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This Month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
May 2008

This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(11):1007. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.11.1007
Effect of Parents' Wartime Deployment on the Behavior of Young Children in Military Families

While many studies have focused on the mental health of soldiers returning from active duty, little attention has been paid to the emotional and behavioral consequences of such deployment on their children. Chartrand and colleagues examined the mental health of children aged 1½ to 5 years in military families. Despite relatively short deployments (mean, 3.9 months), children 3 years of age or older with a deployed parent had significantly higher scores for both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems than children of nondeployed parents. For children in the older age group, deployment of a parent significantly increased the risk of having a clinically elevated internalizing score. Younger children appear to react differently and did not have elevated scores. Larger, longitudinal studies are needed to examine changes in children's behavior related to parental deployment over time and should inform intervention to prevent and ameliorate such problems.

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Acetaminophen, Oral vs Rectal: A Meta-analysis

The American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged the use of rectal acetaminophen owing to concern of toxic effects and unpredictable pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics due to poor and erratic absorption. This meta-analysis examined 4 studies on fever and 1 on pain relief comparing oral and rectal administration of the drug. There was no difference between the 2 routes of administration in temperature reduction at 1 or 3 hours after the dose, nor in the maximum decrease in temperature. In 1 pain study, children treated orally had better pain relief than those treated rectally. Recommendations to avoid rectal acetaminophen for fever reduction should be reconsidered.

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Sexual Orientation Disparities in Longitudinal Alcohol Use Patterns Among Adolescents

Adverse consequences of adolescent alcohol use are well known and common. However, not all adolescent populations share equivalent risk for alcohol use. This study sought to compare the development of alcohol use behaviors over time in a longitudinal study of adolescents by their reported sexual orientation. The 13 450 participants provided information on sexual orientation and alcohol use in 1 or more waves of the study. Overall, 8.5% of males and 16.1% of females reported a minority sexual orientation; these individuals reported a younger age at first consumption of alcohol compared with their same-gender heterosexual counterparts. The amount of their alcohol use was generally greater also. The association of sexual minority status with alcohol use was stronger in females than in males. Interventions targeting alcohol use among these youths should be developed, implemented, and evaluated.

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Autism and Precipitation

Despite a prevalence estimated at 1 in 150 children and a resulting increased attention paid to autism, knowledge about what causes autism is limited. Waldman et al used regional variation in the reported prevalence of autism to examine whether inclement weather (resulting in an increase in indoor activities) is associated with autism prevalence. In this study, the authors examined the association between precipitation and autism prevalence in counties in Washington, Oregon, and California. Autism prevalence rates for school-aged children in these states in 2005 were positively associated with the amount of precipitation that their counties received between 1987 and 2001. If all of the increased exposure of genetically vulnerable children to this environmental trigger associated with precipitation were eliminated, the 2005 autism prevalence rate in these counties would be 33% to 43% lower. These results could potentially be explained by any environmental exposure associated with indoor activities.

Precipitation (A) (1987-2001) and autism rates (B) (2005) for Washington counties. Autism prevalence rates are for children aged 6 through 18 years. Precipitation was measured from July 1, 1987, through June 30, 2001.

Precipitation (A) (1987-2001) and autism rates (B) (2005) for Washington counties. Autism prevalence rates are for children aged 6 through 18 years. Precipitation was measured from July 1, 1987, through June 30, 2001.

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