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Six Nutrition Myths Debunked

It’s back-to-school time and back to heavily scheduled days of after-school activities, homework, sports, music lessons, and more. With all there is to juggle in a day, it’s tempting to believe some of the myths about nutrition that may promise to make it easier and faster to feed our children well.

We checked in with Seattle Children’s nutrition team to find out the truth behind some of the more common nutrition myths.

Here’s what we learned: Read full post »

The Cat Immersion Project: The Next Best Thing to Being There in Purrrson

Many of the cancer patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital are here for months at a time and far from the comforts of home – including the presence of their much-loved family pets. To make matters worse, these patients often need to be in isolation due to their compromised immune systems, cutting them off from the social support that can be a lifeline during a long course of treatment.

Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem is one such patient. Maga spent more than seven months at Children’s in 2011 waiting for a compatible bone marrow donor, eventually undergoing a transplant. A 16-year-old cat-lover, back at Children’s for post-transplant treatment, Maga is confined to her room and hasn’t seen her beloved cat, Merry, in nearly a month.

The staff at Children’s decided to do something about that. While they couldn’t bring Merry to Maga, they did the next best thing. A call to Children’s Facebook fans to post their favorite cat photos for Maga sparked an overwhelming response: fans sent more than 3,000 photos along with comments and heartfelt get well wishes.

Maga, touched by the outpouring of support, responded with …”You guys remind me that there is so much good in the world, and it just makes me feel so much better, and connected. I can’t tell you how it feels sometimes, feeling disconnected and cut off from the world, and then with something like cat pictures bringing me back. Thank you all for your kind words, and well wishing. Its means more than you can ever know. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you…”

With more than enough photos, staff got to work and created the Cat Immersion Project. Using the photos fans sent and adding some creative magic with sound, sheets, and projectors, they created a virtual cat cocoon, making Merry seem just a little bit closer.

Watch Maga experience the Cat Immersion installation for the first time:

Read full post »

New Study Clarifies Risks for SIDS

The rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has dropped dramatically (more than 50%) since the 1994 Back-to-Sleep Campaign launched, advising caregivers to place infants on their backs to sleep. However, SIDS remains the leading cause of death among infants  1-12 months old in the U.S. In a study recently published in Pediatrics, researchers identified the risk factors of 568 SIDS deaths from 1991 to 2008, providing insights into the underlying mechanisms of this tragic syndrome. In this videoSeattle Mama Doc, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, summarizes the key findings of this study and offers tips to parents and caregivers on how to reduce the risk of SIDS .

 

If you’d like to arrange an interview with Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson,  please contact Children’s PR team at 206-987-4500 or press@seattlechildrens.org.


New Study Highlights Need for Medical Interpreters

Study: Doctors’ Language Tests Spotlight Need to Provide Interpreters in Medical Settings

Issue

The U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Reports, in 2006, 13.7% of U.S. children under age 5 lived in a home where a parent or guardian spoke English less than “very well”. In medical settings, where effective communication between provider and patient is essential to quality care, language barriers have a negative impact. Research has shown that language barriers affect patient satisfaction and compliance, cost, medical errors, and risk of litigation.

While many doctors in the U.S. have some ability to communicate in a foreign language, there are no standards that determine what degree of proficiency is required to communicate effectively with patients. Often, doctors are left to determine themselves whether they’re up to the task of discussing complex medical information in a foreign language. They may not be the best judges of their own abilities. Read full post »

Protecting Children from Harmful Effects of Violence in the News

Issue

Tragic news of multiple fatal shootings rocked Seattle today.

Children can be especially at risk to experience fear and anxiety as reactions to these events. Research shows that children who witness violence  in regular news coverage, as well as in their families, schools and communities, are vulnerable to serious long-term emotional harm.

In the video below, Dr. Bob Hilt, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, discusses ways parents can help their children cope during disasters such as earthquakes,  man-made disasters, and random acts of violence.

Read full post »

Study Shows Hypertonic Saline Ineffective with Very Young CF Patients

Issue

While tremendous advancements have been made over the past several decades in treating cystic fibrosis (CF), many CF therapies are not one-size-fits-all.  What works for adult patients doesn’t necessarily help very young patients.  And yet, it’s critical to begin therapies early in life to delay lung disease caused by CF from progressing.

Inhaled hypertonic (extra salty) saline is one such therapy recommended for many CF patients age 6 or older, but its effectiveness has never been evaluated in patients age 5 or younger.  Despite this, since 2007 inhaled hypertonic saline has been increasingly used among U.S. children with CF ages 2 to 5.

Several years ago, Australian researchers stumbled on the benefits of hypertonic saline when they noticed that surfers with CF had fewer respiratory flare-ups than people with CF who didn’t surf.  The researchers speculated that the salty mist of ocean water lessened respiratory CF symptoms and their subsequent study confirmed their hypothesis.
Read full post »

Kelly Clarkson Shares a Special Message with Seattle Children’s Hospital Cancer Patients

It didn’t take Kelly Clarkson very long to find out about Seattle Children’s Hospital patient Chris Rumble’s uplifting music video of her song “Stronger.” Chris posted the video on Sunday and by Tuesday Kelly tweeted, “Oh my goodness y’all have to see this! It’s beautiful! I can’t wait to visit these kids and nurses! It’s Seattle Children’s Hospital, I believe. God Bless y’all!”

Kelly was so moved that today she sent a video response to Chris and all the patients, families, and staff in Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Hematology Oncology unit. Everyone was so excited to hear from her, including many of the video’s star performers.

Check out Kelly’s video and the excitement it created with our patients, families and staff:

If you haven’t heard, check out the history of the video.

Resources

What You Need to Know about Organ Donation

Issue

Good news! Today, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a plan to encourage Facebook users to indicate their organ donor status on their Facebook pages. Under the plan, Facebook members can register to become organ donors via links on Facebook to online state registries. Given the company’s social networking muscle and global reach, some organ donation experts are speculating Facebook’s plan could radically increase the number of registered organ donors in the coming months.

“Transplantation is the best solution to end stage organ failure. This is a historic moment for organ donation and awareness. Organ shortage is a global public health problem. Mark Zuckerberg’s initiative, with Facebook’s global impact, will tremendously increase awareness which will result in more lives being saved, ” said André A.S. Dick, MD, MPH, FACS, Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Transplantation at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “As of today, there are 114,000 wait list candidates in the U. S. and the gap between donors and recipients is increasing every year. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the transplant community support the campaign and hope it goes viral.”

Read full post »

Whooping Cough Reaches Epidemic Levels in Washington State

Issue

Pertussis, aka “whooping cough”, has reached epidemic levels in Washington state and elsewhere throughout the country.  Whooping cough, an infection of the respiratory system, spreads from person to person easily and can be life-threatening.  Infants and children who haven’t been immunized can get seriously ill if they get whooping cough.

Public health officials are asking everyone to make sure they’re up-to-date with vaccines. It’s especially important for anyone who has close contact with babies younger than 12 months to get vaccinated to help protect the baby from whooping cough. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, health care providers, and child care providers.

Experts believe a growing hesitancy toward vaccination in general,  as well as the fact that many adults don’t realize they need to get vaccinated against pertussis have contributed to Washington’s whooping cough epidemic.  Vaccination decreases the chance of contracting and spreading whooping cough. Read full post »

Springtime Drowning Risks in Open Waters

Issue

In the U.S., drowning is the second-leading cause of injury death for children, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.  Most drownings occur in lakes and rivers. Children ages 1-4 and 15-19 are at highest risk. Non-fatal drownings are nearly five times higher in number, and can cause long-term disabilities including brain damage, memory problems, learning disabilities or permanent loss of basic functioning.

Why we should be talking about this now

While the weather is warming up, lakes, rivers and streams in the many parts of the country are still extremely cold, and snowpack melt feeds rivers that are running deep, cold and swift.  Sadly, it is at this time of year that drowning deaths often occur as people venture into these waters without appropriate lifesaving gear and lifeguard protection. Preparation, planning and extreme caution in activities around open water are needed to prevent drowning.  Read full post »