Over-diagnosis of GERD can make a medical condition out of a normal behavior, says lead author Laura Scherer, assistant professor of psychological science in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri.
"The growing digestive systems of an infant can be finicky and cause the child to regurgitate. The discomfort can cause the infant to cry, but it is not necessarily a disease," says Scherer. "Parents can learn from this study that a disease label can make them want medication for their child, regardless of whether the drugs are effective or not. Parents should follow doctors' advice, which sometimes means accepting a doctor's explanation of why an infant's crying and vomiting may be normal."
"Unnecessary use of medication is costly," says Scherer. "Especially for families without insurance, the over-use of medications can be a needless expense. In addition, the long-term side effects of the medication frequently prescribed to children diagnosed with GERD have not been fully studied, although the medication has been correlated to slightly higher rates of pneumonia."
Additional authors: Of the University of Michigan: Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D., Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health and Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D. of the Department of Internal Medicine and co-director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine.Journal reference: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2013-0286 Funding: Dr. Tarini is supported by a K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (K23HD057994). Dr. Zikmund-Fisher was supported by a Mentored Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society (MRSG-06-130-01-CPPB). Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A bout C.S. Mott Children's Hospital: Since 1903, the University of Michigan has led the way in providing comprehensive, specialized health care for children. From leading-edge heart surgery that's performed in the womb to complete emergency care that's there when you need it, families from all over come to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital for our pediatric expertise. More information is available here: http://mottchildren.org SOURCE University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital