Connect with us

Health

Racial disparities in deaths among premature babies narrowing, study finds

Published

on

June 10 (UPI) — Racial disparities in the care received by babies born prematurely — and with low birth weight — and their mothers might be narrowing and generating improvements in overall survival, a study published Wednesday has found.

The improvements in care have led to increases in overall survival among babies born prematurely, and that in-hospital mortality for preterm infants is comparable among racial and ethnic groups, researchers report in the study, published in JAMA Network Open.

For the study, researchers at 16 universities, including the University of Alabama-Birmingham, with RTI International, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network, analyzed data on more than 20,000 preterm infants born between 2002 and 2016.

In-hospital death rates among black infants born prematurely dropped to 24 percent in 2016 from 35 percent in 2002, compared to a decline to 27 percent from 32 percent for Hispanic infants and to 22 percent from 30 percent for white infants, the researchers found.

Past research has suggested that death rates for black and Hispanic infants born prematurely were twice those of white infants.

“There were narrowing racial/ethnic disparities in key interventions, including receipt of antenatal corticosteroids and cesarean delivery” over the study period, the study authors wrote in explaining the trends.

“Adherence to evidence-based medicine and continued quality improvement efforts should further improve outcomes of extremely preterm infants among all racial and ethnic groups,” said the authors, who did not respond to requests for comment.

Overall, about 10 percent of all babies in the United States are born prematurely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly one-third of preterm infants die, the agency estimates.

Common causes of death in preterm infants include breathing problems, sepsis and neurodevelopmental issues, among others, according to the March of Dimes.

Roughly 40 percent of the infants included in the new analysis were black, while 40 percent were white and 20 percent were Hispanic.

Rates of late-onset sepsis among black infants declined to 24 percent in 2016 from 37 percent in 2002, and to 23 percent from 45 percent among Hispanic infants, compared to a drop to 25 percent from 36 percent among white infants, the authors found.

In all, 90 percent of black infants born prematurely in 2016 received corticosteroids — which are administered to treat breathing problems and promote lung development — up from 72 percent in 2002. Similarly, 83 percent of preterm Hispanic infants received the drugs in 2016, compared to 73 percent in 2002, they said.

Rates of cesarean delivery also increased among preterm black infants — to 59 percent from 45 percent — and preterm Hispanic infants — to 59 percent from 49 percent — over the study period, the researchers reported. Cesarean deliveries among preterm white infants held steady at just over 60 percent, they said.

Narrowing racial and ethnic disparities in care, including the use of corticosteroids and cesarean delivery, likely led to declines in death rates among preterm black and Hispanic infants, the researchers said.

“This … study found no racial/ethnic differences in changes in mortality rates or most major morbidities among extremely preterm infants, with mortality decreasing over time across all groups,” they wrote.



Source link

Health

Study: Seizures after vaccination don’t affect child development

Published

on

Kids who have a fever-related seizure after getting a vaccine won’t have developmental and behavioral problems as a result, according to a new study.

These so-called febrile seizures do not affect children’s development whether they occur after a vaccination or not, the researchers said.

“A febrile seizure can occur following vaccination and understandably can be quite distressing to parents. It can also cause parents to lose confidence in future vaccinations,” said study author Dr. Lucy Deng. She is a pediatrician at the National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance in Sydney, Australia.

“Now, parents will be relieved to hear that having a febrile seizure following vaccination does not affect the child’s development,” Deng added.

For the study, Deng’s team compared 62 kids who had a fever-related seizure within two weeks of a shot with 70 who had a seizure from another cause and 90 who never had a seizure. All were about 2 years old.

The investigators found no differences in development, thinking skills or behavior among the three groups.

“At a time when there is a global resurgence of measles and new diseases are emerging, our findings are particularly important in reassuring parents and providers on the safety of vaccines,” Deng said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

The report was published online July 1 in the journal Neurology.

More information

To learn more about fever-related seizures, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Most MS patients use alternative treatments like marijuana, vitamins or massage

Published

on

Despite the existence of conventional medications to manage multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, a majority of patients also rely on alternative therapies, including vitamins, exercise and marijuana, a new survey suggests.

For the study, researchers at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland asked MS patients if they used “complementary and alternative therapies” — medicines and practices outside of standard medical care.

A majority of just over 1,000 respondents said they used some type of alternative therapy, including marijuana, vitamins, herbs and minerals, plus mind-body therapies like exercise, mindfulness, massage and various diets.

An earlier survey, conducted in 2001, found some people regularly used these therapies — and many found them helpful — but only 7 percent were talking to their doctors about them.

“It was a little bit of a wake-up call to physicians that they need to be more educated about complementary or alternative therapies, and then consider these therapies as part of the overall treatment plan for their patients,” said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Silbermann, a neurology fellow.

MS is a potentially disabling disease that results from the immune system attacking the nervous system and damaging nerves. Symptoms vary, and while some patients eventually lose their ability to walk, others may experience only mild symptoms. MS has no known cure, but treatments can slow the disease’s progression and help patients manage symptoms.

“We have a lot more treatment options for our patients, and we’re treating our patients earlier than we ever did before,” Silbermann said.

But now that there are so many more medications, the researchers wanted to know if people are still using complementary or alternative medicines.

To find out, Silbermann’s team surveyed MS patients in Oregon and Washington between August 2018 and March 2019.

The investigators found that 80 percent of respondents used dietary supplements (such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs) compared to 65 percent in 2001.

Around 70 percent reported using conventional medications to manage their MS symptoms.

The percentage using mind-body therapies (such as mindfulness and massage) nearly tripled — 39 percent of current patients, up from 14 percent in the earlier survey. More than eight in 10 were exercising, an increase from 67 percent in 2001.

Good evidence for exercise

Exercise is one of the only alternative therapies in the survey that has strong evidence of success in curbing MS symptoms.

“This is a disease that does cause physical disability and weakness, so it’s very natural to refer patients to physical therapy and to encourage them to be physically active,” Silbermann explained. “There’s pretty good evidence that things like stretching can be helpful for MS-related muscle tightness, and that staying physically active and doing some aerobic exercise can be very helpful for our patients.”

In the current survey, about 30 percent of participants reported using marijuana in a variety of forms. Pot is legal in Oregon and Washington, where the study was conducted, potentially limiting generalization of the results.

There is some evidence that marijuana can help patients with muscle “spasticity” or tightness.

“When you ask patients to report how tight their muscles feel, they will report consistently that their muscles feel less tight when they are using cannabis, which is great,” said Silbermann.

Pot’s pros and cons

Sean Hennessy, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, said, “One of the few uses for cannabis-based products for which there’s reasonable evidence of effectiveness is muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.”

Hennessy was involved in a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that synthesized available information on cannabis products and their use in medicine.

But pot can potentially exacerbate existing MS symptoms, including muddled thinking and memory problems. Silbermann said that “it goes to show us that everything does have a side effect that we have to consider as part of an overall treatment strategy and plan.”

One of the most significant findings of the new survey was that over half of respondents said they spoke to their doctors about their use of alternative medicines, compared to the dismal 7 percent in 2001.

Silbermann said she hopes this is because patients feel that physicians are more accepting and knowledgeable about other treatment options. However, not enough is known about alternative therapies for physicians to decide which are safe and effective, she added.

Physicians need to know what supplements or drugs you might be taking for many reasons, but especially to ensure that the medications they prescribe don’t have any potentially negative interactions. But alternative medicines like supplements and cannabis are not well-regulated or well-studied, limiting the ability to assess their safety and efficacy.

“It’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. So there’s always a concern about the purity of whatever you’re taking, and that’s especially true in cannabis,” Silbermann explained.

According to Hennessy, there are not enough referenced resources that physicians can rely on to know what medications interact poorly with cannabis.

“So, yes, it’s a good idea to tell your physician if you’re using cannabis, but they don’t really have anywhere to look to see whether cannabis interacts with whatever other drugs you’re taking,” Hennessy said.

Silbermann stressed that more research is needed to back up any recommendations about alternative therapies. “It’s an entire other field of medicine, and I think that we’re just learning how important it is to our patients,” she said.

The results were recently published online in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

More information

There’s more about multiple sclerosis at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

90% of COVID-19 patients recover sense of smell, taste within 4 weeks, study finds

Published

on

July 2 (UPI) — Nearly 90 percent of COVID-19 patients who lose their sense of smell or taste or both after becoming infected will see these symptoms begin to resolve within a few weeks, according to a study published Thursday by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Even in patients for whom the symptoms remain, or worsen, the lingering effects are not a sign that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, remains in their system, the researchers said.

“The loss of smell or taste is among the most common and persistent symptoms of COVID-19 in patients with mildly symptomatic disease,” the authors wrote.

“However, at four weeks from the onset, most patients reported a complete resolution or improvement of these symptoms,” they said.

An earlier analysis by the same team of researchers — from Treviso Regional Hospital in Italy and St. Thomas Hospital in London — found that roughly two-thirds of patients with mild COVID-19 lose their sense of smell and/or taste. That finding was based on an assessment of 202 patients treated at Treviso.

For this study, the researchers surveyed the same group of 202 patients in mid-April — roughly four weeks after they were first diagnosed with COVID-19 — and asked them about their symptoms and retested them for the virus.

Fifty-five patients — or nearly 49 percent — reported complete resolution of their smell and/or taste impairment, while 46 — or just under 41 percent — indicated that they had experienced an improvement in symptom severity, the researchers said.

Only 12 — or less than 11 percent — reported that their smell/taste deficiencies remained or had worsened, they said.

The duration of smell or taste impairment in recovered patients was approximately 11 days, the researchers said.

However, persistent loss of smell and taste was not necessarily an indicator of the continued presence of SARS-CoV-2, they said.

Of the 58 patients who still were experiencing smell and/or taste deficiencies four weeks after symptom onset, 31 — or roughly 54 percent — still tested positive for the virus, compared to 26 — or just over 46 percent — of fully recovered patients, the researchers said.

“A higher severity of smell and taste impairment at [onset of infection], reasonably due to a more severe injury … was associated with a lower likelihood of recovery at four weeks,” the authors wrote.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending