x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Vaccine may be effective in fewer doses

New discoveries in laboratories and in surveys can help you raise a healthy child who will mature into a healthy adult.

Three doses of the PCV-7 vaccine are recommended before the age of six months.
Three doses of the PCV-7 vaccine are recommended before the age of six months.

A study in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that fewer shots of the pneumococcal vaccine can still effectively protect infants against pneumonia and other infections. The current recommendation for 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) is three doses before the age of six months and a booster vaccination at two years. Factors such as cost effectiveness have led researchers to examine reduced-dose vaccine schedules.

Prescription drugs in the UAE are significantly more expensive than in other parts of the world, a World Health Organization survey has revealed. Some medicines can cost up to 23 times more than the recommended international price. The most shocking example of overpricing was the drug Ciprofloxacin, which is used to treat severe and life-threatening bacterial infections. Doctors say some patients are resorting to buying cheaper, perhaps less reliable products abroad. Pharmacists say wholesale costs are so high they are barely making a profit.

Prospective university students in Canada are being warned to safeguard their personal information from marketers setting up fake academic groups on Facebook. Several fraudulent groups targeting students at Canadian universities were shut down in June. Many sported official school logos. Students are encouraged not to join carelessly. The groups are designed for gathering personal information for databases that are later sold and as a channel for advertising.

This month's Health Psychology includes a study showing that children are more likely to be active if their parents are active. An experiment that included 681 parents and 433 children found that children of parents who valued sports watched less TV, spent less time on their computers and were generally more active than other children. The study found that girls were not as encouraged to participate in high-intensity exercise, and that the parents' approval of exercise had a greater influence on boys.

Another study in July's Health Psychology suggests television ads trigger mindless eating, especially in children. Yale University researchers experimented on kids aged seven to 11; those who watched a half-hour cartoon that included food commercials ate 45 per cent more snack items than those who watched the same cartoon with non-food commercials. This could equate to a child putting on 10 extra pounds per year unless TV viewing is counteracted with increased levels of exercise and decreased intake of other foods, researchers said. "This research shows a direct and powerful link between television food advertising and calories consumed by adults and children," said Jennifer Harris, the lead author of the study and the director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale.

Swedish researchers have found a possible link between birth by Caesarean section and an increased risk for immunological diseases such as diabetes and asthma later in life. Published in this month's Acta Paediatrica, the study found changes to the DNA of white blood cells in babies born by Caesarean section. They had higher DNA-methylation rates immediately after delivery, which are a key part of the immune system. The researchers explain that this is due to the high stress in C-section births but admit further studies are needed to prove and explain the link.

A report published in this month's Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine has found that taking part in team sports lowers the odds of children smoking but cannot compete with the influence of smoking in movies. As many as 30 to 50 per cent of adolescent smokers attribute their habit to seeing it in movies, the study found. Parents are urged to take note of what their kids are watching on TV and to use the internet to find out whether a movie has smoking scenes in it.