Jul 9 2012

Public Health News Roundup: July 9

Johns Hopkins Researchers find Hospitalized Kids Often Under-treated for Pain

A survey and medical chart review by researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center finds that many hospitalized kids experience serious pain. The researchers looked at information on 199 patients, aged 7 days to 21 years, treated at Johns Hopkins between 2007 and 2008, and found that 86 percent of the children experienced pain. Forty percent of the children surveyed experienced moderate or severe pain. The researchers say the findings are important because earlier studies show that intense pain during infancy and childhood can create an exaggerated response to pain and make people more sensitive to pain for life. Research also shows that untreated or under-treated pain can exacerbate injury, delay healing, make people more prone to infection and, in rare cases, increase the risk of death.

The researchers offered some recommendations to help medical professionals help deal with hospitalized children’s pain:

  • Take the time to talk to patients and involving parents in the assessment and treatment of a child including asking about a child’s behavior and idiosyncrasies.
  • Factor in gender, age and individual patient differences when assessing pain treatment.
  • Girls reported higher pain scores than boys, even in same-age patients who underwent the same procedures, which may mean that hormonal and cultural differences play a role in pain.

Read more on pediatrics.

Pfizer to Drop Some Health Claims from Vitamins

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare will remove claims related to improving breast and colon health on advertising and labeling for certain Centrum brand multivitamin supplements, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which had sued Pfizer to remove the claims. Labels for Centrum Ultra Women's and Centrum Silver Women's multivitamin supplements had posted wording that the products supported "breast health" and labels for Centrum Ultra Men's and Centrum Silver Ultra Men's included language that the products supported "colon health." CSPI says it brought the suit out of concern that the claims of breast and colon health implied that the supplements would prevent breast and colon cancer. Centrum had based the claims in part on vitamin D in the vitamins; CSPI’s suit says there is limited and inconsistent evidence on vitamin D’s relationship to breast cancer, and inconclusive evidence on vitamin D's relationship to colon cancer.

In addition, on labels and advertising for Centrum products that bear a claim for "heart health," Pfizer Consumer Healthcare will add clarifying language that the products are "not a replacement for cholesterol-lowering drugs." On labels and advertising for Centrum products that bear an energy claim, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare will add language clarifying that the products do not directly provide an energy boost, but do help support metabolic function. The changes will be made on Pfizer websites and advertising within 30 days; changes on packaging will be on store shelves within six months.

Tags: News roundups, Nutrition, Pediatrics