November 13, 2013
Low Vitamin D Levels Raise Anemia Risk
Jeffrey Fadrowski, M.D.
Low levels of the “sunshine” vitamin D appear to increase a child's risk of anemia, according to new research led by investigators at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. The study, published online Oct. 10 in the Journal of Pediatrics, is believed to be the first one to extensively explore the link between the two conditions in children. The researchers caution that their results are not proof of cause and effect, but rather evidence of a complex interplay between low vitamin D levels and hemoglobin, the oxygen-binding protein in red blood cells. The investigators say several mechanisms could account for the link between vitamin D and anemia, including vitamin D's effects on red blood cell production in the bone marrow, as well as its ability to regulate immune inflammation, a known catalyst of anemia. “If our findings are confirmed through further research, low vitamin D levels may turn out to be a readily modifiable risk factor for anemia that we can easily tackle with supplements,” says pediatric nephrologist Jeffrey Fadrowski.
Child Born with HIV Still in Remission
A 3-year-old Mississippi child born with HIV and treated with a combination of antiviral drugs unusually early continues to do well and remains free of active infection 18 months after all treatment ceased, according to an updated case report (The New England Journal of Medicine, Oct. 23, 2013). Early findings of the case were presented in March 2013, but the newly published report adds detail and confirms what researchers say is the first documented case of HIV remission in a child. “Our findings suggest that this child's remission is not a mere fluke but the likely result of aggressive and very early therapy that may have prevented the virus from taking a hold in the child's immune cells,” says lead author and pediatric HIV expert Deborah Persaud.