Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Demographic disparities found among children with frequent ear infections

Date:
August 10, 2010
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Research has documented that ethnic and socioeconomic disparities exist among patients with conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Now, a new study has found disparities among children suffering from repeated ear infections.

Research has documented that ethnic and socioeconomic disparities exist among patients with conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Now, a new study by researchers from UCLA and Harvard University has found disparities among children suffering from repeated ear infections.

The findings, published in the August edition of the journal The Laryngoscope, show that frequent ear infections plague white children and children living below the poverty level more than children of other racial or ethnic backrounds or income levels.

Despite a recent overall decline in the incidence of otitis media, or ear infection, it is still one of the most common and burdensome ailments affecting children. More than 80 percent of children have at least one infection by the age of 3, and medical and surgical treatments for these infections cost $3 billion to $5 billion annually. Each year, about 4.65 million children in the U.S. suffer "frequent" ear infections, defined as more than three infections over a 12-month period.

"An understanding of the size and distribution of the population of children with frequent ear infections is important because it is often these patients who will require more invasive and costly treatments," said study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and an associate professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "In this era of health care reform, it will be important to determine how to reach out to this population of children, whose inadequate health insurance coverage limits their options for treatment."

Researchers used data from a 10-year period (1997-2006) taken from the National Health Interview Survey, a large-scale, household-based survey of a statistically representative sample of the U.S. population.

Parents of children under the age of 18 were asked various questions, including whether their child had three or more ear infections over the previous 12 months. For those who answered yes, researchers pulled demographic data -- including age, sex, race/ethnicity, income level and insurance status -- to determine the influence of these variables on frequent ear infections.

The average age of children in the study was 8.5 years old, and 51 percent were boys. Of the parents surveyed, 6.6 percent reported having a child who suffered frequent ear infections.

The researchers found that among white children, 7.0 percent had frequent ear infections, compared with 6.2 percent of Hispanic children, 5.0 percent of African American children and 4.5 percent of children from other racial or ethnic groups.

They also found that children from households under the poverty level had a higher incidence -- 8.0 percent -- of frequent ear infections than children from above the poverty level, even after adjusting for race and ethnicity.

"The racial and ethnic disparity was somewhat surprising," Shapiro said. "We are not certain why these gaps exist, but possible explanations could include anatomic differences, cultural factors or disparate access to health care. It could also be that white children are overdiagnosed and non-white children are underdiagnosed."

The next stage of research is to better understand the impact of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and inequalities related to access to health care within the population of children with frequent ear infections.

Co-authors of the study included Dr. Kalpesh T. Vakharia, of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Amy Albin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kalpesh T. Vakharia, Nina L. Shapiro, Neil Bhattacharyya. Demographic disparities among children with frequent ear infections in the United States. The Laryngoscope, 2010; 120 (8): 1667 DOI: 10.1002/lary.20961

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Demographic disparities found among children with frequent ear infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100809161232.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2010, August 10). Demographic disparities found among children with frequent ear infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100809161232.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Demographic disparities found among children with frequent ear infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100809161232.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins