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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of prenatal exposure to lead, cadmium and mercury levels on the secondary sex ratio. Whole blood samples were collected from pregnant women enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) study at a median gestational age of 11 weeks and were analysed for lead, cadmium and mercury. Regression analysis was used to identify associations between maternal lead, cadmium and mercury levels and the secondary sex ratio with adjustment for confounders. There was no evidence for associations between maternal lead, cadmium or mercury levels and the secondary sex ratio in this sample. It appears unlikely that alterations in the secondary sex ratio are influenced by exposure to heavy metals, but further work should be done in large cohorts in other countries to confirm these findings.
    Reproductive Toxicology 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing concern about lack of compassion in nursing. Impact of Injuries, which is the parent study (Kendrick et al, 2011) of this independent nested study, collected patient accounts of care received by physiotherapists and nurses. While physiotherapists were generally described as caring, nursing care was less consistent and sometimes uncaring. This embedded study conducted semi-structured interviews in 2012 with 11 physiotherapists and 12 nurses in four English hospitals to obtain perspectives on the provision of care. Physiotherapists presented a distinct identity with caring both integral to the role and sustained by structural and organisational factors. Nurses had a diffuse identity with limited control within a medical and business model of care. They appeared 'under siege' and were nostalgic for caring, which was frequently subordinate to other demands. Both nurses and physiotherapists faced challenges but nurses felt the context of their work was not conducive to caring. This article draws comparisons between these professions and makes informed recommendations to improve nursing practice and patient care.
    British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing) 10/2013; 22(19):1118-24.
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    ABSTRACT: Very high levels of prenatal maternal mercury have adverse effects on the developing fetal brain. It has been suggested that all possible sources of mercury should be avoided. However, although seafood is a known source of mercury, little is known about other dietary components that contribute to the overall levels of blood mercury. To quantify the contribution of components of maternal diet to prenatal blood mercury level. Whole blood samples and information on diet and socio-demographic factors were collected from pregnant women (n=4484) enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The blood samples were assayed for total mercury (Hg) using ICP-DRC-MS. Linear regression was used to estimate the relative contributions of 103 dietary variables and six socio-demographic characteristics to whole blood total mercury levels (TBM, untransformed and log-transformed) based on R(2) values. We estimated that maternal diet accounted for 19.8% of the total variation in ln-TBM, with 44% of diet-associated variability (8.75% of the total variation) associated with seafood consumption (white fish, oily fish, and shellfish). Other dietary components positively associated with TBM included wine and herbal teas, while components with significant negative associations included white bread, meat pies or pasties, and French fries. Although seafood is a source of dietary mercury, seafood appeared to explain a relatively small proportion of the variation in TBM in our UK study population. Our findings require confirmation but suggest that limiting seafood intake during pregnancy may have a limited impact on prenatal blood mercury levels.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: AIMS: The aim of the current study was to gain an understanding of the experiences and aspirations of young people living with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) in their own words. METHODS: Eleven young people aged 11-16 years with a prior diagnosis of DCD were identified from child health records of two participating NHS trusts. The sample included seven boys and four girls, from different socio-economic backgrounds living in different parts of one large urban area in England. In depth one-to-one semi-structured interviews and subsequent follow-up small group interviews were carried out with the young people. Interviews were enhanced using participatory arts-based techniques. All interviews were recorded verbatim and transcribed. Narrative data were analysed using Lindseth's interpretive phenomenology. RESULTS: The central theme of 'We're all different' described how the young person saw themselves and encompassed the formation of identity. Subthemes illustrated the attitude of the young people to their day to day lives, their difficulties and strategies used by the young people to overcome these difficulties in school and at home. The attitude of the school to difference, the presence of bullying, the accepting nature of the class, teachers and peers were vitally important. Areas of life that encouraged a positive sense of identity and worth included being part of a social network that gave the young people a sense of belonging, potentially one that valued differences as well as similarities. CONCLUSION: The current work highlights the need for services to adopt a model of DCD where the young person talks about what they can do and considers strategies of overcoming their difficulties. This has implications for education and future intervention strategies that focus on fostering psychological resilience and educational coping strategies rather than simply attempting to improve motor skills.
    Child Care Health and Development 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) is relatively common and disabling. Current guidance recommends referral to specialist services, although some general practitioners believe the label of CFS/ME is harmful and many are not confident about diagnosing CFS/ME. Aim Explore whether or not adolescents and their mothers value referral to a specialist service for young people with CFS/ME. METHODS: A qualitative study nested within a feasibility study of interventions for CFS/ME [Specialist Medical Intervention and Lightning Evaluation (SMILE)]. In-depth interviews were undertaken with 13 mothers and 12 adolescents participating in the SMILE study. Transcripts were systematically assigned codes using the qualitative data organisation package NVivo and analysed thematically using techniques of constant comparison. RESULTS: Gaining access to the specialist service was difficult and took a long time. Mothers felt that they needed to be proactive and persistent, partly because of a lack of knowledge in primary and secondary care. Having gained access, mothers felt the CFS/ME service was useful because it recognised and acknowledged their child's condition and opened channels of dialogue between health-care professionals and education providers. Adolescents reported that specialist medical care resulted in better symptom management, although some adolescents did not like the fact that the treatment approach limited activity. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents and their mothers value receiving a diagnosis from a specialist service and making progress in managing CFS/ME. General practitioners should support adolescents with CFS/ME in accessing CFS/ME specialist services, consistent with current guidance.
    Primary Health Care Research & Development 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Concern has recently been expressed about Pb levels in Pb-shot game meat. Our aim was to determine the consumption of game birds in a representative sample population in the UK, and in children and women of childbearing age in particular. DESIGN: Population-based cross-sectional cohort study. Data from 4 d diet diaries from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS; 2008-2010) were extracted to analyse data on game bird consumption in the sample population, in women of childbearing age (15-45 years old) and in children ≤6 years old. SETTING: Home-based study in representative areas of the UK. SUBJECTS: Participants in the NDNS (2008-2010; n 2126, age 1·5 to >65 years). RESULTS: Fifty-eight participants (2·7 %) reported eating game birds. The mean intake was 19·5 (sd 18·1) g/d (median 15·6, range 1·3-92·9 g/d). In women of childbearing age (15-45 years), 11/383 (2·9 %) reported eating game birds, with a mean intake of 22·4 (sd 25·8) g/d (median 15·6, range 2·0-92·9 g/d). In children aged ≤6 years old, 3/342 (0·9 %) were reported as eating game birds, with a mean intake of 6·8 (sd 9·7) g/d (median 2·4, range 1·3-23·2 g/d). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of consumption of game birds by women of childbearing age and children ≤6 years old was relatively low and intakes were small. However, any exposure to Pb in these two groups is undesirable. As are uncertainties about the ability of the diet diary method to capture the consumption of food items that are infrequently consumed, alternative methods of capturing these data should be used in future studies.
    Public Health Nutrition 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate whether infants with weight faltering have impaired psychosocial and educational outcomes in later childhood. Follow-up of infants with weight faltering in a large UK cohort study. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). 11 534 term infants from ALSPAC with complete weight records. Weight gain (conditional on initial weight) was calculated for three periods: from birth to 8 weeks, 8 weeks to 9 months, and birth to 9 months. Cases of weight faltering were defined as those infants with a conditional weight gain below the 5th centile, and these were compared with the rest of the cohort as the control group. Between 6 and 11 years, social, emotional and behavioural development was measured by direct assessment of the children and parental and teacher report. Educational outcomes included Standardised Assessment Test results at 7 and 11 years and Special Educational Needs status at age 11. Differences seen on univariate analysis in attention, non-verbal accuracy, educational attainment and special educational needs became non-significant after adjustment for confounding. Children with weight faltering in infancy did not differ from controls on any measures of self-esteem, peer relationships, experience of bullying, social cognition, antisocial activities, anxiety, depression or behavioural problems. Weight faltering in early infancy was associated with poorer educational outcomes in later childhood, but these associations were explained by confounding. The subsequent psychosocial development of infants with slow weight gain was not different from that of their peers.
    BMJ Open 01/2013; 3(7).
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    ABSTRACT: Lead is a widespread environmental toxin. The behaviour and academic performance of children can be adversely affected even at low blood lead levels (BLL) of 5-10 µg/dl. An important contribution to the infant's lead load is provided by maternal transfer during pregnancy. Our aim was to determine BLL in a large cohort of pregnant women in the UK and to identify the factors that contribute to BLL in pregnant women. Pregnant women resident in the Avon area of the UK were enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in 1991-1992. Whole blood samples were collected at median gestational age of 11 weeks and analysed by inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction cell mass spectrometry (n = 4285). Self-completion postal questionnaires were used to collect data during pregnancy on lifestyle, diet and other environmental exposures. Statistical analysis was carried out with SPSS v19. The mean±SD BLL was 3.67±1.47 (median 3.41, range 0.41-19.14) µg/dl. Higher educational qualification was found to be one of the strongest independent predictor of BLL in an adjusted backwards stepwise logistic regression to predict maternal BLL <5 or ≥5 µg/dl (odds ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.12-1.42; p<0.001). Other predictive factors included cigarette smoking, alcohol and coffee drinking, and heating the home with a coal fire, with some evidence for iron and calcium intake having protective effects. The mean BLL in this group of pregnant women is higher than has been found in similar populations in developed countries. The finding that high education attainment was independently associated with higher BLL was unexpected and currently unexplained. Reduction in maternal lead levels can best be undertaken by reducing intake of the social drugs cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine, although further investigation of the effect of calcium on lead levels is needed.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e72371.
  • Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 10/2012; 48(10):947.
  • Archives of Disease in Childhood 09/2012; 97(11):1007-8.
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