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BACKGROUND - Despite hand washing and other protocols surgical-site infections (SSIs) have not been eliminated. This implies that either current measures are not effective or there are alternative sources of bacterial exposure to the surgical wound. In this study we tested the hypothesis that stuffed animals or other items allowed to accompany pediatric patients to the operating room as a way to ease anxiety may represent a reservoir of bacteria.
METHODS - Stuffed animals brought into the operating room and stuffed animals that were washed and dried in a conventional washer/dryer and placed in clean sealable plastic bags were swabbed and bacterial colonies were quantified. Results were reported as no growth, light growth, moderate growth, and heavy growth.
RESULTS - All stuffed animals showed bacterial growth. A total of 79% of stuffed animals were effectively "sterilized" by a single wash and dry cycle in a conventional home washer/dryer. Sterilized stuffed animals remained sterile after being packed in a sealed bag for 24 hours.
CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate that items of comfort, such as stuffed animals, brought into the operating room with a benevolent purpose may represent a reservoir of bacteria that could lead to unwanted SSI. Washing an item of comfort 1 day before surgery effectively sterilizes that item of comfort. Future studies will be needed to determine a correlation between "culture positive" stuffed animals and SSI or if providing a child with a "sterile" stuffed animal reduces SSI.
BACKGROUND - Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are impaired in social communication and interaction with peers, which may reflect diminished social motivation. Many children with ASD show enhanced stress when playing with other children. This study investigated social and stress profiles of children with ASD during play.
METHODS - We utilized a peer interaction paradigm in a natural playground setting with 66 unmedicated, prepubertal, children aged 8-12 years [38 with ASD, 28 with typical development (TD)]. Salivary cortisol was collected before and after a 20-min playground interaction that was divided into periods of free and solicited play facilitated by a confederate child. Statistical analyses included Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, mixed effects models, and Spearman correlations to assess the between-group differences in social and stress functioning, identify stress responders, and explore associations between variables, respectively.
RESULTS - There were no differences between the groups during unsolicited free play; however, during solicited play by the confederate, significant differences emerged such that children with ASD engaged in fewer verbal interactions and more self-play than the TD group. Regarding physiological arousal, children with ASD as a group showed relatively higher cortisol in response to social play; however, there was a broad range of responses. Moreover, those with the highest cortisol levels engaged in less social communication.
CONCLUSIONS - The social interaction of children with ASD can be facilitated by peer solicitation; however, it may be accompanied by increased stress. The children with ASD that have the highest level of cortisol show less social motivation; yet, it is unclear if it reflects an underlying state of heightened arousal or enhanced reactivity to social engagement, or both.
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2013 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
OBJECTIVE - To use observational methods to assess the quality of peer relationships in 51 7- to 12-year-old acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors as compared to healthy children.
METHODS - Children were audiotaped as they engaged in free play with their best friend and interactions were coded to assess their ability to maintain engagement with one another during play as well as the affective dimension of their play.
RESULTS - Results indicated that dyads with survivors of childhood cancer were less likely to be highly engaged with their best friend and more likely to experience disengagement than dyads with healthy participants. There were no group differences in positive or negative affect.
CONCLUSIONS - Overall, these data suggest that survivors of childhood cancer's relationships with their best friend may be compromised in some specific areas when compared to the relations of healthy children. Implications for intervention are discussed.