Highlights in this issue


Folic acid

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Fortification with folic acid has been demonstrated to be one of the most successful preventive medical programs resulting in a decrease between 25% and 45% of neural tube defects. It is mandatory in the American continent, Australia and many countries in Africa and the Middle East. However, most countries in Europe are exceptions. The reason is that there are some indications of an increased cancer risk. Neither the global World Cancer Research review nor EU’s European Food Safety Authority report presented data on increased cancer risk at physiological folate intake levels. Therefore, EU should act to implement folic acid fortification as NTD prophylaxis as soon as possible. See review by Margaretha Jägerstad (pp. 1007–1012).

Too many MRI investigations

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Scanning the brain, particularly with preterm infants, by ultrasound, NIRS, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic encephalography has become increasingly popular among neonatologists. It is certainly extremely important for scientific studies, but what about the benefit for the parents? In this issue, a couple with an extremely preterm infant was informed that the infant was severely brain damaged after an MRI. The child is now two and half years old and speaks both French and English, and has shown no signs of brain damage. The parents Rebecca Pearce and Jason Bardsnes report in this issue about their worries after being informed about the negative effects of the MRI scan (pp. 1013–1015). The different view is commented by Drs. Annie Janvier and Keith Barrington (pp. 1016–1017).

Negative results in impact factor

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We are nowadays obsessed by the impact factor. Articles published in high impact factor journals are believed to be truer than those published in journals with lower impact factor. Actually, it may be the other way around because the high impact journals like to publish new exciting results that will be broadcasted by CNN or BBC. Ronella Marrom et al. hypothesize that negative results in neonatology are less likely to be accepted in high impact journals. However, they were not able to confirm this hypothesis. Negative results are published in journals with similar impact factors as those with positive results, which is reassuring (pp. 1095–1097).

Food allergy and asthma

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Food allergy in adolescents is strongly associated with severe asthma. Yael Graif et al. compared Jewish and Arab adolescents in Israel and found that the Arab adolescents were more allergic to peanut, egg and sesame and less to milk compared with the Jewish adolescents. This may be due to Jewish infants being more exposed to peanuts while the Arab infants receive cow milk earlier. The authors point out that asthmatic teenagers with food allergy are at the greatest risk of food anaphylaxis (pp. 1083–1088).

Parents do not always understand medical information

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Hélène Chappuy et al. undertook a multicenter prospective study in 13 French-speaking paediatric emergency departments. They evaluated whether the parents understood four crucial points of information: the reasons for their child’s hospitalization, the diagnosis, the prognosis and treatment. They found that only 19% of the parents understood all the information provided by the doctor at the time of admission. The authors suggest that a nurse should re-explain the medical information and ensure that the child’s pain is dealt with before communicating information (pp. 1089–1094).