Paediatrics (RCH) - Research Publications

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    Prevention and Mental Health Promotion in Adolescents: the evidence
    PATTON, GC ; OLSSON, CA ; TOUMBOUROU, JW ; ROWLING, L ; MARTIN, G ; WALKER, L (McGraw Hill Australia, 2002)
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    Adolescent chronic illness: A qualitative study of psychosocial adjustment
    Olsson, CA ; Bond, L ; Johnson, MW ; Forer, DL ; Boyce, MF ; Sawyer, SM (ACAD MEDICINE SINGAPORE, 2003-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to investigate the psychosocial issues facing young people living with a chronic medical condition. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects were young people with a range of medical conditions who were on a waiting list to participate in the Chronic Illness Peer Support programme at the Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Young people agreed to in-depth interviews which were taped and transcribed. Thematic analysis was undertaken by two researchers working independently. RESULTS: Thirty-five young people were interviewed. Thematic analysis revealed five broad themes: control (in control, under control, out of control); emotional reactions (happiness, frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety); acceptance (of illness, of others, of self); coping strategies, and; a search for meaning. The importance of social connections was emphasised. While illustrating the difficulties of managing a chronic medical condition during adolescence, a generally positive message emerges about these young people. CONCLUSIONS: Many young people with chronic illness appear relatively resilient in the face of the adjustment challenges presented by their illness. Interventions that allow a young person to explore meaning, build self-esteem, and acceptance through positive social connections are likely to improve adjustment outcomes in this group.
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    General anaesthesia or conscious sedation for painful procedures in childhood cancer: the family's perspective
    Crock, C ; Olsson, C ; Phillips, R ; Chalkiadis, G ; Sawyer, S ; Ashley, D ; Camilleri, S ; Carlin, J ; Monagle, P (BRITISH MED JOURNAL PUBL GROUP, 2003-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: Until recently, midazolam sedation was routinely used in our institution for bone marrow aspirates and lumbar punctures in children with cancer. It has been perceived by many doctors and nurses as being well tolerated by children and their families. AIM: To compare the efficacy of inhalational general anaesthesia and midazolam sedation for these procedures. METHODS: A total of 96 children with neoplastic disorders, who received either inhalational general anaesthesia with sevoflurane, nitrous oxide, and oxygen (GA) or sedation with oral or nasal midazolam (SED) as part of their routine preparation for procedures were studied. The experiences of these children were examined during their current procedure and during their first ever procedure. Main outcome measures were the degree of physical restraint used on the child, and the levels of distress and pain experienced by the child during the current procedure and during the first procedure. The family's preference for future procedures was also determined. RESULTS: During 102 procedures under GA, restraint was needed on four occasions (4%) when the anaesthetic mask was first applied, minimal pain was reported, and children were reported as distressed about 25% of the time. During 80 SED procedures, restraint was required in 94%, firm restraint was required in 66%, the child could not be restrained in 14%, median pain score was 6 (scale 0 (no pain) to 6 (maximum pain)), and 90% of the parents reported distress in their child. Ninety per cent of families wanted GA for future procedures. Many families reported dissatisfaction with the sedation regime and raised concerns about the restraint used on their child. CONCLUSIONS: This general anaesthetic regime minimised the need for restraint and was associated with low levels of pain and distress. The sedation regime, by contrast, was much less effective. There was a significant disparity between the perceptions of health professionals and those of families with respect to how children coped with painful procedures.
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    Family risk factors for cannabis use: a population-based survey of Australian secondary school students
    Olsson, CA ; Coffey, C ; Toumbourou, JW ; Bond, L ; Thomas, L ; Patton, G (CARFAX PUBLISHING, 2003-06-01)
    The objective of this study was to investigate relationships between adolescent cannabis use and indices of parent - child attachment, family functioning and parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency. A total of 2848 year 9 and 2363 year 11 students participated in the Victorian Adolescent Health and Well-Being Survey (1999). The study was a school-based random sample of 535 metropolitan and rural, government and non-government secondary schools throughout Victoria, Australia. Cannabis use was defined as 'any' and 'weekly' use in the last 30 days. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent associations between cannabis use and parent - child attachment, family functioning and parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency. Cannabis use in year 9 was associated with permissive parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency (any use: adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 8.1; weekly use: adjusted OR = 7.6), and was particularly sensitive to small changes in the quality of the parent - child relationship with risk increasing threefold for those describing their attachment as 'good' compared with 'very good' (any use: adjusted OR = 2.8, weekly use adjusted OR = 2.9). A similar, but more moderate pattern association was evident in year 11. After adjusting for other family and background factors, poor family functioning showed minimal association with level of cannabis use at both year levels. Results suggest that intervention efforts might sensibly target strengthening parent - children relationships and promoting less permissive parent attitudes to drug use.
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    Adolescent resilience: a concept analysis
    Olsson, CA ; Bond, L ; Burns, JM ; Vella-Brodrick, DA ; Sawyer, SM (ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2003-02-01)
    There is need for greater clarity around the concept of resilience as it relates to the period of adolescence. Literature on resilience published between 1990 and 2000 and relevant to adolescents aged between 12- and 18-years of age was reviewed with the aim of examining the various uses of the term, and commenting on how specific ways of conceptualizing of resilience may help develop new research agendas in the field. By bringing together ideas on resilience from a variety of research and clinical perspectives, the purpose of the review is to explicate core elements of resilience in more precise ways, in the hope that greater conceptual clarity will lead to a range of tailored interventions that benefit young people.
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    Genetics and public health - evolution, or revolution?
    Halliday, JL ; Collins, VR ; Aitken, MA ; Richards, MPM ; Olsson, CA (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2004-11-01)
    During the 19th and early 20th century, public health and genetics shared common ground through similar approaches to health promotion in the population. By the mid-20th century there was a division between public health and genetics, with eugenicists estranged and clinical genetics focused on single gene disorders, usually only relevant to small numbers of people. Now through a common interest in the aetiology of complex diseases such as heart disease and cancer, there is a need for people working in public health and genetics to collaborate. This is not a comfortable convergence for many, particularly those in public health. Nine main concerns are reviewed: fear of eugenics; genetic reductionism; predictive power of genes; non-modifiable risk factors; rights of individuals compared with populations; resource allocation; commercial imperative; discrimination; and understanding and education. This paper aims to contribute to the thinking and discussion about an evolutionary, multidisciplinary approach to understanding, preventing, and treating complex diseases.
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    Nicotine dependence in a prospective population-based study of adolescents: the protective role of a functional tyrosine hydroxylase polymorphism
    Anney, RJL ; Olsson, CA ; Lotfi-Miri, M ; Patton, GC ; Williamson, R (LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2004-02-01)
    Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter of the mesolimbic reward pathway in the human brain, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine biosynthesis. Consequently, the gene encoding TH is a strong candidate for involvement in the genetic component of addiction. The importance of this gene in nicotine dependence is supported by many studies showing a link between nicotine administration and TH expression. A functional tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism within intron 1 of the TH gene (HUMTH01-VNTR) has been shown to modify tobacco use in two independent Caucasian samples from the USA and Australia. Using information drawn from an eight-wave Australian population-based longitudinal study of adolescent health, we tested the effect of the HUMTH01-VNTR on nicotine dependence. Comparisons were made between dependent smokers and non-dependent smokers. These data provide further support for a protective association between the K4 allele and dependent smoking (odds ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.28-1.0). No associations were observed at any of three other common TH polymorphisms (rs6356, rs6357 and HUMTH01-PstI). Including these data, three independent studies, two of which use identical phenotypes, have now identified a protective relationship between the K4 allele of the functional HUMTH01-VNTR polymorphism and high-level smoking.
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    COMT Val(158)Met and 5HTTLPR functional loci interact to predict persistence of anxiety across adolescence: results from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study
    Olsson, CA ; Byrnes, GB ; Anney, RJL ; Collins, V ; Hemphill, SA ; Williamson, R ; Patton, GC (BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, 2007-10-01)
    We investigated whether a composite genetic factor, based on the combined actions of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) (Val(158)Met) and serotonin transporter (5HTTLPR) (Long-Short) functional loci, has a greater capacity to predict persistence of anxiety across adolescence than either locus in isolation. Analyses were performed on DNA collected from 962 young Australians participating in an eight-wave longitudinal study of mental health and well-being (Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study). When the effects of each locus were examined separately, small dose-response reductions in the odds of reporting persisting generalized (free-floating) anxiety across adolescence were observed for the COMT Met(158) [odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.76-0.95, P = 0.004] and 5HTTLPR Short alleles (OR = 0.88, CI = 0.79-0.99, P = 0.033). There was no evidence for a dose-response interaction effect between loci. However, there was a double-recessive interaction effect in which the odds of reporting persisting generalized anxiety were more than twofold reduced (OR = 0.45, CI = 0.29-0.70, P < 0.001) among carriers homozygous for both the COMT Met(158) and the 5HTTLPR Short alleles (Met(158)Met + Short-Short) compared with the remaining cohort. The double-recessive effect remained after multivariate adjustment for a range of psychosocial predictors of anxiety. Exploratory stratified analyses suggested that genetic protection may be more pronounced under conditions of high stress (insecure attachments and sexual abuse), although strata differences did not reach statistical significance. By describing the interaction between genetic loci, it may be possible to describe composite genetic factors that have a more substantial impact on psychosocial development than individual loci alone, and in doing so, enhance understanding of the contribution of constitutional processes in mental health outcomes.
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    Variation in the gene coding for the M5 Muscarinic receptor (CHRM5) influences cigarette dose but is not associated with dependence to drugs of addiction: evidence from a prospective population based cohort study of young adults
    Anney, RJ ; Lotfi-Miri, M ; Olsson, CA ; Reid, SC ; Hemphill, SA ; Patton, GC (BMC, 2007-07-03)
    BACKGROUND: The mesolimbic structures of the brain are important in the anticipation and perception of reward. Moreover, many drugs of addiction elicit their response in these structures. The M5 muscarinic receptor (M5R) is expressed in dopamine-containing neurones of the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area, and regulates the release of mesolimbic dopamine. Mice lacking M5R show a substantial reduction in both reward and withdrawal responses to morphine and cocaine. The CHRM5, the gene that codes for the M5R, is a strong biological candidate for a role in human addiction. We screened the coding and core promoter sequences of CHRM5 using denaturing high performance liquid chromatography to identify common polymorphisms. Additional polymorphisms within the coding and core promoter regions that were identified through dbSNP were validated in the test population. We investigated whether these polymorphisms influence substance dependence and dose in a cohort of 1947 young Australians. RESULTS: Analysis was performed on 815 participants of European ancestry who were interviewed at wave 8 of the cohort study and provided DNA. We observed a 26.8% increase in cigarette consumption in carriers of the rs7162140 T-allele, equating to 20.1 cigarettes per week (p=0.01). Carriers of the rs7162140 T-allele were also found to have nearly a 3-fold increased risk of developing cannabis dependence (OR=2.9 (95%CI 1.1-7.4); p=0.03). CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that variation within the CHRM5 locus may play an important role in tobacco and cannabis but not alcohol addiction in European ancestry populations. This is the first study to show an association between CHRM5 and substance use in humans. These data support the further investigation of this gene as a risk factor in substance use and dependence.
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    Predicting Female Depression Across Puberty: A Two-Nation Longitudinal Study
    Patton, GC ; Olsson, C ; Bond, L ; Toumbourou, JW ; Carlin, JB ; Hemphill, SA ; Catalano, RF (ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, 2008-12-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To prospectively examine the relation between pubertal stage and the onset and course of depressive symptoms. METHOD: The design was a three-wave longitudinal study of health and social development using statewide community samples in Washington, United States, and Victoria, Australia. Approximately 5,769 students initially ages 10 to 15 years were assessed for depressive symptoms with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire. Pubertal status was assessed using a self-report version of the Pubertal Development Scale. RESULTS: Advancing pubertal stage carried higher risks for depressive symptoms in female subjects in all of the three study waves. The pubertal rise in female depressive symptoms was due to both higher risk for incident cases and an even greater effect on risks for persistence of depressive symptoms. Report of poor emotional control 12 months earlier carried a twofold higher risk for incident depressive symptoms and largely explained the pubertal rise in female incident cases. High family conflict and severity of bullying also predicted persistence of depressive symptoms. Preexisting depressive symptoms were not associated with later increases in the rate of pubertal transition. CONCLUSIONS: Advancing pubertal stage carries risks for both the onset and persistence of depressive symptoms in females. Social adversity around puberty predicts the persistence of symptoms but does not account for a pubertal rise in female depression. A report of poor emotional control may be a useful marker of girls at risk for depressive symptoms and as a target for preventive intervention.