Thursday July 18, 2019

Drug that Helps Regulate Bone Development to Boost Growth Rates of Children with Dwarfism on Global Trial

The drug, vosoritide, was generally well tolerated by patients

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BP drug, bowel
BP drug may up risk of bowel condition. Pixabay

 A drug that helps regulate bone development has been found to boost growth rates in children with achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism, in a global trial.

The patients’ average boost in height to about 6 cm (2.4 inches) per year was close to growth rates among children of average stature, and the side effects of the drug were mostly mild, said study co-author Julie Hoover, Associate Professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University.

“Right now, the results of the study show an impact on growth, and this effect is sustained, at least over nearly four years in this trial,” Hoover said.

Results of the phase-2 trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the drug, vosoritide, was generally well tolerated by patients.

Drug, Children, Dwarfism
A drug that helps regulate bone development has been found to boost growth rates in children. Pixabay

On average, participants in the trial grew at a 50 per cent faster compared to baseline with no adverse effects on body proportion, the results showed.

Achondroplasia is caused by over-activity of a signal that stops growth, and could be likened to overwatering a plant, said lead author Ravi Savarirayan, Professor at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.

“This drug basically kinks the hose so that the plant gets the right amount of water and can resume regular growth,” Savarirayan said.

Achondroplasia is a genetic bone disorder affecting about one in every 25,000 infants.

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It is caused by a mutation in the FGFR3 gene that impairs the growth of bones in the limbs, the spine, and base of the skull.

The most common health complications experienced by children with achondroplasia are spinal cord compression, spinal curvature and bowed legs. About half of these children will need spinal or other surgery.

Unlike other treatments – such as growth hormone and limb-lengthening surgery – that focus on symptoms, vosoritide focuses on the underlying cause of achondroplasia and directly counteracts the effect of the mutation that slows growth.

Drug, Children, Dwarfism
The patients’ average boost in height to about 6 cm (2.4 inches) per year was close to growth rates among children of average stature. Pixabay

The study ran over four years across research centres in Australia, France, Britain and the US with 35 children assigned to one of four groups receiving daily subcutaneous doses of the drug in increasing amounts.

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The results showed vosoritide demonstrated dose-dependent increases in centimetres grown per year during the first six months, with improvements maintained over the study extension period of a further three years. (IANS)

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Researchers: Video Games can Help Children Evaluate, Express and Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides

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Video games, Children, Emotions
Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can't be solely understood by games. PIxabay

While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate, express and manage emotions when used as part of an emotional intelligence training programme.

“Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can’t be solely understood by games. Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides,” Manish Jain, Consultant at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

According to the study published in the Games for Health Journal, researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy developed an emotional intelligence training programme that integrated video games as experience-based learning tools.

The researchers created EmotivaMente, a video game, to enhance emotional intelligence among adolescents, perhaps the group that could benefit the most. They analysed 121 adolescents who participated in eight sessions.

Video games, Children, Emotions
While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate. Pixabay

“Games for health have been designed to address an increasing variety of issues. A relatively new health issue is emotional intelligence, which has implications for various health problems, including coping with stress,” said Tom Baranowski, Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

The preliminary evaluation indicated that video games enhanced the students’ evaluation and expression of emotions.

But some experts believe outdoor activities should be given more importance to develop emotional intelligence, which includes awareness of emotions, managing emotions effectively and maintaining relationships, in children.

“In the modern day where interaction is increasingly becoming online and more time is spent indoors, the right way to build emotional intelligence is people-to-people interactions and connecting, spending quality time with peers and family, learning through experiences and feedback,” Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Delhi, told IANS.

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“Video games are not the most prudent way to enhance emotional skills. Young people should have a well-balanced life with adequate outdoor activities and investment of time and energy in building relationships by working on communication and person-to-person connect,” Parikh said.

Sagar Lavania, Head of Department, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Nayati Medicity, Mathura, believes “human and one-on-one interactions are ideal ways to increase emotional intelligence, especially among adolescents, and can never be substituted by alternative methods”.

“However, if newer techniques are coming up, it needs to be thoroughly researched and supervised, keeping in mind the vulnerability of teenagers,” he remarked. (IANS)