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The Informed Parent

Scanning The Journals

by John H. Samson, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jan. 29, 1997

Unfavorable Effects of Growth Hormone Therapy on the Final Height of Boys with Short Stature not caused by Growth Hormone Deficiency:

Journal of Pediatrics Vol. 130, 2-97: 205-209

There always seems to be some parents who want to stimulate greater height growth in their boys by having them receive growth hormone. It is well documented that patients with growth hormone deficiency can improve their ultimate height attainment if they are treated with growth hormone. This paper indicates that short stature boys who have normal growth hormone production are not helped by receiving growth hormone therapy. In fact, it may reduce the boy's linear growth, resulting in a shorter final height than he would have naturally attained. Once again, it seems prudent not to mess with "mother nature."

Long-term Appearance of Lacerations Repaired Using a Tissue Adhesive:

Pediatrics Vol. 99, 2-97: 193-195

Any parent who has needed to subject his child to sutures to close a laceration would like to forget the experience. The tears, pleas for parental intervention, and general anxiety are far from pleasant memories. This short paper shows that low tension lacerations closed by the tissue adhesive HAB, which is applied to the skin, will have a long-term outcome that is comparable to one closed with conventional suturing. Some emergency rooms are equipped to use this product. Ask the physician providing care if a tissue adhesive closure would be appropriate. If it is not suitable or available, routine suturing should be used. The quest of every pediatrician is to find a way to close lacerations with the least amount of discomfort to the patient. In the right patient this should be helpful.

Otitis Media in 2253 Pittsburgh-Area Infants: Prevalence and Risk Factors During the First Two Years of Life:

Pediatrics Vol. 99 3-97: 318-333

This article took a very complete look at the risk factors for ear infections in children under two years of age. It found the duration of breast feeding and exposure to tobacco smoke to be insignificant variables. The most important risk factors evaluated appeared to be low socioeconomic status and repeated exposure to large numbers of children at home or in day care. These findings are not surprising. The best way to contract a respiratory type infection is to share respiratory tract mucus with another human. Sneezing, coughing and copious nasal discharge is certainly not in short supply when infants or toddlers congregate. The demands of modern life have made such large gatherings of infants and toddlers all too common. How are we to use this information to reduce the rate of ear infections? Do everything one can to reduce the unnecessary exposure of one's child to sick peers. Easier said than done in modern America.

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