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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS


Below are releases on studies appearing in the September issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

For Release: Monday, August 30, 2010 12:01 am (ET)

AAP ADVICE ABOUT SEX MESSAGES IN THE MEDIA

Today there are more reasons than ever to pay attention to media messages about sexuality and contraception. Teens spend more than seven hours a day on average with various forms of media, often without adults around. Television shows and Web sites that are popular with teens—and the way sex is portrayed in those venues—could be important factors in the initiation of sexual intercourse. The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the Western hemisphere, and a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 1 in 4 teenagers has had a sexually transmitted infection. Just as inappropriate media messages can be detrimental to teens, socially responsible programming can be a powerful vehicle for sexual health education.  A revised policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media,” published in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30), includes updated recommendations for pediatricians and parents. Among the new recommendations since 2001:

The statement also calls for creation of a national task force on children, adolescents and the media to be convened by child advocacy groups in conjunction with the CDC or National Institutes of Health.

AAP UPDATES GUIDELINES ON SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSION

Athletes often joke about “getting your bell rung” after taking a hit on the playing field, but adolescent concussions can cause serious long-term injury or death, and should always be taken seriously. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is publishing a new clinical report, “Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents,” in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30). Young athletes are more susceptible to the effects of a concussion because their brains are still developing, and appropriate management is essential for reducing the risk of long-term complications. Although preventing all concussions is unlikely, there are several ways to reduce the risk, including protective gear (such as helmets and mouth guards), adhering to the rules of the sport, identifying athletes at risk, and educating parents, teachers, athletes, school administrators and trainers about the dangers of concussions. Football has the highest incidence of concussion, but girls have higher concussion rates than boys in similar sports. Better understanding of the symptoms and risk of long-term complications have prompted the following recommendations from the AAP:

YOUNGER ATHLETES SUFFERING MORE SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSIONS

The number of sport-related concussions is highest in high-school aged athletes, but the number in younger athletes is significant and on the rise. In the study, “Emergency Department Visits for Concussion in Young Child Athletes,” in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics, (published online August 30), concussion-related emergency department (ED) visits were analyzed for patients between the ages of 8 and 19 years from 1997 to 2007. From 2001 to 2005, U.S. children aged 8 to 19 years had an estimated 502,000 ED visits for concussion. Approximately half of all ED visits were sport-related concussions, and the 8- to 13-year-old age group accounted for 40 percent of these. ED visits for concussions in organized team sports were highest in ice hockey and football, and the most ED visits for concussion in individual and recreation sports were in snow skiing, bicycling, and playground activities. Although organized team sport participation declined from 1997 to 2007, ED visits for concussions in 8- to 13-year-olds doubled, and they more than doubled in the 14- to 19-year-old group. Study authors suggest that additional research and injury prevention strategies are needed in order to protect young athletes.

AAP CLINICAL REPORT: THE GYNECOLOGIC EXAM

Pediatricians who provide primary care to adolescent girls will often address gynecologic issues, including questions related to puberty, menstrual disorders, contraception, sexually-transmitted infections and other infections. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes the inclusion of the gynecologic exam in the primary care setting. A new AAP clinical report, “Gynecologic Examination for Adolescents in the Pediatric Office Setting,” published in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30,) reviews the gynecologic examination, including when a pelvic exam is indicated. Most adolescents do not need an internal examination, but when they do, the best setting is often in the primary care office with a pediatrician who has established a trust and rapport with the patient. The report also covers when a referral to a gynecologist is indicated.

AAP ISSUES FLU VACCINE RECOMMENDATIONS

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued updated recommendations for the use of trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine and antiviral medications for the prevention and treatment of influenza in children. The AAP policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2010-2011,” will be published in the October 2010 print issue of Pediatrics and released early online on August 30.

The AAP recommends annual trivalent seasonal influenza immunization for all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older. Special efforts should be made to immunize all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children who are younger than 5 years; children with high-risk conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, or neurologic disorders); health care personnel; and pregnant women. These groups are most vulnerable to influenza-related complications.

Although two influenza vaccines were recommended last year, only a single trivalent vaccine is being manufactured for the current 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine schedule. The 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) strain has replaced last year’s influenza A (H1N1) strain in the 2010-2011 trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine, which also includes two other strains of flu virus.

The AAP policy includes a concise flow chart to simplify decision-making about the number of influenza vaccine doses a child needs, which depends on the child’s age at the time of the first dose and vaccine history:

Editor’s note: The September print issue of Pediatrics also includes the AP Policy Statement, “Child Fatality Review.” The statement will be published online August 30. For a copy of the statement, contact the AAP Department of Communications.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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