Archive for February 2013

Monthly Archive

Study shows diet can be major source of chemical exposures

Spices

Your water bottle may have a BPA-free label, and you try to avoid cooking food in plastic containers. But you may still be exposed to chemicals in the food you eat, even if you’re eating an organic diet and your meals are cooked and stored in non-plastic containers, according to a study published February 27 in the Nature Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

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Family connection, one-on-one intervention help prevent teen pregnancy

Teen pregnancy test

While the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States has declined in recent years, it remains the highest among industrialized nations. More than 750,000 high-school-age girls become pregnant every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a new study suggests that intervention approaches that combine contraception and condom education with leadership training, one-on-one coaching, and peer engagement can help reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in teen girls.

The study, published Feb. 25 in JAMA Pediatrics, followed more than 200 high-risk 13- to 17-year-old girls for two years. The girls were coached in everything from choosing the right birth control to developing better relationships with their parents to asking a partner to use a condom.

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Super glue helps doctors safely remove venous malformations

kaleb_after_print

Super glue. What can’t it do?

Fix a broken flower vase? Check.

Hold together a Halloween costume? Check.

Allow surgeons to safely remove tangled clumps of extra veins that are otherwise tricky and dangerous to treat? Check.

That’s right. A team from Seattle Children’s has pioneered a safer method to remove venous malformations in the head and neck by first injecting them with n-butyl cyanoacrylate (n-BCA) glue, a medical variation of the familiar household super-adhesive.

The team published a report of their novel technique last month in the journal Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

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For children’s behavior, TV content as important as quantity

Children imitate what they see on the screen, both good and bad behavior. This effect of television and video programming can be applied to positively impact children’s behavior according to a study published online in Pediatrics on Feb. 18. The study, “Modifying media content for preschool children: A randomized controlled trial,” was led by Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

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Two kids, two heart defects – One family’s journey

For the Millers of Silverdale, Wash., Valentine’s Day is extra special this year. For the first time in five years, their calendar is free of surgeries and hospital stays for siblings Tessa and Gabriel, who were both born with heart defects.

A complicated, changing diagnosis

The Millers’ complicated journey began in 2008, before Tessa was even born. Ariana and Chris learned that she had Down Syndrome and an atrioventricular septal defect (also known as an AV canal defect). The defect occurs when the heart doesn’t form properly before birth, leaving a hole in the middle of the upper and lower chambers.

Tessa 7.14.12

Even while she was still pregnant, Ariana began seeing Seattle Children’s Heart Center team. Soon after Tessa’s birth, she met Terry Chun, MD, who has cared for Tessa since she was just a few days old.

“This family has been incredibly resilient,” Chun says. “Even before Tessa was born they’d gotten the news that she had heart disease, but then after she was born, it turned out that she had more complicated heart disease than was initially thought.”

Most babies with Tessa’s defect will need just one surgery when they’re between four and six months old. Instead, she has had five surgeries in less than four years – the first when she was just five months old.

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Honoring my brother and former U.S. Ambassador, Chris Stevens

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, in the field

It was 5:30 in the morning on Sept. 12, 2012. I had just fallen asleep, having been up all night talking with foreign service officers in the State Department, first with news that the Benghazi Mission had been attacked and that my brother was missing, then hours later that he had not survived the night. I called my brother and sister, our parents, and my brother’s girlfriend.

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Building Hope, Part 3: Sustainable and green architecture

A 130,000-pound scarlet oak tree  salvaged and replanted on the Builidng Hope site.

A 130,000-pound scarlet oak tree salvaged and replanted on the Building Hope site.

After several years of planning, Seattle Children’s will open its new Building Hope expansion for cancer, critical and emergency care in a mere 10 weeks. Significant attention has gone into creating the most comfortable, safe and practical spaces for our patients and their family.

We’ve also been attentive in making sure sustainable and “green” design elements are being woven into the make-up of the building. It’s part of our effort to maintain our beautiful Pacific Northwest environment, and because we know that green architecture is healthiest for our staff and those we serve.

 Saving energy, water and preserving habitat

Children’s goal is to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council shortly after Building Hope opens. To do that, we have to meet eco-friendly standards for site development, resource consumption, materials selection and the indoor environment – the building blocks of sustainable design and construction.

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Children’s helps state catch ‘Bubble Boy’ condition in newborns

Troy Torgerson's lab helped the state prep for SCID newborn screening

As the 2013 to 2015 state budget moves toward approval this year, immunology researchers and clinicians at Seattle Children’s will be following it as closely as many of us followed last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

They will be cheering for one small line item deep inside the document: A provision to ensure every baby born in Washington is screened at birth for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare condition that makes it impossible to fight off infection.

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Patients’ imaginations come alive in animation workshop

As part of Seattle Children’s collaboration with Children’s Film Festival Seattle, professional animators Charlotte Blacker from England and Britta Johnson from Seattle offered two days of animation workshops to hospital patients.

With short stories featuring a wide range of objects and characters from aliens, exploding stars to “banana slips”, patients’ imaginations came alive as they created their stop motion animation films.

To make the films each patient came up with a story idea, made their characters or objects that would be in their film and then moved them in small increments between individually photographed frames. Once the frames were played together as a continuous sequence, their animation was born.

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Maternal exposure to outdoor air pollution associated with low birth weights worldwide

Rush hour

Mothers who are exposed to particulate air pollution, the type produced by vehicles and power plants, are more likely to bear children of low birth weight, according to an international study published today. The study was led by the University of California, San Francisco, and the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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