#Article (Archive)

Paediatric Medication: Enough Pussyfooting Around.

Mar 31, 2009, 7:17 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Faal

A gift of 9.7 million dollars from the WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will speed up the availability of drugs for paediatric use.
Because, as things stand, therapeutic progress has been slow in the area of child medication: 50% of the products administered to children have in fact been designed and developed for adults!
It is a serious situation. Across the world, around 1,000 children under the age of 5 die every hour. And too often the drugs available (which, incidentally, are perfectly effective for adults) are not specifically formulated for such young patients. With the result that dosage errors are 3 times more common among children than among adults.
The gift from the Gates Foundation has three objectives: to
 determine the optimum galenic forms (small tablet, standard tablet,
 soluble tablet, powder form, etc); to draw up dosage guides for essential drugs already available for use with adults; and finally, to step up research into drugs for paediatric use.

The WHO will collaborate with UNICEF on this project. We have already made some progress, but too many drugs are still in use that have not been correctly tested for children, explained Dr Hans Hogerzeil, director of essential medicines and pharmaceutical policies at the WHO.

This venture is an excellent example of coordination between United Nations institutions and leading experts.

The problem addressed by these partners has already caught the attention of members of the European parliament who, in December 2006, adopted a regulation on paediatric medicines. This was 2 years ago, but since then no report on this action has yet been made available.

Chemical products a threat to fertility?
Exposure to PFCs (perfluoride compounds) could affect female fertility. PFCs are used in the packaging of foodstuffs, the manufacture of pesticides, textiles and other domestic items, so they form an integral part of our everyday life. Now, for the first time, a direct link has been established between the use of PFCs and hormonal disorders, which is disturbing to say the least.

For strong muscles . top up with vitamin D Vitamin D is always in the news and a new study now explores its role in muscular strength and resistance in adolescents. British researchers studied the vitamin status of  99 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14. Each was given a blood test to measure their vitamin D level and their muscle power was also assessed. The findings show that the participants whose vitamin D blood levels were lowest also produced the poorest muscle results.

Severe obesity - a 70% hereditary condition
The first genetic map of severe obesity has recently been drawn up by an international research team led by Frenchman Philippe Froguel of the CNRS (the French National Scientific Research Centre) and David Meyre of INSERM (the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research). Eventually, this decrypting should make it possible to identify children at risk of obesity at an early stage and, most importantly, to put in place individually tailored preventive medical strategies.
The researchers carried out full genome sweeps on 2,796 French volunteers:
1,380 of whom suffered from severe familial obesity while the other 1,416 formed a control group. The results are interesting. Five genes appear to play a major role in susceptibility to obesity.
This research reveals that studying familial forms of severe obesity is particularly useful in understanding the genetic causes of this condition, the researchers point out. And it is a cause that is estimated to apply in 70% of cases. However, it is important to remember that this does not in any way reduce the fundamental role of dietary behaviour in the regulation and evolution of human corpulence and in the incidence of severe obesity in children. To be clear, while the genetic aspect of obesity is now indisputable, the impact of an unbalanced diet and a sedentary lifestyle is, just as much so. In fact, numerous studies have shown that an obese child, or one who is overweight at the age of 13, has a 2 times higher risk than others of remaining obese when an adult. Which is why it is so important to keep our children's weight under control.