When health care workers provide patient care while sick with an infection, they can put their patients and colleagues at risk. In this survey of 536 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, Szymczak and colleagues find that 83% of respondents reported working sick at least once in the last year, and more physicians worked while sick with various symptoms than did other health care workers. Staffing concerns, difficulty finding coverage, and not wanting to let colleagues or patients down were the most important reported reasons for working while sick. The need for a culture change to decrease the stigma associated with health care worker illness is discussed in the editorial by Starke and Jackson.
Children living in poverty often perform poorly in school, with lower standardized test scores and academic achievement. Hair and colleagues use brain magnetic resonance imaging scans on 389 economically diverse children to examine whether brain development mediates this relationship. The regional gray matter volumes of children in poverty were 7 to 10 percentage points below developmental norms for their age and sex. Luby’s accompanying editorial discusses the importance of these findings and the availability of interventions to prevent the damaging effects of poverty on children’s brains.
Estimates are that 5.7 million youths are in situations of forced or bonded labor, 1.2 million are trafficked, and 1.8 million are exploited by the sex industry. In this study of children and adolescents receiving posttrafficking services, Kiss and colleagues find that 12% tried to kill themselves in the month before the interview, 56% screened positive for depression, and 26% for posttraumatic stress disorder. Physical violence while trafficked was reported by 41% of boys and 19% of girls. The editorial by English discusses the findings’ implications for the children and for child health care professionals.
Smoke-free laws are effective public health interventions that have not been carefully examined for their effect on smoking by youth. Song and colleagues use 11 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to examine the potential effect on smoking initiation and current smoking by youth. Smoke-free workplace laws were associated with 34% lower odds of smoking initiation, while smoke-free bar laws were associated with 20% lower odds of current smoking. Smoke-free laws may be an important tool to deter youth against smoking initiation.
Highlights. JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(9):799. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.2290