When Brain Surgery Is the Family Business: A Father’s Day Story

Dr. Jeff Ojemann with his dad, Dr. George Ojemann

Dr. Jeff Ojemann with his dad, Dr. George Ojemann.

For Dr. Jeff Ojemann, chief of the Neurosurgery Division and director of epilepsy surgery at Seattle Children’s, neuroscience is not just a passion – it’s the family business. His father, Dr. George Ojemann, was also a neurosurgeon and a national pioneer in the treatment of epilepsy.

As we near Father’s Day, we asked Ojemann about his dad and how their relationship influenced his career choice. Read full post »

Research Continues to Disprove Link Between Autism and Vaccines

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Dr. Bryan King worries that each time the media includes the MMR vaccine and autism in the same sentence, even if reporting the lack of association, the false idea of a linkage between the two is perpetuated.

A significant body of validated research over the last 15 years has found no link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorders, yet the false myth that this vaccine may cause or intensify the disorder continues to circulate among some families of children with autism. As a result, some parents delay or forgo the life-saving MMR vaccine for their children.

A new study, led by The Lewin Group and titled “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among U.S. Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism,” has been published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This study further refuted the concern that children who are at higher risk of developing autism could be negatively impacted by the MMR vaccine. The study included approximately 95,000 children with older siblings and found that receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with an increased risk of autism, regardless of whether older siblings had autism.

Dr. Bryan King, director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, has written an editorial published in the same JAMA issue addressing this research and the controversies that surround it. On the Pulse sat down with King to learn more about these important issues. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Research Institute to Host International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology

Dr. Mike Jensen, director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, will be a keynote speaker at the 4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology.

Dr. Mike Jensen, director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, will be a keynote speaker at the 4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology.

On Sept. 25 and 26, Seattle Children’s Research Institute will host the 4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology (CIPO2015), “Examining the Emerging Therapeutic Potential of Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology.” This two-day program brings together scientists and healthcare leaders from around the world to discuss the latest immunotherapy research in the field of pediatric oncology.

“We expect to bring together hundreds of national and international oncology and immunology professionals with the goal of providing opportunities for scientific exchange, collaboration, problem-solving and mentoring,” said Dr. Mike Jensen, director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “The conference will provide a venue to present new data and explore emerging concepts in an effort to bring immune-based therapies to more children with pediatric cancer.” Read full post »

Clinical Trials Aim to Determine Best ADHD Treatments

Dr. Mark Stein is leading several ongoing research studies to improve ADHD treatments.

Dr. Mark Stein is leading several ongoing research studies to improve ADHD treatments.

Seattle Children’s Program to Evaluate and Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL) clinic aims to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and associated problems using the newest and most effective treatments available. To determine which of those treatments is most appropriate for each patient, Dr. Mark Stein, director of the PEARL Clinic and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, is leading several ongoing research studies that are currently enrolling patients. Read full post »

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 »

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 »

Study Predicts Which Children with Craniosynostosis Most Likely to Suffer From Learning Deficits

After Olivia Bush was diagnosed with single-suture craniosynostosis at just 3 months old, her parents did not know how the condition would affect her brain development over time. A new study led by Seattle Children's is addressing these concerns.

After Olivia Bush was diagnosed with single-suture craniosynostosis, her parents did not know how her brain would develop over time. A new study led by Seattle Children’s is addressing these concerns.

Seattle Children’s researchers have published the results of a 10-year, multi-site study tracking the cognitive development of children with single-suture craniosynostosis from infancy to school age. The results could help families and clinicians better predict which children with this condition are at greater risk of having learning deficits so that they might intervene early in the child’s life.

The study, published today by the American Academy of Pediatrics and titled “Intellectual and Academic Functioning of School-Age Children with Single-Suture Craniosynostosis,” reported children with single-suture craniosynostosis, on average, were more likely than children without the disorder to have learning deficits once they started school. However, despite this trend, a little over half of the children with single-suture craniosynostosis showed no discernible learning problems.

Living with the unknown

The research is significant for parents like Cindy and Todd Bush. Twelve years ago, Cindy and Todd learned their 3-month-old daughter, Olivia, had craniosynostosis, a condition in which one or more of the special joints in a baby’s skull (sutures) grow together (fuse) earlier than normal. When these joints come together too early, a baby’s skull cannot grow properly. Craniosynostosis occurs in approximately one in 1700-2500 live births. Corrective surgery to restore the suture is preferentially performed in the first year of life. Read full post »