American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, Oct. 27-30, 2007

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition took place Oct. 27-30 in San Francisco, Calif., and attracted a record 11,100 attendees -- including about 6,500 pediatricians -- from around the world. Topics included early intervention for at-risk children, preschool screenings for autism and dental disease, and promising research into areas such as probiotics and tissue regeneration.

"One of the most important themes was addressing the needs of disadvantaged children," said D. Michael Foulds, M.D., of San Antonio, Texas, who chairs the NCE Planning Group. AAP President Jay E. Berkelhamer, M.D., set the tone for the conference with a presidential address calling for improved care of children and cited a recent UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre report, which ranked the United States 20th among industrialized nations in measures of children's well-being.

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Keynote speaker James J. Heckman, an economist at the University of Chicago and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, presented data showing that remediation efforts in later childhood to improve health and social outcomes are 40 percent to 50 percent more expensive than early childhood interventions. "If you look at issues such as long-term prison costs, a dollar spent on early childhood intervention saves society eight bucks," said William Keenan, M.D., of St. Louis, a member of the CME Planning Group. "That's really big. There isn't another economic indicator that's as powerful as early childhood intervention."

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James Crall, D.D.S., of the University of California Los Angeles, presented a lecture entitled "Pediatricians and Children's Oral Health." Foulds said, "Because there are few pediatric dentists nationwide, it's important for pediatricians to perform regular dental exams. We had workshops to teach pediatricians about early childhood caries, the value and role of fluoride, applying fluoride varnish, and recognizing some of the common oral pathologies that occur in the first few years of life."

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Research presented at the conference included a study showing that blood levels of lead below the commonly accepted hazard threshold of 10 micrograms per deciliter are associated with poor school performance. "With all the news stories about lead-tainted toys being imported from China, it's a topical subject," Keenan said. "Although the study did not specifically reference lead-painted toys, we now know that toys are another potential source of lead exposure."

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AAP: New Ventricular Fibrillation Strategies Needed

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Although ventricular fibrillation is rare in children and infants, better strategies must be developed to treat it, including the use of automated external defibrillators, according to a policy statement presented this week at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference and published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

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AAP: Pediatricians Must Recognize Climate Change

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Because global climate change is likely to adversely affect children's health, pediatricians should incorporate that knowledge into their professional practices through patient education, personal example and political advocacy, according to a policy statement presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference this week and published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

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AAP: Updated Guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorders

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Updated guidelines will improve pediatricians' ability to recognize, diagnose and manage autism spectrum disorders, according to two clinical reports by the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities, presented this week at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference. These reports will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics and will replace the original American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement and technical report published in 2001.

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