Children's Health

74

In 2020, there were nearly 74 million children and adolescents in the United States. (U.S. Census Bureau)

24

Children and adolescents make up approximately 24% of the US population. (U.S. Census Bureau)

103

PCORI has funded about 103 studies and projects that focus on health conditions or health topics that are highly relevant to children adolescents, or their caregivers, or emerging adults. (As of February 2022)

Evidence for Decisions from PCORI-Funded Studies


Choosing the Best Option for Managing Mild Persistent Asthma in Children

Asthma is a common chronic illness among children in the US, with disproportionate impact among racial and ethnic minorities. A PCORI-funded study, which focused exclusively on African-American children, who have traditionally been underserved in research and have had worse asthma-related health outcomes than other children, looked at two different approaches to managing mild persistent asthma.

A pair of Evidence Updates is now available to help support conversations between parents and clinicians about choosing the best option for managing mild persistent asthma in children.

View the Evidence Updates

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions


Telehealth-Based Referrals Improve Access to Hearing Care for Children in Rural Areas

Children in school-based hearing screening programs who received telehealth-based specialist referrals experienced follow-up care up to 17.6 times faster, compared with children who received standard primary care referrals, according to results from the PCORI-funded Hearing Norton Sound Study published in Lancet Global Health. The randomized controlled trial with about 1,500 children in Alaska was led by Susan D. Emmett, MD, MPH, and Samantha Kleindienst Robler, PhD, AuD, from the Center for Hearing Health Equity at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The study, which was conducted in 15 rural Alaskan communities between 2017 and 2020, is considered to be the first to demonstrate that telemedicine can reduce a key rural health disparity in access to care. The researchers also suggest that the benefits of telemedicine could translate to other preventive school-based services to improve specialty health care for children in rural areas.


Informing Treatment of Juvenile Arthritis

Clinicians and patients have been uncertain about the optimal time to start biologics for polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA). However, results from a PCORI-funded study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, provide useful new evidence about first-line treatment options for this disease. Researchers compared the effectiveness of three treatment approaches among 400 children with pJIA.

The approaches included starting patients on a non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) only, starting patients with a DMARD and a biologic medication, and starting patients with a biologic only. After one year, the approaches did not differ significantly in achieving clinically inactive disease without the use of glucorticoids, and patients reported decreased pain interference levels and increased mobility with all three approaches.


The Effect of Treatment Duration for Newborn Infants Who Have Seizures

Every year, about 16,000 newborns in the United States have seizures. Medications can treat seizures but can also have serious side effects and may harm children’s brain development. A PCORI-funded study at University of Michigan compared functional development outcomes of 270 newborns who developed seizures due to acute brain injury in the first days to weeks after birth and were treated with antiseizure medication (ASM) prior to hospital discharge and those who continued ASM after hospital discharge.

Reporting in JAMA Neurology, the study found that after two years, children in both groups did not differ significantly in their functional development and risk of epilepsy. These results support discontinuation of ASM prior to hospital discharge for most newborns with acute symptomatic neonatal seizures.

Children's Health Study Spotlights

Narrow- versus Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics for Common Infections in Children

When bacteria cause an ear, nose, or throat infection in children, a clinician may prescribe narrow- or broad-spectrum antibiotics. This study found that narrow-spectrum antibiotics worked just as well as broad-spectrum antibiotics. Also, children taking narrow-spectrum antibiotics had fewer side effects than children taking broad-spectrum antibiotics.