New Study Shows Peanut Patch Effective in Young Toddlers

In promising news for young toddlers with peanut allergies, a new study involving researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that daily use of a “peanut patch” for 1 year was effective in desensitizing a majority of peanut-allergic toddlers, lessening the likelihood of an allergic reaction upon accidental exposure. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Currently there are no FDA-approved peanut allergy treatments for patients under the age of 4, so this study is exciting news,” says study co-author Terri F. Brown-Whitehorn, MD, an attending physician in CHOP’s Division of Allergy and Immunology and site Principal Investigator. “Although an allergy patch won’t necessarily work for all toddlers, this study shows that it could be one more tool in an allergist’s toolbox to help prevent a life-threatening allergic reaction.”

Thomas F. Kolon, MD, Named New Chief of the Division of Urology

Thomas Kolon, MD Thomas Kolon, MD CHOP has named Thomas F. Kolon, MD, as Chief of the Division of Urology. Kolon has served as the Associate Chief of CHOP’s Division of Urology since 2014 and is a professor of Urology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an expert in the care of children with genital disorders and renal, bladder, and prostate cancer and has helped develop creative 3-D printing models for planning safe organ-sparing surgery. A talented and accomplished researcher and physician, Kolon holds the Howard M. Snyder III Endowed Chair in Pediatric Urology at CHOP.

His vast expertise in pediatric urology oncology includes fertility preservation in oncology patients. He is urology director of the Differences in Sex Development Program at CHOP, a program through which he has garnered NIH R01 funding and has worked extensively in concert with colleagues in endocrinology, genetics, and psychology.

CHOP Researchers Assess the Safety of Soccer Headers in Youth

A new study from researchers at the Minds Matter Concussion Program at CHOP shows that a small number of repeated soccer headers equivalent to a throw-in did not cause immediate neurophysiological deficits for teens, suggesting that limited soccer heading exposure in youth sports may not result in irreversible harm if players are properly trained.

Study participants completed neurophysiological assessments immediately prior to, immediately after, and approximately 24 hours after completing 10 headers or kicks. These assessments included multiple eye movement tracking, pupil response, and balance tests. The study ultimately found no neurophysiological issues in either group when compared with the kicking control group.

“We need to be clear that there still may be long-term consequences for repeated soccer headers over the course of an athletic career,” says senior study author Kristy Arbogast, PhD, Co-scientific Director at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention and research director of the Minds Matter, “but it appears that a small number of headers in a given session does not pose an immediate risk to properly trained youth athletes.”

Earlier Intervention Leads to Greater Improvements in Young Children on Autism Spectrum

Researchers from CHOP, Florida State University, and the University of California, Los Angeles have demonstrated that starting intervention coaching parents of autistic toddlers as early as 18 months leads to better gains in language, social communication, and daily living skills, compared to intervention started just 9 months later. Their findings were published in the journal Autism.

While prior studies provided strong evidence of the benefits of early intervention in autism, many are correlation studies rather than randomized controlled studies. Additionally, prior research has not demonstrated an ideal age at which to begin interventions.

“Many of us in the autism community say earlier is better, but we actually do not have enough high-quality evidence for that, so a randomized controlled trial like this one helps address that issue,” says lead author Whitney Guthrie, PhD, a clinical psychologist and researcher at CHOP’s Center for Autism Research.

Oxygen Readings May Be Affected by Darker Skin Tones

Researchers from CHOP recently found that pulse oximetry might be overestimating oxygen levels in children of different races, which could lead to inaccurate readings. Findings were published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Prior studies in adults indicated that darker skin tones appear to make the measurement less accurate. Scientists wanted to understand if the same phenomenon might be seen in children.

To study the relationship between true blood oxygen saturation and the readings captured by pulse oximetry, researchers used retrospective electronic health record data of 774 patients (201 Black and 573 White) from a pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory where pulse oximetry is captured in 1-minute intervals in electronic health records and is able to be linked to arterial blood gasses processed at the same time. The study found that the average difference between pulse oximeter readings and arterial blood oxygen saturation was higher in Black patients (2.61) than White patients (0.88), after adjusting for covariates.

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