Stories about: News You Can Use

Assessing pain in our tiniest patients

Babies in the NICU can feel pain

An infant rests in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), recovering from elective surgery. She’s crying, but is it because the procedure caused pain, because she’s hungry or for some other reason? An inspired research collaboration between the NICU and the Division of Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital is determined to find out. …Read More

Vaping: The new face of nicotine

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E-cigarettes. Vapes. E-hookahs. Cigalikes. It’s hard to keep up with the terminology but one thing is certain: teens are using these products at an alarming rate.

According to a 2016 Report of the Surgeon General, the number of high school students who have used e-cigarettes increased 900 percent between 2011 and 2015 — making e-cigarettes the most common type of tobacco product used by teens and young adults.

“These products pose an interesting public health question because they’ve been accepted by some in the public health community as a useful smoking cessation tool,” says Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Levy says that framing e-cigarettes in this way has led to mixed messages — and potential health risks. …Read More

Year in review: 5 most popular stories of 2016

Notes-Top-5-2016This year, Notes covered the events, topics and trends that impact pediatric health care providers — from microcephaly and the Zika outbreak to firearm safety to teens and marijuana use to AAP’s new media guidelines and more. Read the top five most-read stories of 2016. …Read More

How to talk to your patients about Zika

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The hype around Zika virus seems to be settling down. The Summer Olympics in Rio appeared to occur without incident (at least associated to the virus spread), and the number of reported cases has plateaued. Media interest, while not gone, is definitely waning from where it was in February, when the World Health Organization declared Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Yet for those working on the frontlines or in global organizations trying to define and understand the outbreak, it is clear this is a false period of calm.

This past July, as I walked the halls of a hospital in Brazil, I witnessed the impact of the disease firsthand. Tired and despairing mothers carried their infants with abnormally small heads, trying futilely to soothe their shrill cries as they waited for medical care. They carried them close and explained to our visiting group of public health officials that the stigma of having a child with Zika virus has started to pervade society, with people simultaneously fascinated and frightened by their children.

For these mothers, taking care of their children has become their full-time job. Providers and families in the affected regions remain afraid and worried about the long-term care that these children will require. And this wave of fear and uncertainty is moving to the U.S. …Read More