Paeds News Archive 2016

‘Zipper Kids’: Children who suffer from heart defects bare their scars, as parents reveal the pain they go through

Another breakthrough by the Heart Centre has been recognising the importance of looking after the emotional health of the families as well as the physical health of the babies. “We take the view that you can be completely successful in medical care, but may not fully succeed if you are not looking after the families as well,” said Dr Sholler.
Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian from the University of NSW is the Head of Psychology at the Heart Centre for Children and established the Hearts and Minds program in 2010 to support families so they can better support children.
Originally appeared in The Sunday Telegraph December 4, 2016.

Baby girl born premature while mum still pregnant with her twin brother a month later

Thanks to the incredible work of the Royal Hospital for Women at Randwick, baby Sadie was born premature at 24 weeks on October 26 while her baby brother is yet to make an appearance.
It costs $52 to keep a baby breathing on a ventilator for half an hour and nearly 80 per cent of the lifesaving equipment in the newborn intensive care unit is funded through donations.
Originally appeared in Southern Courier November 18, 2016.

Compassionate access to cannabis for kids

Pharmaceutical cannabidiol is being used to treat children with severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy as part of three wider trials.
“The [Compassionate Access] Scheme will see some of the sickest children in NSW – who have not responded to available epilepsy drugs and treatments – gain access to a regulated pharmaceutical supply of the promising medicine, cannabidiol, at an earlier date than was expected, and before it is accessible in many other countries,” says lead trial researcher Dr John Lawson, from Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, NSW.
Originally appeared in Australian Journal of Pharmacy September 28, 2016.

Blood ‘hot study’ shows potential for leukaemia drug

A ‘breakthrough’ adult leukaemia therapy called venetoclax could successfully target high-risk leukaemia subtypes in infants or children reveals an Australian study published this month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, in prestigious US haematology journal Blood.
The study’s lead authors are Professor Richard Lock, Head of Leukaemia Biology at Children’s Cancer Institute and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Professor David Huang.
While leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer and has survival rates of around 90%, some leukaemia subtypes have much lower survival rates.  Professor Richard Lock, Head of Leukaemia Biology at Children’s Cancer Institute, said that although it is disappointing that venetoclax is not looking as broadly active for the most common paediatric leukaemia (acute lymphocytic leukaemia or ALL) as it is in adult CLL, the research identified paediatric ALL sub-types that could be more susceptible to the drug than others and these are ‘high-risk’ sub-types.
Originally appeared on CCI website September 26, 2016.

Medicinal-cannabis trials at Calvary Mater Newcastle and John Hunter hospitals

The NSW government will begin a medicinal-cannabis trial at the Calvary Mater Newcastle hospital for patients with advanced cancer “in the coming months”.
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that a dozen children in the Hunter-New England region would receive medicinal cannabis to treat severe epilepsy.
This NSW government trial has begun at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, led by Dr. John Lawson.
Dr Lawson said it contained cannabidiol, which was “non-psychoactive”.
Originally appeared in Newcastle Herald September 26, 2016.

John Hunter Children's Hospital Provides Children With Medical Marijuana

A medical breakthrough at the John Hunter Children's Hospital took place as children were already allowed to receive medical marijuana for their treatment. A group of children diagnosed with severe epilepsy was given medical marijuana as an alternative treatment.
"This is an important first step in exploring the clinical use of cannabis-derived medicine for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy," lead trial researcher Dr. John Lawson said. The scheme will see some of the sickest children who have not responded to available epilepsy drugs and treatments in NSW.
Originally appeared in Parent Herald September 20, 2016.

UNSW researchers top the state in cancer grants

For the second year running UNSW researchers have topped the Cancer Institute NSW Research Equipment Grants, winning a combined $1.9 million in funding.
UNSW Professor Richard Lock received $1,000,000 to purchase the latest generation mass spectrometer. The machine will be used to investigate treatments for leukaemia, non-small cell lung cancer, brain cancer, neuroblastoma and pancreatic cancer.
Originally appeared in UNSW Newsroom September 14, 2016.

Meet the miracle workers of the neonatal ward at Randwick’s Royal Hospital for Women

BIANCA Arberry enjoyed a textbook pregnancy — until she reached 30 weeks. Suffering no symptoms, the Wollongong woman attended her regular 30-week check-up and hours later was in an ambulance rushing to the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. Her baby, Mikayla Jane, was born just over 24 hours later, two-and-a-half months early and weighing less than 1kg.
Little Mikayla will remain a patient of the NICU until the date she was meant to be born, October 26. Her care is under the direction of a team of doctors, led by Dr Kei Lui, co-director of the Newborn Care Centre, which encompasses the NICU, and specialist nurses.
Originally appeared in Herald Sun September 10, 2016.

Asthma tablets linked to depression and suicidal thoughts in children as young as FOUR

A tablet used to treat exercise-induced asthma has been linked to suicidal thoughts and depression in children as young as four.
Montelukast or Singulair is chewable tablet prescribed to adults and children between the ages of two to 14 to treat varying levels of exercise-induced asthma, reported the ABC.
Paediatric respiratory physician Adam Jaffe from Sydney Children’s Hospital said he had taken some patients off the drug after they had side effects.
Originally appeared in Daily Mail September 6, 2016.

Singulair, Montelukast: Asthma medication linked to serious psychotic episodes in children

There are growing concerns a common form of chewable asthma treatment is causing suicidal thoughts and depression in children as young as four.
‘Some of my patients have complained of nightmares or tantrums, of being angry, or being sad. And in those cases the challenge to me and to each parents is to work out whether it’s the medication itself or whether it’s the child’s behaviour. So in a handful of patients it certainly has been the medication.’ - Prof Adam Jaffe.
Orginally appeared in ABC News September 5, 2016.

These Australian Robots Are Working 24/7 To Cure Kids' Cancer

At the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Child Cancer Personalised Medicine Centre, specialised robots are working 24/7, rapidly testing hundreds of treatments for kids with high-risk cancers.
Professor Michelle Haber AM, Executive Director of Children’s Cancer Institute, said the need for better treatment options is urgent.
“Every week in Australia, three children die of cancer. When standard treatments fail, these children have few options and little time.
Originally appeared in Gizmodo September 2, 2016.

Childhood cancer survivors suffering long-term health issues

New data has revealed 81 per cent of childhood cancer survivors suffer health consequences well into their adult years.
According to Associate Professor Claire Wakefield from the University of NSW, there needs to be more research into how medical professionals can support childhood cancer survivors and their families in the decades after treatment. “On top of the prevalence of life-changing late effects that we have found childhood cancer survivors struggle with, our data also shows that there is no consistent model of care,” she explains.
Originally appeared in SBS August 26, 2016.

Young people with cancer should have affordable options to preserve their fertility

Due to significant advances in diagnosis and treatment, many Australians with cancer can expect to survive and lead a normal life. For those of reproductive age this includes the chance to have their own family in the future. But fertility can be affected by both the cancer itself and the treatment received.
One in ten cancer patients can expect to face fertility issues after their treatment. But studies from the United States show less than 50% of those at risk of infertility are given the opportunity for referral to a fertility specialist or informed about options and strategies to preserve their reproductive health.
Authors: Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, UNSW Australia; Brigitte Gerstl, International Manager FUTuRE Fertility, Sydney Children's Hospital, UNSW Australia.
Originally appeared in The Conversation August 26, 2016.

Medical cannabis trial for epileptic children showing 'promising' early signs

A special scheme providing medicinal cannabis to epileptic children too sick to join the upcoming standard clinical trial in NSW has shown "promising" early signs, though doctors have warned it is not a miracle cure.
Sydney Children's Hospital neurologist Dr John Lawson is the lead investigator for the medicinal cannabis trials for paediatric epilepsy in New South Wales.
He said the children selected for the scheme were deemed too sick to take part in clinical trials, with most suffering hundreds of seizures a day.
Originally appeared in ABC News August 24, 2016.

Overcoming Childhood Cancer Can Take A Lifetime

New University of NSW research found more than eight out of 10 childhood cancer survivors struggled with so-called late effects, both physical and mental.
The study, funded by Cancer Council NSW, also showed children's body mass indexes often increased after treatment, and problems persisted for up to seven years after treatment.
Originally appeared in Huffington Post August 19, 2016.

New data: more than 8 out of 10 childhood cancer survivors struggle with health problems later in life

New data reveals that over 81 per cent of childhood cancer survivors develop at least one life-changing mental or physical health issue – so called late effects, meaning side effects appearing a long time after cancer treatment received as a child. Late physical effects include heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis. Many survivors also experience serious psychological late effects, with almost 50 per cent of survivors reporting anxiety or depression.
Associate Professor Claire Wakefield and her team at the University of NSW have revealed the issue. Cancer Council NSW has awarded the team with $2.2m, funding a program that aims to reduce the incidence of chronic physical and mental illness after treatment, and enhance the social wellbeing and quality of life of survivors and their families – with interventions such as Reboot (encouraging healthy eating after treatment) and Recapture Life (increasing resilience in young people).
Originally appeared in Cancer Council Media Room August 18, 2016.

Study confirms golden staph a public health threat to children

The first major study of golden staph bloodstream infection in Australian children has found higher death rates if the right antibiotic is not used to treat the infection.
First author Dr Brendan McMullan, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist and microbiologist at UNSW, said parents should be aware of the bug.
Originally appeared in UNSW Newsroom August 16, 2016.

Indoor trampolining fun but risky: doctors

Indoor trampoline centres are fun and a great way to get kids active but can be dangerous, doctors warn.
Dr Chris Mulligan, who led the study by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), says unlike backyard trampolines, where the majority of injuries occur from falling off, most of the injuries occurred on the trampoline surface itself.
Originally appeared in 9 News August 16, 2016.

Fears grow over safety of trampoline parks after spike in cases of children breaking limbs and spraining wrists and ankles

A new study suggests the parks are an 'emerging health concern' for children aged under 17.
Author Dr Christopher Mulligan, from The University of New South Wales said “double bouncing, or multiple users on a single trampoline, carried a significant risk for injury”.
Originally appeared in The Sun August 16, 2106.

What you need to know about W-sitting

Experts call it 'W-sitting' for an obvious reason – when you look from above, the child's legs look like a 'W'. Their bottom is on the ground and their knees are bent in front of them, with their feet tucked under them or splayed out to the sides. But is it a cause for concern?
Marianne McCormick, the head of physiotherapy at Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick, notes that W-sitting can put a child's hips into an in-turned position, which puts pressure on their shins and feet.
Originally appeared in Essential Baby August 1, 2016.

Better mental health care needed for congenital heart disease patients

Experts are calling for national mental health care standards to help address the significant emotional toll faced by the 65,000 Australians living with congenital heart disease.
Writing in this week’s edition of the Medical Journal of Australia, UNSW Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian and colleagues from UNSW and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead said that although advances in medicine have drastically improved the disease’s survival rate, they bring a range of new challenges.
Originally appeared in UNSW Newsroom August 1, 2016.

Fertility beyond cancer treatment sees push by doctors for more Medicare support

They say one-in-10 cancer patients can expect to face fertility issues after cancer treatment.
Collecting reproductive tissue prior to treatment and freezing it is considered a valuable strategy and one of the only options for young patients, particularly for those yet to reach puberty, doctors say.
Childhood cancer specialist Dr Antoinette Anazodo is the clinical leader of an application currently under consideration to list the procedures on the Medicare Benefits Scheme.
Originally appeared on ABC News July 31, 2016.

Do kids grow out of childhood asthma?

When a child is diagnosed with asthma, parents usually have a number of questions. How serious is asthma? Will the child grow out of it? How can it be treated? It can be difficult to get clear answers, as asthma affects different children in different ways.
- Dr Louisa Owens, Sydney Children'S Hospital University of Western Australia; and Professor Adam Jaffe, Discipline of Paediatrics, UNSW Medicine
Originally appeared in The Conversation April 26, 2016.

Epileptic children to get cannabis-based drug ahead of trials, NSW Premier says

New South Wales children with the worst cases of drug-resistant epilepsy will be the first children in Australia given access to a cannabis-based treatment.
Dr John Lawson from the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick said it was unfortunate the drug was initially being limited to a small number of children.
But he was optimistic the upcoming medicinal cannabis trials would increase the number of patients given access to treatment.
"Hopefully we will have hundreds involved in the next 12 months [in the trials]," he said.
Originally appeared in ABC News July 5, 2016.

Childhood cancer cells face testing future

In the future, simple blood tests for circulating tumour cells or DNA could be an efficient and non-invasive way to track changes in patients with one of childhood’s more common cancers, neuroblastoma.
Testing cancer cells is an emerging topic at the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research congress (ANR2016) in Cairns this week.
Conference convenor, Professor Michelle Haber, said the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research (ANR) research congress is held every two years but this is the first time the southern hemisphere has played host. Professor Haber is Executive Director of Children’s Cancer Institute, one of Australia’s largest centres of neuroblastoma research.
Originally appeared on CCI website June 19, 2016.

Childhood cancer: Gravan Institute using genetic blueprint to save lives

MORE than 150 children die every year from aggressive diseases that can’t be cured.  Until now.
A $4 million project hopes to save far more of these children by using their individual genome to deliver the right drug to the right patient at the right time.
Children’s Cancer Institute executive director Professor Michelle Haber said, while survival rates had improved dramatically in the past 60 years, some cancers remained deadly: “Cure rates for some of the more aggressive childhood cancers haven’t improved over this time.
“This is why our work is vital. It’s up to us to make sure that our discoveries continue to progress into new treatments for kids as quickly as possible.”
Originally appeared in the Daily Telegraph June 12, 2016.

$16.6 million to research new cancer treatments

UNSW researchers working to fast-track cancer treatments from the laboratory to the bedside have received major backing in the latest round of funding from The Cancer Institute NSW.
UNSW Conjoint Professor Glenn Marshall, is Director of the Translational Cancer Research Centre for Kids in NSW, known as the Kids Cancer Alliance, which brings together cancer researchers from across the state.
“This funding will help us accelerate improvements in the survival rates and quality of life of children diagnosed with cancer," Professor Marshall said.
Dr Joshua McCarroll, from UNSW’s Children’s Cancer Institute and the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine based at UNSW, has been awarded $150,000 to investigate nanomedicine-based treatments to inhibit the spread and growth of lung cancer growth.
Dr Duohui Jing, from the Children’s Cancer Institute, has been awarded $607,000 to investigate reversing glucocorticoid resistance in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
UNSW Conjoint Professor Murray Norris, from the Children’s Cancer Institute, has been awarded $300,000 for continuing infrastructure support for highly skilled professional staff to manage the ACRF Drug Discovery Centre for Childhood Cancer.
Originally appeared on UNSW Newsroom June 8, 2016.

PM announces major funding commitment for Zero Childhood Cancer

We are delighted that the Prime Minister has announced today a $20M funding commitment for Australia’s single-biggest initiative in childhood cancer, the Zero Childhood Cancer Program.
Executive Director Professor Michelle Haber AM of Children’s Cancer Institute said that, as result of the commitment, the ground-breaking personalised medicine program for childhood cancer would take a giant step towards improving outcomes for children with the most difficult-to-treat cancers.
Professor Glenn Marshall AM, Director of the Kid’s Cancer Centre at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Head of Translational Research, Children’s Cancer Institute says the network of clinical and research partners across Australia will be significantly boosted by the funding commitment announced today in Sydney.
Originally appeared on CCI Website May 31, 2016.

Australia Unveils Childhood Cancer Genomics Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today unveiled the Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative, a multi-year program that will leverage genomics to develop personalized therapeutic strategies for currently untreatable pediatric cancers.
The initiative will be funded with a A$20 million ($14.5 million) government investment, and will be established at the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Sydney Children’s Hospital with a network of clinical and research collaborators in major Australian cities to follow.
Originally appeared in Genome Web May 31, 2016.

Malcolm Turnbull Pledges $20 Million To New Initiative Tackling Childhood Cancer

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged $20 million to establish a new research initiative aiming to reduce the number of deaths from childhood cancer to zero.
The Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative, established by the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Sydney Children’s Hospital, will use high-tech research to help provide personalised treatments for children battling high risk cancers.
Originally appeared in Huffington Post May 31, 2016.

Malcolm Turnbull has a goal of ending childhood cancer deaths

The Turnbull government has pledged $20 million for research into untreatable cancers in children.
The prime minister says the money will go towards helping identify genes that cause childhood cancers as part of the Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative, which hopes to increase survival rates to 100%.
The Zero Childhood Cancer Initiative was established by the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Sydney Children’s Hospital, to focus on genomic sequencing for faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis. The Initiative will establish a national network of clinical and research collaborators in every major city and hopes to offer more targeted treatments.
Originally appeared in Business Insider May 31, 2016.

Baby boy one of the youngest children in Australia to receive dialysis for kidney failure

THERE’S only one thing stopping John Dixon from getting the kidney transplant he so desperately needs.
He's too small.
“Transplant is the best ­option for him but we can’t do it until he is at least 10kg ­because for us to fit Clare’s kidney into John he needs to be bigger,” nephology specialist Dr Sean Kennedy said.
Originally appeared in Daily Telegraph May 22, 2016.

New Zealand's purple focus on bowel disease

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease in the world and, in support, landmarks throughout the country will be turned purple today for World IBD Day.
“New Zealanders need to pay attention to this growing problem,” said University of Otago Professor of Paediatrics, Dr Andrew Day.
“The growing prevalence of IBD is concerning. Ten years earlier the rate was 16 per 100,000 people, indicating that almost twice as many people are now being diagnosed each year,” Dr Day said.
Originally appeared in The Gisborne Herald May 19, 2016.

Landmark lions project to provide genome sequencing to hundreds of Aussie kids with cancer

Hundreds of Australian children with high-risk cancer will have access to new genome sequencing technologies that could guide their treatment, following the announcement today of substantial Lions Club funding for the Lions Kids Cancer Genome Project - an important new component of the Zero Childhood Cancer Program for diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer.
Professor Glenn Marshall AM, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and Clinical Lead for the Zero Childhood Cancer Program, says, "This funding provides the hope that we can better individualise treatment to fight cancer in children at high risk of relapse. It is an honour to stand with Lions Australia in advocating for our youngest Australian citizens."
"This is a very exciting initiative that will revolutionise the way in which treatment decisions about childhood cancer will be made," says Children's Cancer Institute's Executive Director Professor Michelle Haber AM. "The global Lions community's extraordinary contribution will enable us to provide new knowledge and hope for improved outcomes for children with the most challenging forms of cancer."
Originally appeared in MedicalXpress May 14, 2016.

Young people in NT struggling with arthritis

Juvenile arthritis refers to inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis and is often caused by auto-immune conditions.
It affects up to 6,000 children across Australia, 200 of which live in the NT where there are no specialist paediatric rheumatologists to treat them.
Dr Davinder Singh-Grewal, a paediatric rheumatologist at the Sydney Children's Hospital in Westmead, said the disease was more common than diabetes or cystic fibrosis in children.
Originally appeared in ABC News May 2, 2016.

Death in offshore detention: Predictable and preventable

"Few issues have united the health profession as strongly as the dissatisfaction with our country’s response to people fleeing persecution. Australia’s asylum seeker policies prevent health professionals from treating all our patients with clinical excellence, dignity and respect."
- Conjoint Associate Professor Karen Zwi, Discipline of Paediatrics, UNSW Medicine and Prof Nicholas Talley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Research and Laureate Professor of Medicine, University of Newcastle
Originally appeared in The Conversation April 26, 2016.

Diagnosing asthma in children

While a diagnosis of asthma is important for children, there’s also increasing concerns surrounding overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
Adam Jaffé
is a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of New South Wales, a respiratory paediatrician at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, a member of Asthma Australia’s medical and scientific advisory committee and he helped write the National Asthma Council Australia’s Australian Asthma Handbook, which outlines national guidelines for asthma management.
Originally appeared in HealthTimes March 22, 2016.

Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick celebrates 1000 cord and marrow transplant program patients

“There is a one in 10 chance that the grafted cells will be rejected, so it is always an anxious wait for staff, patients and families,” program director and treating doctor A/Professor Tracey O’Brien said.
“We sing to kids to celebrate the first signs of engraftment or the new donor blood cells growing.”
Originally appeared in the Sunday Telegraph March 20, 2016.

Little John won't give up the fight

Most babies spend their days feeding and sleeping. As one of Australia’s youngest kidney patients, tiny John Dixon is forced to endure 10 hours a day hooked up to a dialysis machine.
“John has been lucky enough to not need ­dialysis until now, but if he needed it from birth, 20 years ago we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Dr Sean Kennedy said.
“We can never have too many resources or funding put into kidney health and research. In order to keep one person alive, like John Dixon, it takes more than a village.”
Originally appeared in the Sunday Telegraph March 20, 2016.

Blood pressure drug boosts the effect of chemo

Scientists have discovered that a drug developed to treat high blood pressure has a powerful ‘chemo-boosting’ effect when combined with certain chemotherapeutic drugs for the treatment of angiosarcoma — a deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of blood vessels and can occur in any part of the body.
The effect of the drug, propranolol, was discovered in the Sydney laboratories of the Children’s Cancer Institute.

“We tested a number of drugs in our laboratory model of angiosarcoma and were excited to discover that the beta-blocker propranolol made a huge difference to the anticancer effects of a chemotherapy drug called vinblastine,” said Professor Maria Kavallaris, who worked on the project alongside colleague Dr Eddy Pasquier.
Originally appeared in Australian Life Scientist March 10, 2016.

US jury awards $AU 100 million to faily of woman who blamed her cancer death on talcum powder

Conjoint Professor Bernard Stewart is interviewed.
Originally appeared in ABC Radio February 25, 2016.

Cancer Council dismisses link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer after US case

The Cancer Council of Australia says Australian women should not be alarmed by a US court decision which has drawn a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
An advisor to the Cancer Council Australia, Professor Bernard Stewart from the Medical Faculty at the University of New South Wales, agrees that evidence of a link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc is slim at best.
Originally appeared in ABC News February 25, 2016.

Truth lost over Nauru ‘rape’

OPINION: Last week the ABC reported that a five-year-old boy asylum seeker had been raped on Nauru and was now in danger of being returned there – within reach of the perpetrator – after medical treatment in Australia.
The report came after the broadcast on the 7.30 program of excerpts of an interview with paediatrician Karen Zwi, a long-standing refugee activist.
Originally appeared in The West Australian February 10, 2016.

Signs at last that Australia has tired of cruelty without mercy to refugees

The dead hand of a government official belies a changing mood among the Australian public and political class. Despite the hopes of the immigration department, borders can’t stay absolutely closed forever
The paediatrician Karen Zwi who risked jail by speaking to the ABC is not backing away from her allegation that this was rape and the child of about 15 suffered serious mental health problems as a result. Yet Pezzullo – and the government he serves – are making it clear he will eventually be sent back to the camp where he was attacked.

Originally appeared in The Guardian February 9, 2016.

ABC apologises for 'error' over five-year-old asylum seeker rape claims on Nauru

The ABC has admitted to an "error" in a story that claimed a five-year-old raped at Nauru was slated to return to the island and face his attacker, after immigration officials on Monday labelled the report a "figment".
He said the pediatrician who took part in the broadcast, Karen Zwi, "has conveyed to the department she doesn't understand how the reference to a five-year-old child emerged".

Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald February 8, 2016.

Harmful or helpful? Researchers urge caution on genetic testing for children

Genetic testing for children should only be considered in cases where there are clear medical benefits, say UNSW researchers, who've found the potential harmful effects of testing on children’s mental health remains largely unknown.
Study co-author Associate Professor Claire Wakefield, from UNSW's School of Women's and Children's Health, said while the review found anxiety and depression was rare and children’s wellbeing was fairly stable before and after testing, some children did experience serious difficulties, including discrimination, guilt, regret and family stress.
Originally appeared in UNSW Newsroom February 8, 2016.

Do you want to know how your baby may die? Call for genetic tests for children with cancer

IT'S the modern medical test that could save your sick child, or condemn your entire family to years of torment and fear.
Within a decade, every Australian child with cancer will be getting a genetic test, according to Associate Professor Claire Wakefield from UNSW's School of Women's & Children's Health.
Originally appeared in Daily Telegraph February 7, 2016.

Boy to be sent back to island where alleged rapist is: report

A five-year-old boy allegedly raped on Nauru is one of 90 children who face being returned to the offshore detention centre, where his rapist is still detained, ABC's 7.30 reports.
Paediatrician Karen Zwi has risked prison time to reveal the traumatic case of the young boy ahead of a High Court decision that will likely decide whether the children are sent back to Nauru.
Originally appeared in Sydney Morning Herald February 3, 2016.

Asthma Australia warns of back to school spike in asthma hospitalisations

A SPIKE in asthma hospitalisations when children return to school has prompted a warning for parents to be prepared.
Respiratory paediatrician Adam Jaffe said it was wasn’t known why hospitals saw a peak in asthma related admissions at this time, but it could be because of increased exposure to respiratory viruses once children mixed with a larger number of peers.
Originally appeared in Moonee Valley Leader February 3, 2016.

Doctors risk jail time for speaking out about treatment of children in detention

Doctors who know they could be charged and jailed for speaking out about what they have seen in Australia's detention centres speak to us.
Conjoint A/Prof Karen Zwi is interviewed.
Originally appeared in ABC News February 2, 2016.

Children allowed to use medicinal cannabis ahead of world-first drug trials in NSW

Originally appeared in Daily Telegraph January 24, 2016.

Significant Morbidity and Mortality Associated With Enterovirus 71 in Children

Initial presentation of enterovirus (EV) 71 may be suggestive of the disease course and outcomes, reported investigators of a prospective study of the 2013 outbreak of EV71 at the Sydney Children's Hospital Network in Sydney, Australia, in an online edition of JAMA Neurology.
Teoh HL, Mohammad SS, Britton PN, Kandula T, Lorentzos MS, Booy R, Jones CA, Rawlinson W, Ramachandran V, Rodriguez ML, Andrews PI, Dale, RC, Farrar, MA, & Sampaio, H. Clinical Characteristics and Functional Motor Outcomes of Enterovirus 71 Neurological Disease in Children. JAMA Neurology, 2016, pp. e1-e8.
Originally appeared in Neurology Adviser January 21, 2016.

Virus most people have never heard of is the leading non-genetic cause of disability in newborns

On the subject of biomedical research, a number of international studies have found that the majority of pregnant women haven't heard of the virus that's now the leading non-genetic cause of disability in newborns.
Dr Brendan McMullan is interviewwed.
Originally appeared on ABC Radio - PM January 7, 2016

Largely unknown cytomegalovirus, or CMV, the leading non-genetic cause of disability in newborns

The majority of pregnant women have not heard of a virus that is now the leading non-genetic cause of disability in newborns, according to a number of international studies.
Brendan McMullan, a paediatric infectious diseases doctor at Sydney Children's Hospital, said it is a different story for pregnant women.
"Many of them will be asymptomatic themselves, but if they contract it for the first time in pregnancy, then there's a risk of transmission to the foetus," he said.
Originally appeared in ABC News January 7, 2016.

What’s in a milestone? Understanding your child’s development

Children come in all shapes and sizes, but not with a manual. Childhood achievements such as walking and talking are often celebrated signs that things are going well in a child’s life. However, once these achievements start being compared between children (at the park, on Facebook) they can become the cause of anxiety.
Authors: Dr Chris Elliot & Dr Con Papadopoulos.
Originally appeared in The Conversation January 7, 2016.

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