On the Pulse

Seahawks Bring Joy to 12s Big and Small at Seattle Children’s

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Reef, 16 months old, poses for a photo with Richard Sherman.

Blue Tuesday at Seattle Children’s was a little more spirited today thanks to a special visit from the Seattle Seahawks players and members of the Sea Gals. Patients and families were all smiles as they got to meet their favorite football players during the team’s annual Captain’s Blitz visit.

“It was so exciting,” said Joanna Gromadzki. Gromadzki’s 16-month-old son, Reef Gromadzki-Johnson, has been a patient since he was 2 months old after he was diagnosed with pulmonary vein stenosis. “Seattle Children’s is like a second home to us, we’ve been here for so long. Today was special. We’re huge fans of the Seahawks!”

The Seahawks visit really brightened the day for Reef and other 12s in the hospital, and brought holiday cheer to some young and loyal fans. Read full post »

Give the Gift of a Healthier Baby: Seattle Children’s Partners on Monthly Subscription With Cricket Crate

Seattle Children’s is partnering with Cricket Crate, a monthly subscription service developed by Kiwi Crate, Inc. that gets babies and parents started on the right path to child health. Proceeds from sales support child health and behavior research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

If there’s a new baby in the family or someone you know is expecting, what better way to show your love than a gift that encourages healthy child development and supports pediatric research? Seattle Children’s is partnering with Cricket Crate, a monthly subscription service developed by Kiwi Crate, Inc. that aims to get babies and parents started on the right path to child health. The monthly boxes include age-appropriate items for newborns and toddlers up to 3 years of age.

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, helps design the content of the boxes. Each month, parents receive a package with an age-specific toy or product, a book to read to your baby, a short magazine with tips and an online toolkit. Proceeds from the sales benefit child health and behavior research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Read full post »

Teen Gives Back to the Hospital That Saved His Life

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Skyler, 17, poses with a sock puppet he designed.

When Skyler Hamilton was born, his mother called him her miracle baby. He was perfect.

It wasn’t until he turned 7 years old when the family noticed something wasn’t quite right. What started as a limp quickly progressed into something unimaginable.

Three months later, Skyler was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor, medulloblastoma.

On August 13, 2006, Skyler was admitted to Seattle Children’s. Four days later, he had surgery to have the tumor removed.

“His tumor was so advanced,” said Margaret Hamilton, Skyler’s mom. “It was the worst nightmare you could imagine.” Read full post »

Researchers Find Possible Key to Limiting Side Effects From T-Cell Immunotherapy

Dr. Rebecca Gardner, oncologist and lead investigator for Seattle Children's T-cell immunotherapy trial for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Dr. Rebecca Gardner, oncologist and lead investigator for Seattle Children’s PLAT-02 trial.

T-cell immunotherapy continues to take center stage as one of the most promising new cancer therapies of our time. After receiving the therapy, which reprograms a person’s own T cells to detect and destroy cancer, 93% of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who enrolled in Seattle Children’s Pediatric Leukemia Adoptive Therapy (PLAT-02) trial and were unlikely to survive, achieved complete remission. Some are still in remission now more than two years out from the therapy.

This is a message that Dr. Rebecca Gardner, oncologist and lead investigator for the PLAT-02 trial at Seattle Children’s, will be underscoring in her abstract presentations at The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. However, she will also highlight that there is still work to be done, and will present a possible answer to one of the most challenging puzzles facing researchers in the field: How can we limit the possible side effects of the treatment while retaining the effectiveness of the T cells?

“We are in a pivotal time where we know this therapy works in getting patients who are very sick into remission, but now we’re focusing on how to improve the treatment experience, which includes limiting the possible side effects,” said Gardner. “Our latest results mark an exciting milestone where we have potentially found the key to better controlling the body’s reaction to the T cells while still ensuring efficacy.” Read full post »

Honoring Ambassador Chris Stevens: New Medical Exchange Creates Cultural Understanding Across Borders

Ambassador Chris Stevens

Ambassador Chris Stevens’ life was formed by global experiences, and a new endowment in his memory at Seattle Children’s intends to preserve his legacy by connecting pediatricians in Seattle with pediatricians abroad.

When Dr. Anne Stevens thinks of her brother, she remembers his wide-eyed awe about the world around him. That love of discovery is what led her brother, former Ambassador Chris Stevens, to a career in diplomacy with the U.S. State Department.

“Chris was a big believer in international exchange and experiences,” said Stevens, a pediatric rheumatologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “His life was formed by global experiences, and he also inspired my little brother, sister and I to learn foreign languages and study abroad.”

Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans died in the line of service during a tragic attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

Now, a newly funded endowment at Seattle Children’s will preserve his legacy of cultural understanding with a medical exchange that connects pediatricians in Seattle to pediatricians abroad through an intensive training and education program. Read full post »

Living My Life in the Now

morgan_lead_printMorgan Wood has been coming to Seattle Children’s since he was born — and as an adult, he continues to benefit from recreational and social skills classes at the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center.

He is known among both friends and providers for sharing his life mantras, which he developed to work through challenges related to living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Below, Morgan shares six of his mantras and other interesting insights from his life experience.

My name is Morgan Wood and I’m 26 years old. I was born very premature, weighing 729 grams, which is less than two pounds. Because of my weight and a bad infection I had at birth, they tell me I’m sort of a miracle. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Launches STEM Internships at Research Institute

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STEM interns Frewoin Berga and Jennifer Khuc in the lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

At Seattle Children’s Research Institute, doctors and researchers work every day to develop treatments and cures for childhood diseases. With the launch of the Seattle Children’s STEM internships for high school students this year, young people became scientific investigators themselves, working side by side with researchers in the lab.

As part of the new program, eight high school students from around Western Washington learned to use lab equipment, met with mentors and gained valuable research experience.

“I got a good snapshot of what research looks like,” said Kevin Nguyen, 18. “We learned all the nitty-gritty details, like how to maintain a pristine lab notebook, why it’s important to label your test tubes and the developmental phases of research — going from clinical trial to FDA approval.” Read full post »

Baby Born with Rare, Life-Threatening Skin Condition Celebrates Her First Birthday

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Harper Foy was diagnosed with an extremely rare skin condition at birth.

Every routine pregnancy check up had gone well. Angie Foy’s baby had a strong heartbeat, 10 fingers, 10 toes and a cute button nose. There was never any indication something was wrong. So, when the day finally arrived almost a year ago, and Foy started feeling contractions, she and her husband rushed to the hospital feeling excited.

Unfortunately, their excitement soon turned into something else: disbelief.

“We were thrown into a whirlwind,” said Angie Foy.

“I’ll forever remember that moment,” said Foy’s husband, Kevin Foy. “Everything was normal. The doctor told me to get my camera out and take a picture. And then everything just became quiet.”

The world around them stopped, right before chaos erupted. Read full post »

New SIDS Research Shows Carbon Dioxide, Inner Ear Damage May Play Important Role

Dr. Daniel Rubens published a new study that shows the buildup of carbon dioxide and inner ear damage may be linked to SIDS.

Dr. Daniel Rubens published a new study that shows the buildup of carbon dioxide and inner ear damage may be linked to SIDS.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) may be linked to the build up of carbon dioxide and existing inner ear damage according to a new study in the journal Neuroscience. Author Dr. Daniel Rubens, an anesthesiologist and researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, says the finding could help researchers understand the sequence of events and risk factors that lead to SIDS deaths.

“This is potentially an important breakthrough in understanding the biological underpinnings of what may be causing SIDS,” Rubens said. “We found that exposure to increasing levels of carbon dioxide and inner ear damage in mice resulted in a lack of movement toward safety and fresh air during sleep. We want to fine tune this discovery and study the connection to carbon dioxide in more detail.” Read full post »

New Media Guidelines for Kids Move Beyond Screen Time Limits

New media policies from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend creating customized plans for your family’s media use.

In our digital age, it’s not uncommon to see a toddler on an iPad at the airport or a teenager at the mall fixated on a smartphone. To help families establish healthy habits for media use, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new media and screen time policies for children, from infants to teenagers.

The two new policies update previous recommendations and emphasize the importance of critical health behaviors such as sleep, cognitive development and physical activity. The policies recommend those daily priorities be addressed first, followed by mindful selection and engagement with media. Read full post »