UC Davis study finds mercury levels in children with autism and those developing typically are the same

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — In a large population-based study published online today, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute report that after adjusting for a number of factors, typically developing children and children with autism have similar levels of mercury in their blood streams. Mercury is a heavy metal found in other studies to adversely affect the developing nervous system.

Antidepressant and Placebo Are Equally Effective in Child Pain Relief

Bethesda, MD — When used “off-label,” the antidepressant amitriptyline works just as well as placebo in treating pain-predominant gastrointestinal disorders in children, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute. To view this article’s video abstract, go to the AGA’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/AmerGastroAssn.

New Recommendations Issued for Children with Chronic Hepatitis B Infections

Pediatric liver specialist Kathleen B. Schwarz, M.D., and experts from other children’s hospitals are calling for more consistent monitoring and referral of children chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The new recommendations — published online October 5, 2009, in Pediatrics— resulted from a meeting of nationally recognized pediatric liver specialists held November 11, 2008, at the Hepatitis B Foundation’s headquarters in Bucks County, PA.

Depression and anxiety affect up to 15 percent of preschoolers

Almost 15 percent of preschoolers have atypically high levels of depression and anxiety, according to a new study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The five-year investigation also found that children with atypically high depression and anxiety levels are more likely to have mothers with a history of depression.