Children and Medicine

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The Mumps Bibliography February 9, 2011

Filed under: Resources — kfgoolsby @ 7:19 pm

Taylor, Brent. “Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a casual association.” The Lancet 353.9169 (1999): 2026-2029. Web.

This is a scholarly article from The Lancet medical journal.  It was written in response to Andrew Wakefield’s study published in the same journal that stated the MMR vaccine could cause autism.  This article claims that there is no link between the vaccine and autism.  It is a full case report including write-ups on patients and methods, results, and discussion.  The use of scientific graphs and charts breaks down further the results of the experiments.

The Lancet is obviously a world renowned medical journal.  However, it is still hard to accept some of their publishings because of the issue with Wakefield’s fraudulent study.  While the science is sound and helpful to those interested, it is easy tell that this study is done solely to refute the first, almost as a cover-up for publishing a questionable report the first time.  Still, by all accounts Wakefield’s actions reflected solely on him and not the journal, so one can consider this a worthy site for scholarly articles on medicine.

“Mumps.”  New York State Department of Health. October 2010. <>

“Mumps Information.” James Madison Univeristy. October 2006. <>


The Mumps

Filed under: Kathleen — kfgoolsby @ 7:18 pm

This is our last foray into the wondrous world of childhood diseases.  I hope you have learned something along the way to retroactively understand what was going on with your health back in the day.  Let’s finish our tour with the mumps.

The mumps is a viral disease that is most infamous for affecting the glands.  The New York State Department of Health lists the symptoms of mumps as fever, muscle weakness, and swelling in the salivary glands, especially those, “situated along the angle of the jaw and inside the mouth, including the parotid gland located within the cheeks just below the front of the ear” (“Mumps” par, 1).  There is a sixteen to eighteen day incubation period after one contracts the virus for the first symptoms to show up.  The disease is transmitted by direct contact with saliva or other bodily fluids of an affected person.  Like chickenpox, once one has had the disease they are generally immune to it for the rest of their lives.  There is no serious threat of further complications from contracting the mumps, but rare cases of inflammation in the brain, spine, and reproductive organs have been seen.


The vaccine for mumps was created in 1967.  The vaccine has had a great impact, lowering the number of annual cases from as many as 200,000 to 300 annually (“Mumps” par, 2).  Still, there has been an increase recently in the number of mumps outbreaks.  As reported by James Madison University, there were outbreaks in Iowa and Oklahoma in 2005 as well as outbreaks across Virginia’s college campuses (“Mumps Information” 1).  The mumps vaccine is combined with the measles and rubella virus, as discussed in the measles post.  Also discussed in that post was Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 study that said the vaccine was linked to the onset of autism.  In another study published in 1999 by the same journal responsible for Wakefield’s study, the Lancet, it was found that there was no connection between the vaccine and autism.  The study claimed, “Our results do not support the hypothesis that MMR vaccination is causally related to autism, either its initiation or to the onset of regression-the main symptom mentioned in the paper by Wakefield and others” (Taylor 2029).

This all goes back to a topic that has come up often in my research of childhood diseases.  The idea of vaccination is a controversial one, with many people questioning their safety.  I understand religious opposition to vaccines as they view them sacrilegiously.  I also understand parents’ fears when they have heard often of complications from vaccination.  Still, any serious medical doctor will tell you that vaccinating is very, very important.  Natural versions of diseases can me much more harmful than the specially created versions in vaccines.  They are also important in making sure no large-scale epidemics break out that could cause much more harm to a greater number of people than would a rare number of isolated complications.  If you are a parent reading this blog, please take mine and the medical society’s advice and take your child to the doctor to get their shots.  In the long run it will be better for everyone!


Head Lice Bibliography

Filed under: Resources,Uncategorized — kfgoolsby @ 5:05 am

“Head Lice.” Directors of Health Promotion and Education. Web. 8 February 2011.

“10 Downing Street bugged?” The Times of India 5 February 2011. Web.

Downs, A.M.R. “Evidence for double resistance to permethrin and malathion in head lice.” British Journal of Dermatology 114.3 (1999): 508-511. Web.

This is an article from a scholarly journal on the phenomenon of head lice becoming resistant to current medicines.  A case study was performed in the UK where the head lice from students in Bath and Bristol were tested for their response to specifically permethrin and malathion.  In these cases the lice was resistant to both medicines.  As quoted in the summary, “This is the first report of doubly resistant head lice.

This source is very refutable because of its appearance in a renowned medical journal.  While very informative, the language is very scientific and hard to understand if one is looking for a quick answer on this subject. Still, this is a full lab report that details every step of the process from subjects and methods to results and discussion.  There are graphics to also help one understand the case findings and a list of many references.


Head Lice

Filed under: Kathleen — kfgoolsby @ 4:56 am

Today’s topic is head lice.  While not exactly a viral disease, head lice is a nasty ailment that is very common during the elementary school years.  According to the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, six to twelve million people have to deal with head lice each year (“Head Lice” par, 10).

The scientific name of head lice is Pediculus humanus capitis. The lice themselves are bugs that go through three stages of growth: nits, nymphs, and adults. The nits are lice eggs that take one week to hatch.  They have an oval shape with yellow-white coloring and are often mistaken for dandruff.  Nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft.  It is easy to realize these are not dandruff when you cannot brush them out. The nymph is an immature adult louse (common name for a wingless insect).  It takes seven days for a nymph to become an adult.  Adults are about the size of sesame seeds with six legs and a tan-grey color.  Adult lice can live on the scalp for thirty days (“Head Lice” par, 2).

Lice need blood to survive.  They do not jump or fly, but are spread by direct contact to infected individuals.  Due to the social nature of girls and their longer hair length, they and women are more likely to get head lice than boys or men (“Head Lice” par, 7).

Treatment of head lice involves topical medicine that is applied directly to the hair to kill the bugs.  There are also lice-killing shampoos if topical medicine is not necessary.  Lice can live in clothes so to rid the house of bugs one must wash all clothes worn by the infected person and vacuum carpets and cloth furniture.  It is also a good idea to soak brushes and combs in alcohol to kill any remaining insects (“Head Lice” par, 9).

Recent studies have been done to determine if head lice are becoming resistant to current treatments.   A study done in the British Journal of Dermatology found that, “The high survival rate of head lice on treated individuals suggests resistance to the local treatments used (permethrin in Bristol and malathion in Bath)” (Downs 509).  This is a more and more important question about what the next step in lice treatment should be as natural resistance to certain pesticides is becoming common.

Many health websites stress the fact that contracting lice is no reflection on socioeconomic status or personal hygiene.  To prove that point it is good to note that recently the British Prime Minister’s children came home with the pesky affliction, as reported by The Times of India (“10 Downing Street bugged?”  par, 1).  It is just as easy for the private school children of very important world politician to get head lice as it is for a poorer public school child.  All kids hug and play and share things that can pass the ailment around.   Are you itching yet? I know I am!

(He may be giving a thumbs-up now but I’m sure he wasn’t too please when his kids came home with lice


Chickenpox Bibliography

Filed under: Resources — kfgoolsby @ 4:43 am

“Chickenpox: The disease, the vaccine and the parties.” Parents PACK. December 2010. Web.

This is an article from an issue of Parents PACK, a newsletter published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  It discusses the occurrence of chickenpox parties, where parents willingly expose their children to the virus.  The thought process behind this action is to give a child the disease early in their life when they can most easily fight it and then become immune to it.  The article discusses some dangers with this practice, such as going to complete strangers houses to have these “parties.”  An article from the New York Post is also quoted to further discuss the new trend.  The article also gives basic facts about the disease and its vaccine.

This source is refutable because of its association with an accredited hospital. Not only is it a good source for this topic but their are many more topics about children and medicine in the Parents PACK archives.  Most of the articles are written without bias because their sole purpose is to  help parents any way they can in raising their children.  The site is very informative and easy to navigate.

Healthwise Staff. “Chickenpox (Varicella).” Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Healthwise, Incorporated, 26 May 2010. Web. 7 February 2011.

Kriss M.D., Nathan. “Chickenpox Pneumonia: A Case Report.” Radiology 66.5 (1956): 727-729. Web.

Friedman, Emily. “Doctors Wary of Dangerous Pox Parties.” ABC News/ Health. ABC News Internet Ventures, 2 February 2009. Web. 13 February 2011.



Filed under: Kathleen — kfgoolsby @ 4:24 am

It’s that time: today, we are learning about the chickenpox.  There may not be a more annoying childhood disease than this one.  I am sure you all remember those awful itchy red spots.  Here is a more scientific look into what caused some of the most unpleasant days of your youth.

Chickenpox comes from the virus varicella-zoster.  As said above, it causes itchy red spots that stick around for about five to seven days.  According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, each pox goes through a cycle (uneasy stomachs beware) of, “blistering, bursting, drying, and crusting over” over the course of one to two days (Palo Alto par, 9).  This rash usually develops about one to two days after the first symptoms of fever and headache occur.  There are no cures for chickenpox but oatmeal baths can help ease the itching.

(Unhappy chickenpox sufferer in an oatmeal bath

Chickenpox is generally not very dangerous- the virus must simply run its course.  After contracting chickenpox once you will not see a rash again, but the virus can stay in your system, however, and cause shingles as an adult.  As with all diseases there is still some risk of more serious complications. Varicella is sometimes known to cause pneumonia.  A report done by Nathan Kriss in the Department of Roentgenology at the University of Virginia states that, “The incidence of varicella virus pneumonia is given as 1 to 8 per 1,000 cases of chickenpox” (par, 1).  Also, chickenpox is sometimes dangerous if a woman gets the virus during early pregnancy, which can cause birth defects (Palo Alto par, 15).

There is a strange phenomenon going on in regards to this contagious disease. The virus is passed from person to person by sharing drinks or food and breathing affected air.  Some parents think it is a good idea to purposefully give their children the disease as to make them immune for the rest of their lives, and therefore host parties to pass the virus around.  In an article from Parents PACK, a newsletter of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Kate Tovignick’s article from the New York Post entitled “Inside New York Chicken Pox Parties,” is paraphrased as follows: “Parents interviewed for the story described encouraging their children to share lollipops, cups and clothing” in attempts to get everyone in attendance infected (“Chickenpox” par, 6).  It is undetermined whether this is a sound medical practice or not.  One could say it is not a harmful idea, as it does make children naturally immune to the disease, but it also puts parents in the position of willingly making their children sick. With the invention of the vaccine in 1995 it is hard to reason why any parent would still continue on this course.  After reading up on this phenomenon I have come to the conclusion that “pox parties” are not a good idea.  The logic that truly sways me is a quote from Dr. Paul Offit of the department of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he says, “The thinking many parents have is that the natural infection is more likely to induce higher levels of antibodies and longer-lasting immunity than vaccines.  That’s generally true but the problem is if you make that choice you are also taking the risk of a natural infection, which can mean hospitalization and sometimes death” (Friedman 2).  The vaccine is a much lower dose of the virus and therefore not as harmful as contracting the natural version.

Video from CBS about chickenpox parties


Polio Vaccine Controversy in Nigeria February 6, 2011

Filed under: Kathleen — kfgoolsby @ 5:48 pm

The issue over vaccines is a very controversial one.  Generally, vaccines are a small dose of the actual virus that one is given to make them immune to the disease in the future.  This idea of purposefully giving someone a disease causes some people to distrust the worth of vaccination.  As discussed in the measles post, vaccines are not always considered safe by everyone that has the opportunity to receive them.  This is currently being seen in Nigeria as religious, political, and scientific factors have caused polio vaccination campaigns to stop completely.

Polio is a crippling disease that has been around since Ancient Egypt (Akande 176).  It’s symptoms include fever, nausea, and painful muscle spasms, and its effects, according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, range from, “inflammation of the meninges (the membrane of the brain and spinal cord) to … paralysis and possible death” (DPPHS par, 1).  Polio has seen major outbreaks all over the world, but due to work by global health organizations has generally been removed from the globe in the past decade, except in Nigeria.

Nigeria has experienced serious issues with the polio virus. As the developed world watches polio disappear from its countries, in 2003 Nigeria saw 45% of the world’s polio cases, the highest of any country (Akande 177).  Efforts for vaccination in this area were going well until opposition struck. As stated by Akande in the scholarly journal entitled “Polio Eradication in Nigeria”:

Unfolded rumours about alleged adverse health effects, vaccine safety, contamination, overdose as well as promotion of anti OPV [oral polio vaccine] sentiments by political and religious opinion leaders motivated by political sentiments have led to rejections and or decline in service demand and acceptance [of the vaccine]. (178)

Some specific points made by those opposing the vaccine question why the focus is on a disease that is only killing a few while measles rages on elsewhere killing millions.  Many also cite the rumor that the polio vaccine is linked to the disease HIV as reason for halting vaccination campaigns (Akande 179).  Religious opposition to vaccination, presumably due to religion’s battle with science in general, has also led to outbreaks in the US and Canada in the time since the disease was officially considered defeated in the west (DPHHS par, 2).

“Polio Eradication in Nigeria” gives many options for ways to move forward past this opposition to get vaccination campaigns back on track.  Overall, the best course of action as described in the journal is to get media outlets to back the campaigns and start major vaccine information distribution programs.  The government also needs to help by creating an office specifically to head vaccination efforts and local doctors need to come out and publicly praise the vaccine’s legitimacy (Akande 179).  It will be a long road back to public acceptance in Nigeria because once someone’s mind is set it is hard to change it back.  But change is absolutely necessary for the safety of the citizens of this country and the world as a whole.

While I understand religious opposition to science and fear of vaccine safety, I do believe Nigeria and the global health community as a whole should do whatever it can to eradicate polio from everywhere in the world.  It’s a matter of collective goods.  If something is good for society as a whole sometimes you must sacrifice a little self-comfort for the greater good.

(Child receiving OPV in Nigeria