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First pediatric study to look at the role of vitamin D in critical illness

Date:
September 12, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Summary:
Vitamin D is increasingly being recognized as important for good health. Vitamin D is a hormone made in the skin following sun exposure or acquired from diet and supplement intake. Previous medical research has shown that low body levels of vitamin D make people more susceptible to problems such as bone fractures, poor mental health and infections like the common cold. Until recently, there had been little consideration given to the role of vitamin D in more severe diseases.

Vitamin D is increasingly being recognized as important for good health. Vitamin D is a hormone made in the skin following sun exposure or acquired from diet and supplement intake. Previous medical research has shown that low body levels of vitamin D make people more susceptible to problems such as bone fractures, poor mental health and infections like the common cold. Until recently, there had been little consideration given to the role of vitamin D in more severe diseases, which is why Dr. Dayre McNally's recent publication in the journal Pediatrics is so compelling.

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"This is the first study to report on vitamin D levels in a large group of critically ill children," said Dr. McNally, a clinical researcher and intensivist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa.

The study, led by Dr. McNally at the CHEO Research Institute, included over 300 children and teenagers at six hospitals in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Vancouver. These children were admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with severe infections, significant trauma or conditions requiring major surgery, such as congenital heart defects.

Their study found that in three of every four critically ill children, blood vitamin D levels were below the target considered safe by many experts and medical societies. Further, those with lower vitamin D levels were noted to be sicker, requiring more life-sustaining therapies (breathing tubes, medications to support heart function) and staying in the ICU for longer periods of time.

"Although these findings are of concern, we are very encouraged because we've discovered something that is modifiable," explained Dr. McNally. "There are simple ways to prevent this problem, and it may be possible to rapidly restore vitamin D levels at the time of severe illness."

This study was conducted by Dr. Dayre McNally, Dr. Kusum Menon, Dr. Pranesh Chakraborty, Lawrence Fisher, Kathryn Williams, Dr. Osama Al-Dirbashi and Dr. Dermot Doherty. It was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the CHEO Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. D. McNally, K. Menon, P. Chakraborty, L. Fisher, K. A. Williams, O. Y. Al-Dirbashi, D. R. Doherty. The Association of Vitamin D Status With Pediatric Critical Illness. Pediatrics, 2012; 130 (3): 429 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3059

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. "First pediatric study to look at the role of vitamin D in critical illness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912101804.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. (2012, September 12). First pediatric study to look at the role of vitamin D in critical illness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912101804.htm
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. "First pediatric study to look at the role of vitamin D in critical illness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912101804.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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