End of life care for infants, children and young people with life limiting conditions: summary of NICE guidance

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Children and young people can have a wide range of life limiting conditions and may sometimes live with such conditions for many years. This guideline recommends that end of life care be managed as a long term process that begins at the time of diagnosis of a life limiting condition and entails planning for the future. Sometimes it may begin before the child’s birth. It is part of the overall care of the child or young person and runs in parallel with other active treatments for the underlying condition itself. Finally, it includes those aspects related to the care of the dying.

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Many children receive no discharge plan after admission for severe asthma

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Children admitted to hospital with severe asthma attacks generally receive “very effective and efficient” treatment and care, but more attention must be given to asthma education and review at discharge to help prevent future attacks and readmission, says a national audit by the British Thoracic Society.

The society’s National Paediatric Asthma Audit, published on 29 November, reviewed data on more than 5500 children over the age of 1 admitted with severe asthma attacks to 153 UK hospitals in November 2015 and found that most aspects of discharge from hospital were less than optimal.

Frozen tissue service offers fertility hope to young people with cancer

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Scientists at Edinburgh University have developed a service to store testicular tissue from boys as young as 1 who are at risk of infertility because of cancer treatment. In future boys as well as girls might be able to have their fertility restored subsequent to chemotherapy.

The announcement comes after the birth of the first UK baby to be born after his mother had a transplant of her own, previously frozen, ovary tissue.

Disabled children risk further abuse after unsubstantiated referral for neglect, research finds

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Children with disabilities who have an initial unsubstantiated referral for neglect are at increased risk of being maltreated subsequently, a research letter published in JAMA has warned.

Researchers analysed data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, which collects data on children reported to child protection services in the United States and Puerto Rico. A total of 12 610 children with disabilities and 476 566 without disabilities who had first time unsubstantiated referrals for neglect in 2008 were included in the study and followed up for four years.

Reducing sugary drink intake is linked to raised HDL cholesterol levels

Children who reduce their consumption of sugar sweetened drinks by just one serving a week see improvements in their high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found.

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The US study used data from a multiethnic sample of 613 children aged 8 to 15 who were enrolled in a randomised double blind vitamin D supplementation trial. They self reported their intake of sugar sweetened beverages and had their fasting blood lipid concentrations measured at baseline.

Two thirds of the children were from low socioeconomic status households, almost half were overweight or obese, and 59% were from non-white or Caucasian ethnic groups. The researchers followed 380 of the children for 12 months.

Smoking ban cuts admissions for child respiratory infections

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Banning smoking in public places has cut hospital admissions for childhood respiratory infections in England by 11 000 a year, new research has estimated.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that evidence has shown that smoke-free public environments will benefit children’s health but that the exact effect on respiratory tract infections is unclear.

UK death rates in children’s heart surgery have almost halved over past decade

More children survived for at least 30 days after heart surgery at the end of the past decade than at the start, an analysis has found. The death rate fell from 4.3% to 2.6% of cases.

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The findings have prompted the researchers to call for a shift away from scrutinising short term survival to looking at the longer term effects of heart surgery in children, such as measures of ill health and the effect on functional capacity.