ensure they know how to detect and prevent injuries. Lastly, the guidelines recommend that all cheerleaders have a pre-participation physical to detect any conditions that might predispose the participant to injury.
"Our goal is to make cheerleading as safe an activity as possible for the millions of participants. We hope this policy statement serves as a means to achieve this goal," Mjaanes said.
AAP: Many School Football Players Ignore Concussion Signs
TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable number of varsity high school football players continue not to seek medical attention for concussion-like symptoms due to concerns of being excluded from play, and most are not concerned about the long-term effects of concussions, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.
AAP: IVF Linked to Congenital Malformations
TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The likelihood of congenital malformations, including defects of the eye, heart, and genitourinary system, is significantly increased for infants conceived following in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.
AAP: Child Pedestrian Injuries Often Due to Unsafe Crossing
TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Pedestrian-motor vehicle injuries in children frequently result from unsafe crossing practices, often despite supervision, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.
AAP: Little Evidence Supporting Health Benefits of Organic Food
MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Organic foods expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with disease, but current evidence does not demonstrate nutritional benefits or deficits compared with conventionally farmed foods, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in Pediatrics to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.
AAP: Secondary Sexual Features Developing Earlier in U.S. Boys
MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- For U.S. boys, the mean age for development of secondary sexual characteristics is earlier than reported previously, and varies depending on race, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Pediatrics to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.
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