Miller School Experts Publish First Book on Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome

When the Miller School’s Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D., Tracie L. Miller, M.D., and Sarah E. Messiah, Ph.D., M.P.H., were growing up, nobody discussed, much less studied, metabolic syndrome in children. After all, the cluster of risk factors associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other health problems was found only in adults.

Now, the three pediatrics experts are the editors of what is believed to be the first comprehensive book on pediatric metabolic syndrome, which has an alarming prevalence among the growing number of overweight and obese children and adolescents across the U.S., and around the world.

Published by Springer and now available online, the 384-page book, “Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome – Comprehensive Clinical Review and Related Issues,” has 50 contributors, more than half of whom are from the University of Miami. They include UM President Donna E. Shalala, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., the Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders and immediate past president of the American Heart Association, both of whom were among a group of esteemed experts invited to write commentaries.

As President Shalala warned, the ramifications of pediatric metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by variable combinations of insulin resistance, high blood cholesterol, and hypertension, are frightening.

“Millions of children, many of them preschoolers, already have signs of one or more of the five risk factors for metabolic syndrome,’’ she said. “They are already on the road to developing diabetes and coronary heart disease, being felled by a stroke, or a myriad of other diseases in the prime of life. For the first time in history, children are not destined to live longer, healthier lives than their parents.”

Divided into 18 chapters, the book explores the epidemiology and genomics of the syndrome, available pharmaceutical therapies, and its damaging impact on each of the body’s organs. As the editors note in the preface, “virtually no organ or system is left unscathed,” and the consequences are dire.

“As obese children age, not only will their health be negatively affected, but infertility and pregnancy complications associated with the metabolic syndrome will affect generations to come,” they wrote. “The work force will undoubtedly be affected because of increased sick days and decreased work productivity. It may conceivably result in lower armed service recruits due to failing weight qualifications.”

In addition to Lipshultz, who is professor and chair of pediatrics, associate executive dean for child health and chief of staff at Holtz Children’s Hospital, Miller, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Clinical Research, and Messiah, research associate professor of pediatrics, 24 other UM faculty or staff contributed one or more chapters to the book.

Among them are: Carolyn L. Abitol, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and Wacharee Seeherunvong, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, who wrote the chapter “Metabolic Syndrome and Associated Kidney Disease;”Aymin Delgado-Borrego, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics, who contributed “Metabolic Syndrome and Related Liver Diseases;” Erick Forno, M.D., M.P.H., and Annabelle Quizon, M.D., assistant professors of pediatrics, who wrote “The Relationship Between Asthma, Sleep Apnea, and Other Respiratory Disorders and Childhood Metabolic Syndrome;” Muhammad Yasir Qureshi, M.D., resident, and James D. Wilkinson, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Clinical Research, who with Lipshultz wrote “The Relationship of Childhood Obesity with Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure;” Noor Kassira, M.D., resident, Valerie Ann Marks, B.A., research assistant, and Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, M.D., associate professor of surgery, who contributed “Bariatric Surgery to Reverse Metabolic Syndrome in Adolescents;’’ Evadnie Rampersaud, Ph.D., research assistant professor of human genetics, and Maria A. Ciliberti, M.P.H., research support specialist, who contributed “Genomics of Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome;” and Gabriel Somarriba, DPT, assistant professor of pediatrics, who wrote, “Physical Activity Assessment and Intervention.”

Other contributors are from Yale University, the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, the University of Toronto, and New York University School of Medicine, among others.

The print edition is expected to be available by the end of April.

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