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For a long time in the middle and late twentieth century it was widely believed, on the basis of inadequate studies, that persistent otitis media with effusion in young children would impair several aspects of development unless the effusions were drained promptly by inserting tympanostomy tubes. Now attitudes have changed, in large part because of a long-term follow-up study in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A total of 6350 healthy 2–61 day old infants were enrolled between 1991 and 1995. They …