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Now hear this: Children's Hospital and Pitt get $8.2 million for quicker ear infection fix

A quicker ear-infection cure involving less medicine, fewer side effects and a decreased chance of developing antibiotic immunity that's the aim of an $8.2 million grant awarded to UPMC's Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine by the National Institutes of Health.

Until 2004, children with ear infections were routinely treated with antibiotics but were becoming resistant too often to the medication. Pediatric experts then recommended that doctors hold off on treating kids with uncertain diagnoses and mild symptoms, but the question has not been studied in depth until now. The new study of 600 patients will see whether physicians can employ half the duration of antibiotics and still cure ear infections, while reducing the number of children developing resistance at the same time.

Alejandro Hoberman, M.D., a professor of pediatrics in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's Hospital, says Children's and Pitt were among just eight institutions chosen nationwide for such a study this decade.

"The real issue has been, we were not clear under what circumstances [which] is the preferred treatment strategy," says Hoberman. The four-year study is already being designed and should begin accepting patients in October.

Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Alejandro Hoberman, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine/Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
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