Early Career Investigator

Congratulations to Jason M. Nagata, the Early Career Investigator for November 2022. He is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His career pathway to research on adolescent activity, screen use, nutrition, and eating disorders was fueled by excellent mentors and by recognizing gaps in care that he could work to address. Prior to medical school, he focused on global hunger and malnutrition in Africa with the World Health Organization, and so had already demonstrated an interest in nutrition. In his ECI Biocommentary, Dr. Nagata offers some important lessons from his experiences that have led him to find great passion and personal fulfillment in his clinical and research work. In an article in this issue, he and colleagues examine sociodemographic correlates of problematic screen use in a diverse early adolescent population. Boys had higher problematic video game use whereas girls had higher social media and mobile phone use. Sociodemographic differences in adolescents relate to problematic screen use and should be taken into account in counseling by pediatricians. (Photo: Susan Merrell). See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-02305-3and https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-02176-8

How to get published

In this special APS-SPR Virtual Chat Series, three prominent journal editors discuss multiple important topics related to publishing manuscripts, including publication ethics and misconduct, authorship, benefits of manuscript review, instructions for authors, complexities of grant funding and research support, and the editorial process at the journal level. Drs. Balisteri, Albertine, and Bearer provide an insightful conversation on these important topics to help readers learn tips, tricks, and pitfalls and how to have their manuscript successfully published. (Photo: SDI Productions/Getty). See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01432-7

Maternal stress and vitamins

Maternal psychological distress, especially in moderate to severe forms, during pregnancy may impact the developing brain. Ssewanyana et al. investigated whether maternal vitamin intake might help to reduce the impact of stress exposure and improve child neurocognitive function at 4 years of age. The study found lower cognitive function in children exposed to maternal prenatal moderate to severe psychological distress and that maternal vitamin intake did not improve child cognition. Prenatal vitamins are important for fetal development, but in this study they did not correlate with long-term child cognitive development. Methods to improve postnatal neurocognitive development for children with exposure to high levels of maternal stress are needed. See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-02003-0

Predictive characteristics of outcomes for childhood asthma

Lee et al. performed a large retrospective study of children with asthma and of children with blood eosinophil data only. They found that serum immunoglobulin E, blood eosinophil, and allergen sensitization measured at baseline were important indicators of long-term asthma outcomes, including severity and control. Also in this issue are two Insights pieces in which parents describe the impact of asthma on their children’s lives, demonstrating the importance of support for families managing the disorder. Their stories also reinforce the need for continued research on childhood asthma to help children lead better lives and for new and accessible therapies. See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-01956-6, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-02267-6, and https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-02276-5

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on albuminuria screening in children with type 1 diabetes

Albuminuria screening is an important part of pediatric diabetes care. Favel et al. examined adherence to this recommended screening before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in a cohort of children with type 1 diabetes. The study found that albuminuria screening is suboptimal and worsening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patient, physician, and program-level strategies are needed to improve adherence to such screening for children with diabetes. (Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty). See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-01971-7

Mitochondrial DNA content may be a biomarker for SIDS

Danusso et al. report on a case–control study of 24 cerebral cortex samples from cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This novel investigation found higher mitochondrial DNA content in the cerebral cortex of infants with SIDS than in controls. For many cases of SIDS, the pathogenesis is unclear. Mitochondrial DNA content may be a useful biomarker to better understand the complex and likely multifactorial mechanisms involved in the syndrome. See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01901-z

Cardiorespiratory alterations in an ovine model of systemic viral inflammation

In a full-term newborn lamb model, Nault et al. characterized alterations in heart-rate variability and respiratory-rate variability following systemic inflammation, such as that which occurs in viral sepsis. They found reduced heart-rate variability and brainstem inflammation in the cardiorespiratory control centers of newborn lambs exposed to inflammation. These findings may help inform physiological characteristics that can differentiate viral from bacterial sepsis in the neonatal period. See https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-022-01958-4