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The identification of indicators for severe HFMD is critical for early prevention and control of the disease. With this goal in mind, 185 severe and 345 mild HFMD cases were assessed. Patient demographics, clinical features, MRI findings, and laboratory test results were collected. Gradient boosting tree (GBT) was then used to determine the relative importance (RI) and interaction effects of the variables. Results indicated that elevated white blood cell (WBC) count > 15 × 109/L was the top predictor of severe HFMD, followed by spinal cord involvement, spinal nerve roots involvement, hyperglycemia, and brain or spinal meninges involvement. Interactions between elevated WBC count and hyperglycemia, between spinal cord involvement and duration of fever ≥3 days, and between brainstem involvement and body temperature were observed. Therefore, GBT is capable to identify the predictors for severe HFMD and their interaction effects, outperforming conventional regression methods.
By Bin Zhang,  et al,  July 14,  2017
Posted on August 16, 2017

An extra dose of vitamin B3 might help prevent certain kinds of complex birth defects, according to a new study. The vitamin can help compensate for defects in the body’s ability to make a molecule, called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which researchers have linked for the first time to healthy fetal development in humans. The find raises the possibility that boosting levels of B3 in pregnant women’s diets might help lower overall rates of birth defects.
The story started with a search for genes that can cause heart defects. Sally Dunwoodie, a developmental geneticist at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, and her colleagues study the genes that influence heart development, and ……
By Gretchen Vogel, August 9, 2017
Posted on August 10, 2017

Childhood obesity is associated with a number of metabolic abnormalities leading to increased cardiovascular risk. Metabolites can be useful as early biomarkers and new targets to promote early intervention beginning in school age. Thus, we aimed to identify metabolomic profiles associated with obesity and obesity-related metabolic traits. We used data from the Obesity Research Study for Mexican children (ORSMEC) in Mexico City and included a case control (n = 1120), cross-sectional (n = 554) and a longitudinal study (n = 301) of 6–12-year-old children. Forty-two metabolites were measured using electrospray MS/MS and multivariate regression models were used to test associations of metabolomic profiles with anthropometric, clinical and biochemical parameters. Principal component analysis showed a serum amino acid signature composed of arginine, leucine/isoleucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, valine and proline significantly associated with obesity (OR = 1.57; 95%CI 1.45–1.69, P = 3.84 × 10−31) and serum triglycerides (TG) (β = 0.067, P = 4.5 × 10−21). These associations were validated in the cross-sectional study (P < 0.0001). In the longitudinal cohort, the amino acid signature was associated with serum TG and with the risk of hypertriglyceridemia after 2 years (OR = 1.19; 95%CI 1.03-1.39, P = 0.016). This study shows that an amino acid signature significantly associated with childhood obesity, is an independent risk factor of future hypertriglyceridemia in children.
Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 5607 (2017)
 Posted on August 10, 2017

“Vegetables are the food category least liked by children.” Australian scientists compared vegetables to fruit, dairy, meat/fish and grains, which are representative of the diet of Australian children. Their research shows that “vegetables, relative to other food groups, have sensory properties that are known to predispose to low acceptance based on innate likes and dislikes or preferences acquired within the first few months of life.” It was suggested that “to increase children’s acceptance and intake for vegetables, either vegetable sensory properties can be modified, or children’s acceptance for vegetables can be modified through sensory learning strategies.”
Poelman AAM, Delahunty CM, de Graaf C. Vegetables and other core food groups: A comparison of key flavour and texture properties. Food Qual Prefer 2017; 56: 1-7.
Posted on January 6, 2017