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Myriam Rosilio, Jean-Claude Carel, Emmanuel Ecosse, and Jean-Louis Chaussainon

Group-author : on behalf of the 0908 Lilly Study Group

Objective: Human GH (hGH) treatment leads to catch-up growth in children with short stature born small for gestational age (SGA). However, long-term efficacy and safety results in this patient group remain scarce. The present study assessed the efficacy and safety of late childhood treatment with biosynthetic hGH (Humatrope) in a group of short children born SGA (height <−2 standard deviation scores (SDS)).

Design: Patients in this open-label, Phase III, multicenter study received a daily hGH dose of 0.067 mg/kg for 2 years, and then received no treatment for the following 2 years. After the fourth year on study, patients whose height had decreased more than 0.5 SDS but who still showed growth potential based on bone age were allowed to resume treatment until they reached adult height.

Methods: Height gain SDS was assessed for 11 girls and 24 boys (mean age±s.d. 9.6±0.9 years) at the end of the 2 years of hGH treatment, during the subsequent 2-year off-treatment period, and upon reaching adult height.

Results: At the end of the initial 2-year treatment period, 83% of patients had reached a height within the normal range, with a mean increase in height SDS vs baseline of 1.3±0.3 (P <0.001). Adult heights (n = 20) were within the normal range for 50% of patients, and mean height gain from baseline was statistically significant (0.7±0.8 SDS, P <0.001). Fasting glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels were not significantly modified during treatment.

Conclusions: High-dose hGH treatment for a minimum of 2 years in short children born SGA was well tolerated and resulted in a significant increase in adolescent and adult height.

Free access

Felix G Riepe, Wiebke Ahrens, Nils Krone, Regina Fölster-Holst, Jochen Brasch, Wolfgang G Sippell, Olaf Hiort, and Carl-Joachim Partsch

Objective: To clarify the molecular defect for the clinical finding of congenital hypothyroidism combined with the manifestation of calcinosis cutis in infancy.

Case report: The male patient presented with moderately elevated blood thyrotropin levels at neonatal screening combined with slightly decreased plasma thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine concentrations, necessitating thyroid hormone substitution 2 weeks after birth. At the age of 7 months calcinosis cutis was seen and the patient underwent further investigation. Typical features of Albright’s hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO), including round face, obesity and delayed psychomotor development, were found.

Methods and results: Laboratory investigation revealed a resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH) with highly elevated PTH levels and a reduction in adenylyl cyclase-stimulating protein (Gsα) activity leading to the diagnosis of pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP Ia). A novel heterozygous mutation (c364T > G in exon 5, leading to the amino acid substitution Ile-106 → Ser) was detected in the GNAS gene of the patient. This mutation was not found in the patient’s parents, both of whom showed normal Gsα protein activity in erythrocytes and no features of AHO. A de novo mutation is therefore likely.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous calcifications in infancy should prompt the clinician to a thorough search for an underlying disease. The possibility of AHO and PHP Ia should be considered in children with hypothyroidism and calcinosis cutis. Systematic reviews regarding the frequency of calcinosis in AHO are warranted.

Free access

C Evans, NJ Jordan, G Owens, D Bradley, M Ludgate, and R John

OBJECTIVE: We describe an infant with surprisingly severe neonatal hypothyroidism due to transplacental passage of thyrotrophin receptor (TSH-R)-blocking antibodies (TBAb). DESIGN AND METHODS: TBAb were detected using a cell line which stably expresses the human TSH-R and a cAMP-responsive luciferase reporter by their ability to inhibit TSH-stimulated luciferase expression. Potent TBAb were detected in maternal serum and initially in the infant's serum but, in the latter, TBAb decreased over time to within the reference range by 3-4 months of age, illustrating the transient nature of this condition. RESULTS: The thyroid function of this child did not return to normal on withdrawal of thyroxine therapy at 16 months of age when he developed transient compensated hypothyroidism. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the presence of potent TBAb in utero and in the first weeks of life may have implications for the development of a normally sized thyroid gland. We have demonstrated the presence of TBAb in the mother's milk and, as far as we are aware, this is the first such report. However, the TBAb in the milk probably did not contribute significantly to hypothyroidism in the child, given the reducing antibody titre in his circulation.

Free access

T Meissner, U Wendel, P Burgard, S Schaetzle, and E Mayatepek

BACKGROUND: The term congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) comprises a group of different genetic disorders with the common finding of recurrent episodes of hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the clinical presentation, diagnostic criteria, treatment and long-term follow-up in a large cohort of CHI patients. PATIENTS: The data from 114 patients from different hospitals were obtained by a detailed questionnaire. Patients presented neonatally (65%), during infancy (28%) or during childhood (7%). RESULTS: In 20 of 74 (27%) patients with neonatal onset birth weight was greatly increased (group with standard deviation scores (SDS) >2.0) with a mean SDS of 3.2. Twenty-nine percent of neonatal-onset vs 69% of infancy/childhood-onset patients responded to diazoxide and diet or to a carbohydrate-enriched diet alone. Therefore, we observed a high rate of pancreatic surgery performed in the neonatal-onset group (70%) compared with the infancy/childhood-onset group (28%). Partial (3%), subtotal (37%) or near total (15%) pancreatectomy was performed. After pancreatic surgery there appeared a high risk of persistent hypoglycemia (40%). Immediately post-surgery or with a latency of several Years insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus was observed in operated patients (27%). General outcome was poor with a high degree of psychomotor or mental retardation (44%) or epilepsy (25%). An unfavorable outcome correlated with infancy-onset manifestation (chi(2)=6.1, P=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The high degree of developmental delay, in particular in infancy-onset patients emphasizes the need for a change in treatment strategies to improve the unfavorable outcome. Evaluation of treatment alternatives should take the high risk of developing diabetes mellitus into account.

Free access

M Salerno, R Militerni, S Di Maio, C Bravaccio, N Gasparini, and A Tenore

BACKGROUND: The intellectual outcome in children with congenital hypothyroidism detected by neonatal screening is generally good; however, subtle neurological dysfunctions, subnormal IQ, or both, have been reported. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the intellectual outcome in 12-year-old patients with congenital hypothyroidism, detected by neonatal screening, in an attempt to identify factors that may affect intellectual development. METHODS: The intelligence quotient (IQ) of 40 children with congenital hypothyroidism was evaluated at 12 years of age, using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children -- Revised, and compared with the IQ of 40 healthy siblings (control group). RESULTS: The mean IQ score (88.4+/-13.1) was not significantly different from that of the control group (93.4+/-10.7). Thirteen patients showed subnormal IQ score (72.4+/-4.9) compared with their siblings (86.7+/-9.6; P<0.0001) and with the other patients (96.1+/-9.6; P<0.0001). The low IQ score was associated with lower serum concentrations of thyroxine at diagnosis, poor treatment compliance during follow-up and lower familial IQ. Interviews with parents of children with congenital hypothyroidism revealed that a refusal to acknowledge the disease was linked to poor attention to the child's emotional life and to poor treatment compliance in some cases (11%). CONCLUSION: Even though the mean IQ score in patients with congenital hypothyroidism falls within normal for the control population, low IQ scores may be present in patients with severe hypothyroidism, inadequate compliance to replacement therapy during follow-up and poor parental pedagogic attitude.

Free access

C Ankarberg-Lindgren, E Norjavaara, and KA Wikland

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there is evidence for impaired testicular function at final height in short boys treated with growth hormone (GH) during their childhood and adolescence. STUDY DESIGN: The analysis was restricted to males who had isolated GH deficiency or idiopathic short stature, and who were included in the Swedish National Registry and the Swedish GH trials. The subjects had to have been treated with GH for at least 4 years; the treatment had to have been started prepubertally, given for at least one year before the onset of puberty and the subjects had to have reached final height. One hundred and eleven boys fulfilled the criteria. METHODS: Testicular volumes were determined by orchidometer in each boy when GH treatment was started and at final height. Samples for testosterone measurements were collected from 77 boys at final height, and were measured by RIA. RESULTS: Each subject had normal testicular size (15 ml or more) and for those in whom concentrations were determined, serum testosterone levels and diurnal rhythm were normal. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our survey do not show evidence of testicular impairment following GH therapy.

Free access

LA Metherell, MO Savage, M Dattani, J Walker, PE Clayton, IS Farooqi, and AJ Clark

OBJECTIVE: Congenital isolated ACTH deficiency (IAD) is a rare inherited disorder that is clinically and genetically heterogeneous. Patients are characterised by low or absent cortisol production secondary to low plasma ACTH despite normal secretion of other pituitary hormones and the absence of structural pituitary defects. Onset may occur in the neonatal period, but may first be observed in later childhood. Recently, mutations in the TPIT gene, a T-box factor selectively expressed in developing corticotroph cells, have been found in cases of early-onset IAD. DESIGN: Here we report the screening of the TPIT gene in seven patients with IAD, four of whom had neonatal onset. METHODS: Genomic DNA was extracted and the sequences of the 8 TPIT exons and their intron/exon junctions were determined by automated sequencing. RESULTS: Two siblings with early-onset IAD were both compound heterozygotes for mutations in exons 2 and 6. The missense mutation (Met86Arg) in exon 2 within the T-box (or DNA binding domain) is predicted to disrupt DNA binding. A frameshift mutation in exon 6 (782delA) introduces a premature stop codon and is likely to lead to a non-functional truncated protein. No nucleotide changes were observed in exonic sequences in the other two early- or the three later-onset cases. Fifteen single nucleotide polymorphisms that were not predicted to change the TPIT transcript were also detected. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide a further illustration of the genetic heterogeneity of IAD and are highly suggestive of one or more other genes being implicated in this disorder.

Free access

J Kratzsch, A Deimel, A Galler, T Kapellen, A Klinghammer, and W Kiess

OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether or not serum levels of the soluble leptin receptor (sOB-R) and leptin are related to anthropometric and metabolic changes during pubertal development of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. DESIGN AND METHODS: Blood levels of sOB-R, leptin and HbA1C, as well as body-mass index (BMI), diabetes duration and daily insulin doses, were determined in 212 (97 girls; 115 boys) children with type 1 diabetes mellitus and compared with the sOB-R serum levels in 526 healthy children and adolescents. RESULTS: OB-R serum levels and parallel values of the molar ratio between sOB-R and leptin were significantly higher in children with diabetes than in normal children (P<0.05) in almost all investigated Tanner stages. Furthermore, in the entire group of patients, we demonstrated statistically significant correlations (P<0.02) between sOB-R and the duration of diabetes (r=0.30), HbA1c levels (r=0.32) and the insulin dose (r=0.18). Multiple-regression analysis revealed that HbA1c (12.4%), height (7.9%) and duration of diabetes (8.7%) contributed to 29% variance of sOB-R in diabetic children. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that poor glycemic control in diabetes may lead to increased serum levels of sOB-R. This regulation of sOB-R appears to be independent of leptin, but may have an impact on leptin action. The consequently developing molar excess of sOB-R related to leptin could reduce leptin sensitivity and may, therefore, influence leptin-related anthropometric and metabolic abnormalities.

Restricted access

Stefania Bargagna, Luca Chiovato, Daniela Dinetti, Lucia Montanelli, Cristina Giachetti, Elisabetta Romolini, Mara Marcheschi, and Aldo Pinchera


Objective: Neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) prevents the serious neuropsychological features of CH, but the question remains whether intelligence and motor skills of CH children treated early are completely normal.

Design: In this report we describe the rare case of two genetically identical twins, only one of whom was affected by CH due to thyroid agenesis. L-Thyroxine (9 μg/kg body weight/day) therapy was initiated at 27 days of age and was adequate throughout the follow-up.

Methods: Neuropsychological evaluation was performed on the twins in parallel from 3 months to 8 years of age.

Results: The CH twin (NB) did not show major neuromotor impairments but, compared with the unaffected twin (EB), she had a slight delay in postural/motor achievements and in language development that completely disappeared at 8 years of age. On standardised tests of intelligence, NB was indistinguishable from control children but, compared with her twin, she had lower IQ scores in most testing occasions up to 7 years of age (NB = 108 vs EB = 115). School achievements of NB did not significantly differ from those of her classmates but, compared with her twin, she scored worse in writing, mechanical reading, verbal memory, and possibly in arithmetic.

Conclusions: Because the twins were genetically and phenotypically identical, were raised in the same environment, and received a similar education, it is concluded that hypothyroidism in utero and in the first neonatal month was responsible for the lower neuropsychological achievements of the CH twin. While foetal hypothyroidism is at present unavoidable, earlier diagnosis and initiation of treatment in neonates with CH are important and highly recommended.

European Journal of Endocrinology 136 100–104

Free access

W Kiess, M Anil, WF Blum, P Englaro, A Juul, A Attanasio, J Dotsch, and W Rascher

The ob protein, termed leptin, is produced by adipocytes and is thought to act as an afferent satiety signal regulating weight through suppressing appetite and stimulating energy expenditure in humans and/or rodents. Insulin has been found to be a potent stimulator of leptin expression in rodents. It is unclear at present whether this insulin action is a direct or an indirect effect. To investigate whether leptin concentrations in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (IDDM) were related to metabolic status, body weight, body mass index and insulin treatment, we have measured leptin concentrations in serum from 13 newly diagnosed IDDM patients before the beginning of insulin treatment (8 girls, 5 boys, aged 4.7-17.5 years) and in 134 patients with IDDM during treatment (64 girls, 70 boys, aged 2.6-20.1 years) using a specific radioimmunoassay. The data from patients with diabetes were compared with normative data that were derived from a large cohort of healthy children and adolescents. Serum from children with newly diagnosed diabetes had significantly lower levels of leptin (mean 1.28+/-1.60 ng/ml, range 0.14-6.13 ng/ml) compared with healthy children (n=710) (mean 2.2 ng/ml, range 0.26-14.4ng/ml) and compared with insulin-treated children and adolescents (mean 5.18+/-5.48 ng/ml, range 0.26-29.77 ng/ml) (P<0.0001) even after adjustment for gender and body mass index (BMI). Serum leptin levels in patients with IDDM were significantly correlated with BMI (r=0.42, P<0.0001). Multiple regression analysis showed that age and BMI were significantly correlated with leptin levels, while duration of diabetes, mean HbA1c levels, insulin dose and plasma glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels were not. Females had higher serum leptin concentrations than males even when adjusted for BMI (P<0.0001). Surprisingly and most importantly, leptin levels in insulin-treated young adult (Tanner stage 5) patients were significantly higher than values found in the healthy nondiabetic reference population when adjusted for sex, Tanner stage and BMI. These findings suggest that leptin levels in IDDM patients show a similar dependency on adipose tissue and age as in healthy, normal children. The data provide evidence that insulin may be of importance as a regulator of serum leptin levels in vivo not only in rodents but also in humans. It is hypothesized that the elevated BMI-adjusted leptin levels in adolescents with IDDM could indicate either that these patients may be oversubstituted by the intensified insulin therapy that they are receiving or that their body composition and body fat content may differ from that of healthy adolescents in the sense that they have a relative increase in fat mass.