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Free access

GE Krassas and Z Laron

Graves' disease (GD) is the most common cause of juvenile thyrotoxicosis in children and adolescents (1, 2). Three treatment modalities are now available for the treatment of Graves' thyrotoxicosis in childhood: antithyroid drugs (ATD), surgery and radioactive iodine (RAI). However, none of these treatments has been shown to be ideal or clearly superior to the others. Physicians in different countries have different approaches concerning the optimal treatment of juvenile GD.In a European questionnaire study (3), which was conducted by the European Thyroid Association in 1993 and in which 99 individuals or groups from 22 countries participated, it was found that 22 out of 99 physicians from nine countries would consider RAI treatment as the treatment of choice for children with recurrent thyrotoxicosis after surgery, or with recurrent thyrotoxicosis 2 years after ATD. However, RAI is preferred by only a small percentage of physicians for this group of patients in Europe. Hardly any of the respondents chose RAI for the patients with a toxic adenoma or a multinodular toxic goiter (3). On the other hand, in view of the difficulties with medical therapy in children and adolescents, including poor compliance, a high rate of relapse, drug toxicity and continued thyroid enlargement, some eminent American physicians emphasize the safety, simplicity and economic advantages of (131)I ablation which should be considered more commonly in children (4, 5).We had the opportunity to conduct a similar study during a pediatric thyroidology symposium, which was organized by Professors Buyugkebiz and Laron in Izmir (Smyrna) Turkey from 30 October to 1 November 2003. During the congress a questionnaire with the following four questions was circulated among the 120 participants from eight countries who were mainly paediatric endocrinologists. Most of them were from Turkey and the rest, except for one who came from the USA, were Europeans. Sixty-one out of the 120 physicians responded.

Free access

M Thomas, G Massa, M Craen, F de Zegher, JP Bourguignon, C Heinrichs, J De Schepper, M Du Caju, G Thiry-Counson, and M Maes

OBJECTIVE: Since the availability of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) all children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) living in Belgium are offered rhGH treatment after approval by a peer-review board. In this study, we evaluated the prevalence and demographic features of childhood GHD in Belgium during the period 1986-2001 and we compared them with the data from other countries. METHODS: Diagnostic, demographic and baseline auxological data of 714 children diagnosed as having GHD between 1986 and 2001 were retrieved from the database of the Belgian Study Group for Paediatric Endocrinology. RESULTS: The prevalence of GHD in Belgium was estimated to be 1/5600. The origin of GHD was idiopathic (idGHD) in 41% of the patients, congenital (congGHD) in 20% and acquired (acqGHD) in 35%. During the first 4 years (1986-1989) more patients were classified as idGHD; thereafter the distribution between the three aetiology groups did not change. In all groups, boys outnumbered girls but this preponderance was especially pronounced in congGHD patients (male:female=4:1) with a central malformation that associates an anterior pituitary hypoplasia, a missing, fine or normal pituitary stalk and an ectopic posterior pituitary. Thirteen percent of the patients with idGHD, 50% with congGHD and 52% with acqGHD had multiple pituitary deficiencies. Patients with congGHD were the youngest (mean+/-s.d. age: 6.5+/-4.7 years) and were the shortest (-3.0+/-1.3 standard deviation score (SDS)) at the start of rhGH treatment. There was no time trend over the studied period for age and height at onset of GH therapy. CONCLUSION: In Belgium, the prevalence of childhood GHD can be estimated as 1/5600 which is comparable to other recent surveys. The yearly number of new patients for the different aetiologies and the auxological parameters have remained relatively constant over the last 16 years.

Open access

Irina Bacila, Neil Richard Lawrence, Sundus Mahdi, Sabah Alvi, Timothy D Cheetham, Elizabeth Crowne, Urmi Das, Mehul Tulsidas Dattani, Justin H Davies, Evelien Gevers, Ruth E Krone, Andreas Kyriakou, Leena Patel, Tabitha Randell, Fiona J Ryan, Brian Keevil, S Faisal Ahmed, and Nils P Krone

Objective

There is limited knowledge on the onset of comorbidities in congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) during childhood. We aimed to establish the health status of children with CAH in the UK.

Design and methods

This cross-sectional multicentre study involved 14 tertiary endocrine UK units, recruiting 101 patients aged 8–18 years with classic 21-hydroxylase deficiency and 83 controls. We analysed demographic, clinical and metabolic data, as well as psychological questionnaires (Strengths and Difficulties (SDQ), Paediatric Quality of Life (PedsQL)).

Results

Patient height SDS in relation to mid-parental height decreased with age, indicating the discrepancy between height achieved and genetic potential height. Bone age was advanced in 40.5% patients, with a mean difference from the chronological age of 1.8 (±2.3) years. Patients were more frequently overweight (27%) or obese (22%) compared to controls (10.8% and 10.8%, respectively, P < 0.001). No consistent relationship between glucocorticoid dose and anthropometric measurements or hormonal biomarkers was detected. A small number of patients had raised total cholesterol (3.0%), low HDL (3.0%), raised LDL (7.0%) and triglycerides (5.0%). SDQ scores were within the ‘high’ and ‘very high’ categories of concern for 16.3% of patients. ‘School functioning’ was the lowest PedsQL scoring dimension with a median (interquartile range) of 70 (55–80), followed by ‘emotional functioning’ with a median of 75 (65–85).

Conclusions

Our results show an increased prevalence of problems with growth and weight gain in CAH children and suggest reduced quality of life. This highlights the urgent need to optimise management and monitoring strategies to improve long-term health outcomes.

Free access

P G Murray, A Read, I Banerjee, A J Whatmore, L E Pritchard, R A Davies, J Brennand, A White, R J Ross, and P E Clayton

Introduction

Leptin deficiency caused by mutations within the leptin gene (LEP) results in severe early onset obesity, hypogonadism, pubertal delay and immune system abnormalities. Constitutional delay in growth and puberty (CDGP) is a common condition seen in paediatric clinics, in which children present with delayed growth and puberty but usually also have a slim body habitus. We hypothesized that LEP variants may play a role in the phenotype seen in CDGP.

Aim

To screen a group of children with CDGP for pathogenic sequence variants in LEP.

Patients and methods

Denaturing HPLC was used to screen for LEP sequence variants in DNA samples from 78 children with CDGP (predominantly white males) and 112 control subjects. DNA fragments with a WAVE pattern deviant from wild type were directly sequenced. A STAT3 luciferase reporter assay in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells transiently transfected with the leptin receptor was used to test activity of mutant leptin.

Results

One child with CDGP was identified to be heterozygous for a novel missense variant (c.68C>G), which results in a proline to arginine substitution (p.P23R). This sequence variant was not identified in any of the other control subjects, but was identified in his mother who shared a similar phenotype of slim body habitus, reduced appetite and pubertal delay (menarche aged 15 years). The leptin variant showed similar stability in serum compared with wild type and did not demonstrate increased activity in an in vitro reporter gene assay.

Conclusions

This is the first report of a sequence variant within the LEP gene associated with reduced body mass index rather than obesity. We hypothesize that this variant has increased bioactivity in vivo.

Free access

Raja Padidela, Miriam Fiest, Ved Arya, Virpi V Smith, Michael Ashworth, Dyanne Rampling, Melanie Newbould, Gauri Batra, Jacqueline James, Neville B Wright, Mark J Dunne, Peter E Clayton, Indraneel Banerjee, and Khalid Hussain

Background

Insulinomas are a rare cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia (HH) in children. The clinical features, investigations, management and histology of these rare pancreatic tumours in children have not been described in a large cohort of patients.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective review of cases diagnosed between 2000 and 2012, presenting to two referral centres in the United Kingdom. Clinical, biochemical, imaging (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 6-l-18F-fluorodihydroxyphenylalanine (18F-DOPA) PET/CT scanning) and histological data were collected.

Results

Nine children (age range 2–14.5 years) were diagnosed during the study period at Great Ormond Street Hospital (n=5) and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital (n=4). The combination of abdominal MRI scan (7/8) and 18F-DOPA PET/CT scan (2/4) correctly localised the anatomical location of all insulinomas. Before surgery, diazoxide therapy was used to treat hypoglycaemia, but only four patients responded. After surgical resection of the insulinoma, hypoglycaemia resolved in all patients. The anatomical localisation of the insulinoma in each patient was head (n=4), uncinate process (n=4) and tail (n=2, one second lesion) of the pancreas. Histology confirmed the diagnosis of insulinoma with the presence of sheets and trabeculae of epithelioid and spindle cells staining strongly for insulin and proinsulin, but not for glucagon or somatostatin. Two children were positive for MEN1, one of whom had two separate insulinoma lesions within the pancreas.

Conclusions

We describe a cohort of paediatric insulinoma patients. Although rare, insulinomas should be included in the differential diagnosis of HH, even in very young children. In the absence of a single imaging modality in the preoperative period, localisation of the tumour is achieved by combining imaging techniques, both conventional and functional.

Open access

Oliver Blankenstein, Marta Snajderova, Jo Blair, Effie Pournara, Birgitte Tønnes Pedersen, and Isabelle Oliver Petit

Objective

To describe real-life dosing patterns in children with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), born small for gestational age (SGA) or with Turner syndrome (TS) receiving growth hormone (GH) and enrolled in the NordiNet International Outcome Study (IOS; Nbib960128) between 2006 and 2016.

Design

This non-interventional, multicentre study included paediatric patients diagnosed with GHD (isolated (IGHD) or multiple pituitary hormone deficiency (MPHD)), born SGA or with TS and treated according to everyday clinical practice from the Czech Republic (IGHD/MPHD/SGA/TS: n = 425/61/316/119), France (n = 1404/188/970/206), Germany (n = 2603/351/1387/411) and the UK (n = 259/60/87/35).

Methods

GH dosing was compared descriptively across countries and indications. Proportions of patients by GH dose group (low/medium/high) or GH dose change (decrease/increase/no change) during years 1 and 2 were also evaluated across countries and indications.

Results

In the Czech Republic, GH dosing was generally within recommended levels. In France, average GH doses were higher for patients with IGHD, MPHD and SGA than in other countries. GH doses in TS tended to be at the lower end of the recommended label range, especially in Germany and the UK; the majority of patients were in the low-dose group. A significant inverse association between baseline height standard deviation score and GH dose was shown (P < 0.05); shorter patients received higher doses. Changes in GH dose, particularly increases, were more common in the second (40%) than in the first year (25%).

Conclusions

GH dosing varies considerably across countries and indications. In particular, almost half of girls with TS received GH doses below practice guidelines and label recommendations.

Free access

Marianne K Vihinen, Kaija-Leena Kolho, Merja Ashorn, Matti Verkasalo, and Taneli Raivio

Objective

We investigated circulating markers of bone turnover before and during systemic glucocorticoid treatment in paediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Methods

Twenty-two children (mean age, 12.3 years) with IBD necessitating peroral steroid therapy were studied, with special reference to bone formation and resorption markers amino-terminal type I collagen propeptide (PINP) and carboxyterminal telopeptide of type I collagen (ICTP) respectively. In addition, GH-related IGF-I and sex hormone-binding protein (SHBG) were measured. Bone markers were analyzed at the initiation of the glucocorticoid treatment, at 2 and 5 weeks thereafter and at 1 month following the withdrawal of the steroid. Control group comprised 22 IBD patients in remission.

Results

PINP and IGF-I were already lower before glucocorticoid treatment serum in children with active IBD as compared with control children with IBD in remission (median PINP 271 vs 535 μg/l, P<0.05; IGF-I 23 vs 29 nmol/l, P<0.05). After 2 weeks of glucocorticoid treatment serum PINP levels had declined further, from 271 to 163 μg/l (P<0.001), serum ICTP from 14.2 to 9.6 μg/l (P<0.001), and SHBG from 54 to 35 nmol/l (P<0.001) respectively. By contrast, serum IGF-I increased from 23 to 37 nmol/l (P<0.001). One month after the withdrawal of the glucocorticoid, all bone markers restored to levels similar to the controls.

Conclusions

Bone formation in children with active IBD appears compromised and systemic glucocorticoid treatment further suppresses bone turnover. After the cessation of the glucocorticoid the bone markers show immediate improvement.

Free access

Leo Dunkel and Richard Quinton

Puberty is the period during which we attain adult secondary sexual characteristics and reproductive capability. Its onset depends upon reactivation of pulsative GNRH, secretion from its relative quiescence during childhood, on the background of intact potential for pituitary–gonadal function. This review is intended: to highlight those current practices in diagnosis and management that are evidence based and those that are not; to help clinicians deal with areas of uncertainty with reference to physiologic first principles; by sign-posting relevant data arising from other patient groups with shared issues; to illustrate how recent scientific advances are (or should be) altering clinician perceptions of pubertal delay; and finally, to emphasise that the management of men and women presenting in advanced adult life with absent puberty cannot simply be extrapolated from paediatric practice. There is a broad spectrum of pubertal timing that varies among different populations, separated in time and space. Delayed puberty usually represents an extreme of the normal, a developmental pattern referred to as constitutional delay of growth and puberty (CDGP), but organic defects of the hypothalamo–pituitary–gonadal axis predisposing to hypogonadism may not always be initially distinguishable from it. CDGP and organic, or congenital hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism are both significantly more common in boys than girls. Moreover, around 1/3 of adults with organic hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism had evidence of partial puberty at presentation and, confusingly, some 5–10% of these subsequently may exhibit recovery of endogenous gonadotrophin secretion, including men with Kallmann syndrome. However, the distinction is crucial as expectative (‘watch-and-wait’) management is inappropriate in the context of hypogonadism. The probability of pubertal delay being caused by organic hypogonadism rises exponentially both with increasing age at presentation and the presence of associated ‘red flag’ clinical features. These ‘red flags’ comprise findings indicating lack of prior ‘mini-puberty’ (such as cryptorchidism or micropenis), or the presence of non-reproductive congenital defects known to be associated with specific hypogonadal syndromes, e.g. anosmia, deafness, mirror movements, renal agenesis, dental/digital anomalies, clefting or coloboma would be compatible with Kallmann (or perhaps CHARGE) syndrome. In children, interventions (whether in the form or treatment or simple reassurance) have been historically directed at maximising height potential and minimising psychosocial morbidity, though issues of future fertility and bone density potential are now increasingly ‘in the mix’. Apubertal adults almost invariably harbour organic hypogonadism, requiring sensitive acknowledgement of underlying personal issues and the timely introduction of sex hormone replacement therapy at more physiological doses.

Free access

Stefano Stagi, Elisabetta Lapi, Eleonora Gambineri, Cristina Manoni, Maurizio Genuardi, Gloria Colarusso, Camilla Conti, Francesco Chiarelli, Maurizio de Martino, and Chiara Azzari

Introduction

Although hypoparathyroidism with hypocalcaemia is one of the most frequent clinical features of monoallelic microdeletion of chromosome 22q11 (22q11DS), bone mass and metabolism have not yet been assessed in these patients.

Design

This study aimed to evaluate bone mass and metabolism in a cohort of patients, both children and adults, with 22q11DS.

Methods

In twenty-eight patients with 22q11DS (median age 12.5, range 6.1–42.8 years), serum levels of ionised and total calcium, phosphate, parathyroid hormone (PTH), 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, osteocalcin and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP), and urinary deoxypyridinoline concentrations were evaluated. In these patients, bone mineral density (BMD) was evaluated by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) examination, and volumetric BMD (bone mineral apparent density (BMAD)) was calculated.

The data obtained from paediatric and adult patients were compared with two age-, sex- and body size-matched healthy subject control groups.

Results

Patients with 22q11DS showed a reduced BMAD Z-score compared with controls (P<0.001). These patients also had significantly lower ionised (P<0.001) and total calcium (P<0.05) levels as well as lower PTH levels (P<0.05), compared with the controls. In particular, children and young patients with 22q11DS had significantly lower serum osteocalcin levels (P<0.001), BSAP levels (P<0.001) and urinary deoxypyridinoline concentrations (P<0.001) than controls. These results were not confirmed in adults.

Finally, patients with hypoparathyroidism and/or hypocalcaemia at the time of the study showed significantly lower ionised (P<0.001) and total calcium levels (P<0.001), PTH levels (P<0.05), BSAP levels (P<0.001), osteocalcin levels (P<0.001) and urinary deoxypyridinoline concentrations (P<0.001), compared with patients without hypoparathyroidism and/or hypocalcaemia. Nonetheless, the BMAD Z-score did not show substantial differences between these two groups.

Conclusions

Subjects with 22q11DS have a significant reduction in bone mass that appears to be more severe in adults who have already attained peak bone mass than in children who are still growing. Therefore, we suggest a close monitoring of bone mass and metabolism in 22q11DS patients.

Free access

Barbara Głowińska-Olszewska, Marcin Moniuszko, Andrzej Hryniewicz, Marta Jeznach, Małgorzata Rusak, Milena Dąbrowska, Włodzimierz Łuczyński, Anna Bodzenta-Łukaszyk, and Artur Bossowski

Objective

The low number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) has emerged as a biomarker of cardiovascular (CV) risk in adults. Data regarding EPCs in paediatric populations with CV risk factors are limited. The aim of the study was to estimate the EPC number and its relationship with vascular function and structure in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Design and methods

We performed a comparative analysis of 52 children with T1DM (mean age 14.5 years; diabetes duration, 6.0 years; HbA1c level, 8.5%) and 36 healthy age- and gender-matched control children. EPCs were identified and analysed by flow cytometry with the use of MABs directed against CD34, CD144 (VE-cadherin) and CD309 (VEGFR-2). sICAM-1, hsCRP, thrombomodulin and adiponectin levels were also assessed. We evaluated vascular function (flow-mediated dilation (FMD)) and structure (carotid intima–media thickness (IMT)) ultrasonographically.

Results

Frequencies of CD34+ cells were similar in both groups (P=0.30). In contrast, frequencies of CD34+VE-cadherin+ cells were significantly higher in diabetic children compared with the healthy group (P=0.003). Similarly, diabetic patients tended to present with higher frequencies of CD34+VEGFR+ cells (P=0.06). FMD was lower (6.9 vs 10.5%, P=0.002) and IMT was higher (0.50 vs 0.44 mm, P=0.0006) in diabetic children. We demonstrated a significant relationship between CD34+VEGFR-2+ cells and BMI (r=0.3, P=0.014), HDL (r=−0.27, P=0.04), sICAM-1 (r=0.47, P=0.023) and FMD (r=−0.45, P<0.001). Similarly, frequencies of CD34+VE-cadherin+ cells were significantly correlated with BMI (r=0.32, P=0.02) and FMD (r=−0.31, P=0.03).

Conclusions

We demonstrated here that increased frequencies of EPCs observed in diabetic children are negatively correlated with endothelial function. Further studies are warranted to assess whether this phenomenon might result from effective mobilisation of EPCs in order to repair damaged endothelium in children at increased risk for atherosclerosis.