Background: Crying is called "Infantile colic" when such cries are numerous, paroxystic, difficult to comfort, and without an obvious cause.
Methodology: An information mailing on the study (named Encolie) and the associated methodology was distributed in April 1995 to 212 private practice pediatricians. They have included in the study all infants aged 15 to 119 days who were seen during consultation from June 12 to June 27. They filled out a two page, 32 item, epidemiological questionnaire. Question 31 asked; "following this consultation, would you call for an 'infantile colic' diagnosis for this child? Yes, no. if no, what is your diagnosis?"
Results: One hundred and sixty-nine private practice pediatricians out of 212 (79.7%) participated in the study, and have included 2,797 infants 2,773 infant files were analyzed. The 625 infants identified as "colic" (22.5% of all cases), differed from the 2,148 identified as "non-colic" by the following factors: average age (51.3 vs 61.3 days), birth weight (2,226 vs 3,307 g), being a first born (52.7 vs 45.1% of cases), and mother's anxiety (47.8 vs 29.1% of cases). Significant differences were observed concerning feeding behavior (slow or gluttonous feeding), digestive symptoms, and unexplained crying, always more frequent in the case of the infants identified as "colic". These infants received more drugs, and their parents were given more advice on diet and hygiene. The symptoms supporting the "infantile colic" diagnosis were derived using a statistical regression model. They included: frequent and/or unexplained crying at the time of the study, frequent and/or unexplained crying in the past, abdominal distention at the time of the clinical examination, and frequent gas emissions as indicated by parental questioning. Factors associated with this diagnosis were: young age of the child, drugs administered before the consultation, maternal anxiety, anomalies in feeding behavior, and to a lesser degree, low birth weight and mother or father atopy.
Conclusion: Given the sample size and origin, and the rigor of both the study and the analysis, we believe that these data could be extrapolated to the usual pediatrician's patient population. This highlighting of differences between our two groups indicate the validity of this diagnosis.