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Journal: Children (Basel, Switzerland)


Primary pain disorders (formerly “functional pain syndromes”) are common, under-diagnosed and under-treated in children and teenagers. This manuscript reviews key aspects which support understanding the development of pediatric chronic pain, points to the current pediatric chronic pain terminology, addresses effective treatment strategies, and discusses the evidence-based use of pharmacology. Common symptoms of an underlying pain vulnerability present in the three most common chronic pain disorders in pediatrics: primary headaches, centrally mediated abdominal pain syndromes, and/or chronic/recurrent musculoskeletal and joint pain. A significant number of children with repeated acute nociceptive pain episodes develop chronic pain in addition to or as a result of their underlying medical condition “chronic-on-acute pain.” We provide description of the structure and process of our interdisciplinary, rehabilitative pain clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA with accompanying data in the treatment of chronic pain symptoms that persist beyond the expected time of healing. An interdisciplinary approach combining (1) rehabilitation; (2) integrative medicine/active mind-body techniques; (3) psychology; and (4) normalizing daily school attendance, sports, social life and sleep will be presented. As a result of restored function, pain improves and commonly resolves. Opioids are not indicated for primary pain disorders, and other medications, with few exceptions, are usually not first-line therapy.

Concepts: Medicine, Physician, Abdominal pain, Pain, Nociception, Medical school, Abdomen, Chronic pain


Most of the existing sociological and epidemiological literature has focused on the protective effects of high socioeconomic status (SES) on population health through reducing exposure to risk factors and increasing human and material resources that can mitigate adversities. Recent studies, however, have documented poor mental health of high SES Blacks, particularly African American males and Caribbean Black females. The literature also shows a link between perceived discrimination and poor mental health. To better understand the extra costs of upward social mobility for minority populations, this study explored ethnic by gender variations in the associations between SES indicators and perceived discrimination in an ethnically diverse national sample of Black youth. This study included 810 African American and 360 Caribbean Black youth who were sampled in the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent supplement (NSAL-A). Three SES indicators (financial hardship, family income, and income to needs ratio) were the independent variables. The dependent variable was perceived (daily) discrimination. Age was the covariate. Ethnicity and gender were the focal moderators. Linear regressions were used for data analysis in the pooled sample and also based on the intersection of ethnicity and gender. Considerable gender by ethnicity variations were found in the patterns of the associations between SES indicators and perceived discrimination. Financial hardship was a risk factor for perceived discrimination in African American males only. High family income and income to needs ratio were associated with high (but not low) perceived discrimination in African American males and Caribbean Black females. SES indicators were not associated with perceived discrimination for African American females or Caribbean Black males. When it comes to Black youth, high SES is not always protective. Whether SES reduces or increases perceived discrimination among Black youth depends on the intersection of ethnicity by gender. Additional research is needed to understand why and how high SES increases exposure and vulnerability to discrimination for some groups of Black youth.

Concepts: Black people, Race, Ethnic group, White American, African American, Caribbean, African diaspora, Haiti


Advances in developmental resilience science are highlighted with commentary on implications for pediatric systems that aspire to promote healthy development over the life course. Resilience science is surging along with growing concerns about the consequences of adverse childhood experiences on lifelong development. Resilience is defined as the capacity of a system to adapt successfully to challenges that threaten the function, survival, or future development of the system. This definition is scalable across system levels and across disciplines, applicable to resilience in a person, a family, a health care system, a community, an economy, or other systems. Robust findings on resilience in childhood underscore the importance of exposure dose; fundamental adaptive systems embedded in the lives of individuals and their interactions with other systems; developmental timing; and the crucial role of healthcare practitioners and educators as well as family caregivers in nurturing resilience on the “front lines” of lived childhood experience. Resilience science suggests that human resilience is common, dynamic, generated through myriad interactions of multiple systems from the biological to the sociocultural, and mutable given strategic targeting and timing. Implications for pediatric practice and training are discussed.


Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children. One subset, high-risk neuroblastoma, is very difficult to treat and requires multi-modal therapy. Intensification of therapy has vastly improved survival rates, and research is focused on novel treatments to further improve survival rates. The current treatment schema is divided into three stages-induction, consolidation, and maintenance. This review serves as an overview of the current treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma and a glimpse at current research for future therapy.


Among the over 21 million children with life-limiting conditions worldwide that would benefit annually from a pediatric palliative care (PPC) approach, more than eight million would need specialized PPC services. In the United States alone, more than 42,000 children die every year, half of them infants younger than one year. Advanced interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care for children with serious illnesses is now an expected standard of pediatric medicine. Unfortunately, in many institutions there remain significant barriers to achieving optimal care related to lack of formal education, reimbursement issues, the emotional impact of caring for a dying child, and most importantly, the lack of interdisciplinary PPC teams with sufficient staffing and funding. Data reveals the majority of distressing symptoms in children with serious illness (such as pain, dyspnea and nausea/vomiting) were not addressed during their end-of-life period, and when treated, therapy was commonly ineffective. Whenever possible, treatment should focus on continued efforts to control the underlying illness. At the same time, children and their families should have access to interdisciplinary care aimed at promoting optimal physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. Persistent myths and misconceptions have led to inadequate symptom control in children with life-limiting diseases. Pediatric Palliative Care advocates the provision of comfort care, pain, and symptom management concurrently with disease-directed treatments. Families no longer have to opt for one over the other. They can pursue both, and include integrative care to maximize the child’s quality of life. Since most of the sickest children with serious illness are being taken care of in a hospital, every children’s hospital is now expected to offer an interdisciplinary palliative care service as the standard of care. This article addresses common myths and misconceptions which may pose clinical obstacles to effective PPC delivery and discusses the four typical stages of pediatric palliative care program implementation.


The application of palliative and hospice care to newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has been evident for over 30 years. This article addresses the history, current considerations, and anticipated future needs for palliative and hospice care in the NICU, and is based on recent literature review. Neonatologists have long managed the entirety of many newborns' short lives, given the relatively high mortality rates associated with prematurity and birth defects, but their ability or willingness to comprehensively address of the continuum of interdisciplinary palliative, end of life, and bereavement care has varied widely. While neonatology service capacity has grown worldwide during this time, so has attention to pediatric palliative care generally, and neonatal-perinatal palliative care specifically. Improvements have occurred in family-centered care, communication, pain assessment and management, and bereavement. There remains a need to integrate palliative care with intensive care rather than await its application solely at the terminal phase of a young infant’s life-when s/he is imminently dying. Future considerations for applying neonatal palliative care include its integration into fetal diagnostic management, the developing era of genomic medicine, and expanding research into palliative care models and practices in the NICU.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Intensive care medicine, Palliative care, Infant mortality, Pediatrics, Hospice, Cicely Saunders


Among most minority groups, males seem to report higher levels of exposure and vulnerability to racial discrimination. Although darker skin tone may increase exposure to racial discrimination, it is yet unknown whether skin tone similarly influences perceived discrimination among male and female Caribbean Black youth.

Concepts: Human, Male, United States, Gender, Race, Human skin color, Racism, Affirmative action


Background: Although the protective effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on obesity and cardiovascular disease are well established, these effects may differ across racial and ethnic groups. Aims: Using a national sample, this study investigated racial variation in the association between family income and childhood obesity in White and Black families. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), 2003⁻2004, a nationally representative survey in the United States. This analysis included 76,705 children 2⁻17 years old who were either White (n = 67,610, 88.14%) or Black (n = 9095, 11.86%). Family income to needs ratio was the independent variable. Childhood obesity was the outcome. Race was the focal moderator. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. Results: Overall, higher income to needs ratio was protective against childhood obesity. Race, however, interacted with income to needs ratio on odds of childhood obesity, indicating smaller effects for Black compared to White families. Race stratified logistic regressions showed an association between family income and childhood obesity for White but not Black families. Conclusions: The protective effect of income against childhood obesity is smaller for Blacks than Whites. Merely equalizing population access to SES and economic resources would not be sufficient for elimination of racial disparities in obesity and related cardiovascular disease in the United States. Policies should go beyond access to SES and address structural barriers in the lives of Blacks which result in a diminished health return of very same SES resources for them. As the likely causes are multi-level barriers, multi-level interventions are needed to eliminate racial disparities in childhood obesity.


An underutilized value strategy that may reduce unnecessary subspecialty involvement in pediatric healthcare targets the high-quality care of children with common chronic conditions such as obesity, asthma, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder within primary care settings. In this commentary, we propose that “secondary care”, defined as specialized visits delivered by primary care providers, a general pediatrician, or other primary care providers, can obtain the knowledge, skill and, over time, the experience to manage one or more of these common chronic conditions by creating clinical time and space to provide condition-focused care. This care model promotes familiarity, comfort, proximity to home, and leverages the provider’s expertise and connections with community-based resources. Evidence is provided to prove that, with multi-disciplinary and subspecialist support, this model of care can improve the quality, decrease the costs, and improve the provider’s satisfaction with care.


Adolescence is a developmental period marked by increased stress, especially among Black youth. In addition to stress related to their developmental transition, social factors such as a perceived unsafe neighborhood impose additional risks. We examined gender and ethnic differences in the association between perceived neighborhood safety and major depressive disorder (MDD) among a national sample of Black youth. We used data from the National Survey of American Life - Adolescents (NSAL-A), 2003-2004. In total, 1170 Black adolescents entered the study. This number was composed of 810 African American and 360 Caribbean Black youth (age 13 to 17). Demographic factors, perceived neighborhood safety, and MDD (Composite International Diagnostic Interview, CIDI) were measured. Logistic regressions were used to test the association between neighborhood safety and MDD in the pooled sample, as well as based on ethnicity by gender groups. In the pooled sample of Black youth, those who perceived their neighborhoods to be unsafe were at higher risk of MDD (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.25; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.02-1.51). The perception that one’s neighborhood is unsafe was associated with a higher risk of MDD among African American males (OR=1.41; 95% CI = 1.03-1.93) but not African American females or Caribbean Black males and females. In conclusion, perceived neighborhood safety is not a universal psychological determinant of MDD across ethnic by gender groups of Black youth; however, policies and programs that enhance the sense of neighborhood safety may prevent MDD in male African American youth.

Concepts: Black people, Gender, Race, Ethnic group, Major depressive disorder, African American, African diaspora, Haiti