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Children’s Health Research 2008

Our featured research news in 2008 looked at new treatment approaches, prevention strategies, drug research, and changes in medical care. The studies also reflected the changes in medical industry to decrease unnecessary costs without cutting care. Here is a quick recap on children’s health research featured from 2008.

Children’s Health News

Hot news topics for children’s health in 2008 focused on problems associated with medication for children. The medical community questioned some over-the-counter medications for safety and effectiveness. Vaccines remained a hot button topic as well as medications for ADHD which an estimated 2.5 million children are currently taking.
  • In a review of past studies on the use of decongestants and antihistamines for children with ear infections these medicines were found to have little to no effect on the duration of the illness. These drugs have come under close scrutiny in the last few years for negative effects on children.
  • Vaccines remain a hot topic for children’s health. Results from several studies were reviewed about the influenza or flu vaccine. While the vaccine was very effective against flu caused by influenza it was not effective against other illnesses that caused flu-like symptoms. In addition, it did not seem to be as useful for children under two years of age.
  • Children with underlying and unknown heart conditions can have serious heart damage or even die because of stimulant medication like ADHD medication. The American Heart Association released a recommendation that children should receive an EKG before receiving this medication.
  • Alternative treatment may be able to provide some anxiety relief for children undergoing medical procedures. A relatively easy acupressure procedure was shown to reduce anxiety for children about to undergo medical procedures.

How Does This Affect You?

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns about specific medications and vaccines. Colds , ear infections , and the flu can make your child miserable but medication may not be the answer. In fact some medications may provide little to no benefit and some risk. Talk to your doctor about what medications, if any, may be appropriate and ways to help relieve discomfort like hot or cold compresses, a humidifier, or special drinks. Teach your child proper hand washing techniques to help prevent infections.



Last reviewed January 2008 by Larissa J. Lucas, MD

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