On the Pulse

Genetics Research Improves Diagnosis, Treatment of Rare Metabolic Diseases Around the World

Dr. Sihoun Hahn led a collaborative research study which helped a 10-year-old girl walk for the first time in her life.

Dr. Sihoun Hahn led a collaborative research study which helped a 10-year-old girl walk for the first time in her life.

A collaborative research study led by Dr. Sihoun Hahn, director of the Biochemical Genetics program at Seattle Children’s and an investigator within Seattle Children Research Institute’s Center for Developmental Therapeutics, has changed the lives of children around the world and helped a 10-year-old girl walk for the first time.

Research answers a parent’s prayer

Bokyung Kim, a 10-year-old living in Korea, spent most of her life confined to a wheelchair. Doctors suspected that she suffered from muscular dystrophy, but were unable to diagnose her condition. Bokyung’s parents prayed that their daughter would walk one day. So when they had the opportunity to enroll Bokyung in a collaborative research study between Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington School of Medicine and Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea, her parents were eager to participate.

“This family never lost hope for their child,” Hahn said. “And neither did we.” Read full post »

Researchers Use Social Media to Gauge Suicide Risk

social mediaA Seattle Children’s researcher is chasing an elusive goal: finding a way to know when adolescents and young adults who contemplate suicide might actually try to harm themselves.

“Suicide risk rises and falls but it’s really hard to tell when it’s rising, even when you’re regularly seeing a patient,” said Dr. Molly Adrian, a psychologist at Seattle Children’s and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development.

Now, Adrian is pursuing an innovative solution – a computerized system that would search adolescents’ social media posts for signs of crisis and alert a medical specialist or family member when someone needs immediate help. Read full post »

Music Therapy: Treating the Souls and Spirits of Patients

David Knott and Betsy Hartman may not wear a white coat or operate a stethoscope, but for patients at Seattle Children’s, they offer a unique kind of medicine in the form of music. Both board-certified music therapists, Knott and Hartman pair their musical talents with their passion to help heal patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital through music therapy.

Music therapy is the use of music to achieve non-musical goals, such as reducing the perception of pain, providing opportunities for non-verbal expression and facilitating rehabilitation and relaxation. Knott and Hartman use singing, listening to music and playing instruments to help treat patients of all ages spanning a variety of health issues. Read full post »

NASCAR Driver Kasey Kahne Surprises Kids at Seattle Children’s, Supports Strong Against Cancer

Nicolas Tobias - Web

Kasey Kahne today took some time away from the race track to visit patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, and Enumclaw, Wash., native made a surprise visit to the hospital after announcing that he’ll be teaming up with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to help put an end to childhood cancer by choosing Strong Against Cancer as this year’s beneficiary of their fundraising event, The DRIVE.

With toys in hand, he brought much needed smiles and brightened the day for patients and families. The hospital was revving with excitement as Kahne met with kids and teens in a race of their own – a race to feel better and get back to life outside the hospital walls. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Opens New Onsite Bicycle Service Center for Staff, Encourages Alternative Transportation

Featureblog1It’s no secret that traffic congestion is a problem in Seattle. If it feels like it has gotten worse lately, it’s not just you. A new study released last week by the Puget Sound Regional Council found that delays on regional freeways have gone up by more than 52% since 2010.

Seattle already has the fourth worst traffic in the nation, and with more and more new residents moving into the Puget Sound, leaders in the community and employers alike are working to find innovative commuting solutions.

Seattle Children’s Hospital has long been on the forefront of this movement, having provided bonuses to incentivize staff to leave their cars at home while commuting, as well as more recently serving as the first business sponsoring Seattle’s bike share system, Pronto Cycle Share. In addition to these ongoing initiatives, on March 19, Seattle Children’s will host the grand opening of Seattle Children’s Staff Bicycle Service Center, an on-site bike shop for employees with free maintenance and discounted cycling gear open three days per week, year-round.

Read full post »

Study Suggests Fecal Transplant Could Be Effective Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Dr. David Suskind, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research and a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, led a research study treating patients with Crohn's disease using fecal microbiota transplant.

Dr. David Suskind, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research, led a research study treating patients with Crohn’s disease using fecal microbiota transplant.

Results of the first FDA-approved study treating patients with Crohn’s disease using fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) suggest it could be an effective new treatment.

A recent publication in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases titled, “Fecal Microbial Transplant Effect on Clinical Outcomes and Fecal Microbiome in Active Crohn’s Disease,” reports seven of nine patients with Crohn’s disease were effectively treated using FMT in a Seattle Children’s research study.

“This research could change the way Crohn’s disease is treated and help unravel the mystery of what causes it,” said Dr. David Suskind, the study’s lead investigator, who is a member of Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Clinical and Translational Research and a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Read full post »

Research on Common Bacteria Could Prevent Stillbirths, Premature Births

Dr. Lakshmi Rajagopal is trying to better understand the common bacteria Group B Streptococcus and how infections occur before birth.

Dr. Lakshmi Rajagopal is trying to better understand the common bacteria Group B Streptococcus and how infections occur before birth.

A study led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute and published today in EMBO Molecular Medicine, titled “A Streptococcal Lipid Toxin Induces Membrane Permeabilization and Pyroptosis Leading to Fetal Injury,” reveals new information on the common bacteria Group B Streptococcus (GBS). Researchers hope these discoveries could one day be used to prevent premature births and stillbirths.

A global problem

Preterm birth and early onset infections lead to approximately 1.4 million neonatal deaths worldwide each year. In the United States, 30% of infants born are premature. In developing countries, the problem is much more severe. Nonetheless, there is no effective therapy to prevent preterm birth and stillbirth, in part because of the lack of information on factors contributing to in utero infections. Read full post »

Captain America Joins Friend Chris Pratt to Surprise Kids at Seattle Children’s

Marvel superhero Chris Evans (Captain America) and friend Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) today made good on a friendly bet that started between the two on Twitter in January after the National Football League playoffs.

The hospital was abuzz as Evans and Pratt brought joy to patients and families at Seattle Children’s. Much like their superhero alter egos, they saved the day in the eyes of the children and teens at the hospital. Read full post »

New Clinic Offers Families the Chance to Challenge Food Allergies

Colin Wenrick, 6, had a frightening allergic reaction to a granola bar when he was just 2 years old. Even after an allergy skin test, his mom was not sure which foods he was truly allergic to.

Colin Wenrick, 6, had a frightening allergic reaction to a granola bar when he was just 2 years old. Even after an allergy skin test, his mom was not sure which foods he was truly allergic to.

Jennifer Wenrick’s son Colin, 6, had a frightening allergic reaction to a granola bar when he was just 2 years old. After consuming the snack, he immediately broke out with hives and began vomiting.

“It was terrifying,” Wenrick said. “I knew something was seriously wrong right away and rushed him to the doctor.”

Soon after, Colin was screened for food allergies and tested positive for peanut, tree nut and sesame seed allergies. For the next three years, Wenrick vigilantly kept her son away from these foods.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Wenrick said. “Food allergies permeate every aspect of your life, from traveling to preschool to Halloween candy. Every time he ate I could feel myself tensing in fear.”

But recently, Wenrick learned Colin could safely enjoy peanut products after he participated in a food allergy challenge at Seattle Children’s Food Allergy Challenge Clinic, part of the Seattle Food Allergy Consortium. Read full post »

Cyberbullying Linked to Increase in Depression Among Female College Students

cyberbullyingAs social media, texting and internet use have become a part of daily life, researchers have observed the strong presence of cyberbullying and have begun to show concern about its effects. And while many may presume that bullying is mostly a problem in in the gradeschool years, a new study shows that college students are engaging in these behaviors as well.

The study led by Dr. Ellen Selkie, adolescent medicine doctor at Seattle Children’s Hospital and researcher in the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that more than 1 in 4 females have experienced cyberbullying in college, thus increasing their risk for depression three-fold. Furthermore, the study found that those who acted as the bullies were more likely to report problematic alcohol abuse and also depression. Read full post »