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Why expert care is crucial for aspiration

Dr. Rachel Rosen explains her new study about aspiration
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

Aspiration, or the entrance of food or liquid into a child’s airway, is associated with oropharyngeal dysphagia and other swallowing problems. It is more common in premature babies and those with neurological abnormalities, although it can occur in any child. Parents typically bring their children to pediatricians when they observe choking, regurgitation, coughing and other symptoms related to feeding. …Read More

Learning disabilities: Kids and families struggle beyond the academics

Boy with learning disabilities struggles with homework

Most research on learning disabilities focuses on remediating specific academic skills like reading and math. But struggles at school and with homework can create an enormous amount of stress and anxiety for children and families, says neuropsychologist Deborah Waber, PhD, who directs the Learning Disabilities Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. …Read More

New guidelines for GERD: What every pediatrician should know

clinical guidelines for GERD

Spitting up is a normal occurrence for young infants — as long as a child is growing well and not developing other problems, such as breathing difficulties, the problem will resolve on its own without treatment. But how can you determine if your patient has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? New expert guidelines draw on the latest research findings to help advise specialists and primary care providers on the evaluation and treatment of GERD in infants and children.

Rachel Rosen, MD, MPH, director of the Aerodigestive Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, served as lead author on these international guidelines.

“Over the last 10 years, there has been an explosion of advances not only in our understanding the pathophysiology of reflux, but also in the diagnostic tests to evaluate reflux and problems that masquerade as reflux,” she explains. “In prior guidelines, the focus was on acid-related disease and treatment with acid suppression. We now know that gastroesophageal reflux, particularly in infants and young children, is often non-acidic, so treating patients with acid suppression is ineffective. This is a true paradigm shift.” Here, Rosen shares some highlights that every pediatrician should know.

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Children with congenital hand differences exhibit better emotional health

congenital hand differences Notes blog lead image

Approximately one in every thousand children is born with a congenital upper limb difference. These conditions can include complete or partial absence of a limb, failure of fingers to separate, duplication of fingers, overgrowth and undergrowth as well as constriction ring syndrome. Along with the physical differences this presents as a child grows and develops, there can also be mental and emotional challenges.

A recent study led by Donald S. Bae, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, evaluated the physical level of function as well as the mental and emotional health of almost 600 children with congenital upper limb differences. Ultimately, the study found that while children with congenital hand differences had decreased upper limb function, they have better peer relationships and positive emotional states compared to population norms.

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