Osteoporosis is being increasingly recognised in paediatric practice as a consequence of several factors. These include the increasing complexity of chronic conditions and the associated treatments managed by paediatricians. In addition, the improved care provided to children with chronic illness has led to many of them living long enough to develop osteoporosis. The availability of methods to assess bone density in children as a surrogate marker of bone strength and the possibility of medical treatment to increase bone density have also resulted in an increased awareness of groups of children who may be at risk of osteoporosis. This article reviews the current definition of osteoporosis in children, aetiological factors and the evidence for effective treatment.
Nicholas J Shaw
Meena Bandhakavi, Amy Wanaguru, Loveline Ayuk, Jeremy M Kirk, Timothy G Barrett, Melanie Kershaw, Wolfgang Högler, and Nicholas J Shaw
Autosomal recessive forms of pseudohypoaldosteronism are caused by genetic defects in the epithelial sodium channel. Little is known about the long-term outcome and medication needs during childhood and adolescence.
This study reports a single-centre experience of children affected with this ultra-rare condition over a 37-year period.
We report the clinical presentation, growth, neuro-development, associated conditions, mortality and medication dosing and administration for 12 affected children from eight families.
All children were presented within the first 2 weeks of life with life-threatening, severe hyperkalaemia and hyponatraemia. All parents were consanguineous and of South Asian, Middle Eastern or African ethnic origin. Eight children had homozygous mutations in the SCNN1A and SCNN1G genes, encoding the epithelial sodium channel subunits alpha and gamma, respectively, including one novel mutation. Three children died (25%) and two (16%) had severe neurological impairment post-cardiac arrest secondary to hyperkalaemia. One affected female had a successful pregnancy at the age of 28 years.
Despite high mortality and morbidity in this condition, survival with normal physical and neurological outcome is possible, justifying intensive management to prevent electrolyte imbalance.
Jan Idkowiak, Yasir S Elhassan, Pascoe Mannion, Karen Smith, Rachel Webster, Vrinda Saraff, Timothy G Barrett, Nicholas J Shaw, Nils Krone, Renuka P Dias, Melanie Kershaw, Jeremy M Kirk, Wolfgang Högler, Ruth E Krone, Michael W O’Reilly, and Wiebke Arlt
Androgen excess in childhood is a common presentation and may signify sinister underlying pathology. Data describing its patterns and severity are scarce, limiting the information available for clinical decision processes. Here, we examined the differential diagnostic value of serum DHEAS, androstenedione (A4) and testosterone in childhood androgen excess.
Retrospective review of all children undergoing serum androgen measurement at a single center over 5 years.
Serum A4 and testosterone were measured by tandem mass spectrometry and DHEAS by immunoassay. Patients with at least one increased androgen underwent phenotyping by clinical notes review.
In 487 children with simultaneous DHEAS, A4 and testosterone measurements, we identified 199 with androgen excess (140 pre- and 59 post-pubertal). Premature adrenarche (PA) was the most common pre-pubertal diagnosis (61%), characterized by DHEAS excess in 85%, while A4 and testosterone were only increased in 26 and 9% respectively. PCOS was diagnosed in 40% of post-pubertal subjects, presenting equally frequent with isolated excess of DHEAS (29%) or testosterone (25%) or increases in both A4 and testosterone (25%). CAH patients (6%) predominantly had A4 excess (86%); testosterone and DHEAS were increased in 50 and 33% respectively. Concentrations increased above the two-fold upper limit of normal were mostly observed in PA for serum DHEAS (>20-fold in the single case of adrenocortical carcinoma) and in CAH for serum androstenedione.
Patterns and severity of childhood androgen excess provide pointers to the underlying diagnosis and can be used to guide further investigations.