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


Substance use, conduct problems and depression increase in black adolescents as they enter high school. A study that examined a family-centered prevention program found it reduced these problems by more than 30 percent compared to a control group, providing a model that could be adapted by public health agencies, schools, churches and other community organizations. The study, “Family-centered Program Deters Substance Use, Conduct Problems, and Depressive Symptoms in Black Adolescents,” in the January 2012 Pediatrics (published online Dec. 12), tested the Strong African American Families - Teen (SAAF-T) program among 252 10th grade students, compared to 250 students in a control group. The adolescents and their caregivers in the study group attended 10 hours of programming where they learned strategies for dealing with discrimination, the importance of academic success, goal formation and strategies for attaining educational and occupational goals. The program was associated with a 36 percent decrease in conduct problems; a 32 percent decrease in substance use; and a 47 percent decrease in substance use problems. Program participants also experienced 4.5 percent fewer depressive symptoms compared to the control group. Study authors conclude the program is effective and could be disseminated at the community level.


Babies born at an extremely low birth weight (under 400 grams, or 13 ounces), are considered high risk and more likely to experience unfavorable outcomes than babies born at a heavier weight. However, in the case report, “Long-term Follow-up of 2 Newborns With a Combined Birth Weight of 540 grams,” in the January 2012 Pediatrics (published online Dec. 12, 2011), researchers report on the normal development of the smallest and third-smallest surviving babies in the world, now at 5 and 20 years of age, respectively, and both born at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois. Madeline was born in 1989 at 26 weeks gestation with a birth weight of 280 grams, and Rumaisa was born in 2004 at 25 weeks gestation with a weight of 260 grams, the lowest documented in the world. Both babies experienced normal motor and language development by three years of age, and developmental milestones were achieved at appropriate age levels. Study authors feel that advances in neonatal care will continue to allow the resuscitation and survival of smaller and smaller newborns, but ethical and medical issues will continue to be discussed.

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. For more information, visit



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