Sex differences in morbidity and care-seeking during the neonatal period in rural southern Nepal.
ABSTRACT: South Asian studies, including those from Nepal, have documented increased risk of neonatal mortality among girls, despite their early biologic survival advantage. We examined sex differences in neonatal morbidity and care-seeking behavior to determine whether such differences could help explain previously observed excess late neonatal mortality among girls in Nepal.A secondary analysis of data from a trial of chlorhexidine use among neonates in rural Nepal was conducted. The objective was to examine sex differences in neonatal morbidity and care-seeking behavior for ill newborns. Girls were used as the reference group.Referral for care was higher during the early neonatal period (ENP: 0-7 days old) (50.7%) than the late neonatal period (LNP: 8-28 days old) (31.3%), but was comparable by sex. There were some significant differences in reasons for referral by sex. Boys were significantly more often referred for convulsions/stiffness, having yellow body/eyes, severe skin infection, and having at least two of the following: difficulty breathing, difficulty feeding, fever, or vomiting during the ENP. Girls were more often referred for hypothermia. During the LNP, boys were significantly more often referred for having yellow body/eyes, persistent watery stool, and severe skin infection. There were no referral types in the LNP for which girls were more often referred. Less than half of those referred at any point were taken for care (47.0%) and referred boys were more often taken than girls (Neonatal Period OR: 1.77, 95% CI: 1.64 - 1.91). Family composition differentially impacted the relationship between care-seeking and sex. The greatest differences were in families with only prior living girls (Pahadi - ENP OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.29 - 2.45 and LNP OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.03 - 2.21; Madeshi - ENP OR: 2.86, 95% CI: 2.28 - 3.59 and LNP OR: 2.45, 95% CI: 1.84 - 3.26).Care-seeking was inadequate for both sexes, but ill boys were consistently more often taken for care than girls, despite comparable referral. Behavioral interventions to improve care-seeking, especially in the early neonatal period, are needed to improve neonatal survival. Addressing gender bias in care-seeking, explicitly and within interventions, is essential to reducing neonatal mortality differentials between boys and girls.
Project description:<h4>Context</h4>India's adolescent health policy aims to improve sexual and reproductive health, especially amongst the most vulnerable. There is limited evidence on how gender influences treatment-seeking patterns amongst unmarried adolescents.<h4>Methods</h4>We analyzed data from 11,651 unmarried adolescent boys and girls aged 15-19 from a cross-sectional survey conducted in two large states of India. We conducted sex-disaggregated analyses to estimate the prevalence of symptoms of genital infections and compare treatment-seeking patterns. We identified correlates through multivariable regression and used a conceptual framework to explore structural, household, social and individual factors that influence gender inequities in adolescent sexual and reproductive health.<h4>Results</h4>One in five unmarried adolescents reported symptoms of genital infections, such as burning or discharge, in the past three months. Factors associated with reporting symptoms varied between boys and girls, except for a common correlation with symptoms of depression. At least two-thirds of boys sought treatment, compared to approximately one in four girls (rural: 66.2% boys, 23.1% girls; urban: 69.4% boys, 30.7% girls). Boys primarily sought care from medical shops or private facilities, while girls used both private and government services. Amongst boys, having friends and being in school was associated with seeking treatment (aOR: 11.47; 95% CI: 2.75, 47.87; aOR: 1.95; 95% CI: 1.24, 3.07, respectively). Odds of seeking treatment were higher amongst girls with exposure to any mass media (aOR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.25, 2.99) and who had discussed puberty with a parent (aOR: 1.98; 95% CI: 1.32, 2.98).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Stark sex differentials in factors associated with symptoms and in treatment-seeking illustrate how structural gender inequities, such as access to economic resources and education, influence sexual and reproductive health amongst adolescents. Along with health system interventions, addressing gender inequities calls for strategies to strengthen parental engagement, social support and girls' access to resources.
Project description:Cardiopulmonary injury is common in neonatal encephalopathy, but the link with cerebrovascular dysfunction is unknown. We hypothesized that alterations of cerebral autoregulation are associated with cardiopulmonary injury in neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for neonatal encephalopathy.The cerebral hemoglobin volume index (HVx) from near-infrared spectroscopy was used to identify the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) with optimal autoregulatory vasoreactivity (MAPOPT). We measured associations between MAP relative to MAPOPT and indicators of cardiopulmonary injury (duration of mechanical respiratory support and administration of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO), milrinone, or steroids).We identified associations between cerebrovascular autoregulation and cardiopulmonary injury that were often sex-specific. Greater MAP deviation above MAPOPT was associated with shorter duration of intubation in boys but longer ventilatory support in girls. Greater MAP deviation below MAPOPT related to longer intensive care stay in boys. Milrinone was associated with greater MAP deviation below MAPOPT in girls.MAP deviation from MAPOPT may relate to cardiopulmonary injury after neonatal encephalopathy, and sex may modulate this relationship. Whereas MAP above MAPOPT may protect the brain and lungs in boys, it may be related to cardiopulmonary injury in girls. Future studies are needed to characterize the role of sex in these associations.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Children with precocious puberty (PP) may have increased physiological and psychological problems. In this study, we aimed to explore the trend of parents seeking medical care for their children with precocious puberty. METHODS:The Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Dataset (NHIRD) was used to estimate the prevalence (2000-2013) and incidence (2002-2013) of PP (ICD-9 code: 259.1) among boys aged 0-11 years and girls aged 0-10 years. The proportions of PP management within 1 year from the date of first diagnosis were also compared between two periods (2002-2007 and 2008-2012). The trends of PP prevalence or incidence were determined by join-point regression. RESULTS:In 2000, 309 boys and 2706 girls had at least one visit for PP, the crude prevalence rates (per 10,000 persons) were 0.99 (95% confidence interval, 95% CI 0.87-1.14) and 13.56 (95% CI 13.01-14.13) in boys and girls, respectively. In 2013, the crude prevalence rates increased to 7.01 (95% CI 6.56-7.84) and 110.95 (95% CI 108.97-112.96) in boys and girls, respectively. A total of 2584 girls and 207 boys with incident PP cases were identified in 2002, and 7498 girls and 739 boys were identified in 2013. For girls, the incidence rates (per 10,000 person-years) were 16.17 (95% CI 15.55-16.80) and 70.23 (95% CI 68.65-71.83) in 2002 and 2013, respectively. For boys, the incidence rates were 1.09 (95% CI 0.95-1.24) and 5.72 (95% CI 5.32-6.15) in 2002 and 2013, respectively. The sex ratio (F:M) of the incidence of PP cases was 14.89 in 2002 and 12.28 in 2013. CONCLUSION:In this study, from 2000 to 2013, the frequency of visiting pediatric endocrinology outpatient clinics for precocious puberty increased in both genders. We advocate that it is important to pay increased attention to children's health, environmental hormones, and diet. Researchers should consider how to survey precocious puberty and offer parents more education to avoid the waste of medical resources or delays in seeking medical care.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The inequity in emergency obstetric care access in Tanzania is unsatisfactory. Despite an existing national obstetric referral system, many birthing women bypass referring facilities and go directly to higher-level care centres. We wanted to compare Caesarean section (CS) rates among women formally referred to a tertiary care centre versus self-referred women, and to assess the effect of referral status on adverse outcomes after CS.<h4>Methods</h4>We used data from 21,011 deliveries, drawn from the birth registry of a tertiary hospital in northeastern Tanzania, during 2000-07. Referral status was categorized as self-referred if the woman had bypassed or not accessed referral, or formally-referred if referred by a health worker. Because CS indications were insufficiently registered, we applied the Ten-Group Classification System to determine the CS rate by obstetric group and referral status. Associations between referral status and adverse outcomes after CS delivery were analysed using multiple regression models. Outcome measures were CS, maternal death, obstetric haemorrhage ? 750 mL, postpartum stay > 9 days, neonatal death, Apgar score < 7 at 5 min and neonatal ward transfer.<h4>Results</h4>Referral status contributed substantially to the CS rate, which was 55.0% in formally-referred and 26.9% in self-referred birthing women. In both groups, term nulliparous singleton cephalic pregnancies and women with previous scar(s) constituted two thirds of CS deliveries. Low Apgar score (adjusted OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.09-1.86) and neonatal ward transfer (adjusted OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04-1.35) were significantly associated with formal referral. Early neonatal death rates after CS were 1.6% in babies of formally-referred versus 1.2% in babies of self-referred birthing women, a non-significant difference after adjusting for confounding factors (adjusted OR 1.37, 95% CI 0.87-2.16). Absolute neonatal death rates were > 2% after CS in breech, multiple gestation and preterm deliveries in both referral groups.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Women referred for delivery had higher CS rates and poorer neonatal outcomes, suggesting that the formal referral system successfully identifies high-risk birth, although low volume suggests underutilization. High absolute rates of post-CS adverse outcomes among breech, multiple gestation and preterm deliveries suggest the need to target self-referred birthing women for earlier professional intrapartum care.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:The mean closure time of the ductus arteriosus (DA) in full-term neonates is presumed to be 1-2?days after birth; however, whether this rate is accurate throughout the neonatal period is still unclear. In addition, the clinical determinants that influence DA closure remain unknown. METHODS:Echocardiography was performed 1826 times (897 in boys, 929 in girls) in 1442 participants (732 boys, 710 girls). An iE33 colour Doppler echocardiograph supplied by Philips Electronics was employed to examine DA flow. Data regarding sex, birth date, examination date, method of delivery, mother's age, past deliveries, neonatal body weight and body height were also collected. The Statistical Analysis System makes statistical clarification of these queries possible. We examined the persistence of DA in full-term neonates and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) neonates in the early neonatal period using colour Doppler echocardiography, and a subsequent analysis with SAS. RESULTS:After performing multivariable analyses, the median DA persistency times were 27.42 and 45.10?h after birth in boys and girls, respectively. A statistically significant sex difference was observed (p<0.0001). Additionally, significant time differences were observed between vaginal and scheduled caesarean deliveries, at 26.97 and 28.93?h, respectively (p=0.0245). No significant differences were observed in the other variables. CONCLUSIONS:Spontaneous DA closure time curves were clarified for the first time throughout the early neonatal period in full-term and AGA neonates. It was revealed that both sex and delivery method play important roles in time to DA closure.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>In very low birth weight (<1,500 g, VLBW) infants, morbidity and mortality have decreased substantially during the past decades, and both are known to be lower in girls than in boys. In this study, we assessed sex-specific changes over time in length of hospital stay (LOHS) and postmenstrual age at discharge (PAD), in addition to survival in VLBW infants.<h4>Methods</h4>This is a single-center retrospective cohort analysis based on quality assurance data of VLBW infants born from 1978 to 2018. Estimation of sex-specific LOHS over time was based on infants discharged home from neonatal care or deceased. Estimation of sex-specific PAD over time was based on infants discharged home exclusively. Analysis of in-hospital survival was performed for all VLBW infants.<h4>Results</h4>In 4,336 of 4,499 VLBW infants admitted from 1978 to 2018 with complete data (96.4%), survival rates improved between 1978-1982 and 1993-1997 (70.8 vs. 88.3%; hazard ratio (HR) 0.20, 95% confidence interval 0.14, 0.30) and remained stable thereafter. Boys had consistently higher mortality rates than girls (15 vs. 12%, HR 1.23 [1.05, 1.45]). Nonsurviving boys died later compared to nonsurviving girls (adjusted mean survival time 23.0 [18.0, 27.9] vs. 20.7 [15.0, 26.3] days). LOHS and PAD assessed in 3,166 survivors displayed a continuous decrease over time (1978-1982 vs. 2013-2018: LOHS days 82.9 [79.3, 86.5] vs. 60.3 [58.4, 62.1] days); PAD 40.4 (39.9, 40.9) vs. 37.4 [37.1, 37.6] weeks). Girls had shorter LOHS than boys (69.4 [68.0, 70.8] vs. 73.0 [71.6, 74.4] days) and were discharged with lower PAD (38.6 [38.4, 38.8] vs. 39.2 [39.0, 39.4] weeks).<h4>Discussion/conclusions</h4>LOHS and PAD decreased over the last 40 years, while survival rates improved. Male sex was associated with longer LOHS, higher PAD, and higher mortality rates.
Project description:Neonatal mortality is the major contributor to under-five mortality rates in many low and middle income countries. We examined the health practices, care-seeking behavior, and referral of sick outborn neonates to a district and regional hospital in the Upper West Region of Ghana. The study was a cross-sectional study conducted over an eight (8) month period in 2018. Data were obtained from caregiver interviews and case notes. Altogether, 153 outborn neonates were examined. Inappropriate practices including the use of enemas, cord care with cow dung, and herbal baths were found. Three babies treated this way died. The majority of caregivers sought care at a health facility. However, 67 (44%) sought care only after their babies were ill for ?7 days, suggesting the influence of a period of confinement on health seeking. More than half, 94 (61.4%), of the facilities visited referred patients to destination hospitals without giving any treatment. Delayed care-seeking was associated with a low birth weight, using home remedies, and a maternal age of ?30 years. Altogether, 12 neonates (7.8%) died, consisting of three males and nine females (p = 0.018). Socio-cultural factors strongly influence health seeking behavior and the health outcome of neonates in this setting. There appeared to be a limited repertoire of interventions for treating neonatal disease in primary care.
Project description:Risky decision making is prominent during adolescence, perhaps contributed to by heightened sensation seeking and ongoing maturation of reward and dopamine systems in the brain, which are, in part, modulated by sex hormones. In this study, we examined sex differences in the neural substrates of reward sensitivity during a risky decision-making task and hypothesized that compared with girls, boys would show heightened brain activation in reward-relevant regions, particularly the nucleus accumbens, during reward receipt. Further, we hypothesized that testosterone and estradiol levels would mediate this sex difference. Moreover, we predicted boys would make more risky choices on the task. While boys showed increased nucleus accumbens blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response relative to girls, sex hormones did not mediate this effect. As predicted, boys made a higher percentage of risky decisions during the task. Interestingly, boys also self-reported more motivation to perform well and earn money on the task, while girls self-reported higher state anxiety prior to the scan session. Motivation to earn money partially mediated the effect of sex on nucleus accumbens activity during reward. Previous research shows that increased motivation and salience of reinforcers is linked with more robust striatal BOLD response, therefore psychosocial factors, in addition to sex, may play an important role in reward sensitivity. Elucidating neurobiological mechanisms that support adolescent sex differences in risky decision making has important implications for understanding individual differences that lead to advantageous and adverse behaviors that affect health outcomes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Autistic individuals frequently experience social communication challenges. Girls are diagnosed with autism less often than boys even when their symptoms are equally severe, which may be due to insufficient understanding of the way autism manifests in girls. Differences in the behavioral presentation of autism, including how people talk about social topics, could contribute to these persistent problems with identification. Despite a growing body of research suggesting that autistic girls and boys present distinct symptom profiles in a variety of domains, including social attention, friendships, social motivation, and language, differences in the way that autistic boys and girls communicate verbally are not yet well understood. Closely analyzing boys' and girls' socially-focused language during semi-structured clinical assessments could shed light on potential sex differences in the behavioral presentation of autistic individuals that may prove useful for identifying and effectively supporting autistic girls. Here, we compare social word use in verbally fluent autistic girls and boys during the interview sections of the ADOS-2 Module 3 and measure associations with clinical phenotype.<h4>Methods</h4>School-aged girls and boys with autism (N = 101, 25 females; aged 6-15) were matched on age, IQ, and parent/clinician ratings of autism symptom severity. Our primary analysis compared the number of social words produced by autistic boys and girls (normalized to account for differences in total word production). Social words are words that make reference to other people, including friends and family.<h4>Results</h4>There was a significant main effect of sex on social word production, such that autistic girls used more social words than autistic boys. To identify the specific types of words driving this effect, additional subcategories of friend and family words were analyzed. There was a significant effect of sex on friend words, with girls using significantly more friend words than boys. However, there was no significant main effect of sex on family words, suggesting that sex differences in social word production may be driven by girls talking more about friends compared to boys, not family. To assess relationships between word use and clinical phenotype, we modeled ADOS-2 Social Affect (SA) scores as a function of social word production. In the overall sample, social word use correlated significantly with ADOS-2 SA scores, indicating that participants who used more social words were rated as less socially impaired by clinicians. However, when examined in each sex separately, this result only held for boys.<h4>Limitations</h4>This study cannot speak to the ways in which social word use may differ for younger children, adults, or individuals who are not verbally fluent; in addition, there were more autistic boys than girls in our sample, making it difficult to detect small effects.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Autistic girls used significantly more social words than boys during a diagnostic assessment-despite being matched on age, IQ, and both parent- and clinician-rated autism symptom severity. Sex differences in linguistic markers of social phenotype in autism are especially important in light of the late or missed diagnoses that disproportionately affect autistic girls. Specifically, heightened talk about social topics could complicate autism referral and diagnosis when non-clinician observers expect a male-typical pattern of reduced social focus, which autistic girls may not always exhibit.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Traditional genetic testing focusses on analysis of one or a few genes according to clinical features; this approach is changing as improved sequencing methods enable simultaneous analysis of several genes. Neonatal diabetes is the presenting feature of many discrete clinical phenotypes defined by different genetic causes. Genetic subtype defines treatment, with improved glycaemic control on sulfonylurea treatment for most patients with potassium channel mutations. We investigated the effect of early, comprehensive testing of all known genetic causes of neonatal diabetes.<h4>Methods</h4>In this large, international, cohort study, we studied patients with neonatal diabetes diagnosed with diabetes before 6 months of age who were referred from 79 countries. We identified mutations by comprehensive genetic testing including Sanger sequencing, 6q24 methylation analysis, and targeted next-generation sequencing of all known neonatal diabetes genes.<h4>Findings</h4>Between January, 2000, and August, 2013, genetic testing was done in 1020 patients (571 boys, 449 girls). Mutations in the potassium channel genes were the most common cause (n=390) of neonatal diabetes, but were identified less frequently in consanguineous families (12% in consanguineous families vs 46% in non-consanguineous families; p<0·0001). Median duration of diabetes at the time of genetic testing decreased from more than 4 years before 2005 to less than 3 months after 2012. Earlier referral for genetic testing affected the clinical phenotype. In patients with genetically diagnosed Wolcott-Rallison syndrome, 23 (88%) of 26 patients tested within 3 months from diagnosis had isolated diabetes, compared with three (17%) of 18 patients referred later (>4 years; p<0·0001), in whom skeletal and liver involvement was common. Similarly, for patients with genetically diagnosed transient neonatal diabetes, the diabetes had remitted in only ten (10%) of 101 patients tested early (<3 months) compared with 60 (100%) of the 60 later referrals (p<0·0001).<h4>Interpretation</h4>Patients are now referred for genetic testing closer to their presentation with neonatal diabetes. Comprehensive testing of all causes identified causal mutations in more than 80% of cases. The genetic result predicts the best diabetes treatment and development of related features. This model represents a new framework for clinical care with genetic diagnosis preceding development of clinical features and guiding clinical management.<h4>Funding</h4>Wellcome Trust and Diabetes UK.