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Epilepsy Research Confirms that Surgery at a Young Age is Beneficial

Bailey Moser, age 5

Bailey Moser, age 5

Neurosurgeons at Seattle Children’s Hospital have long suspected that epilepsy patients who have surgery earlier in life have better outcomes than those that wait. Now they have data to confirm their instincts.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, lead author Dr. Hillary Shurtleff, neuropsychologist and investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute Center for Integrative Brain Research, found that early surgical treatment of focal seizures – those that affect only one area of the brain – in preschool aged children is highly beneficial. The results showed that surgery can reduce the amount of seizures and the number of medications patients are on while helping improve intelligence outcomes. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Offers Summer Scholars Program for Underserved Teens

summer scholars 2

The attendees of the summer scholars program visiting Pike Place Market.

Most teens aren’t keen on spending summer days in camp; they’ve outgrown sleeping bags and roasting s’mores. That’s why the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is hosting this week a summer scholars program designed to help teens create their own research projects on teen health and media.

Led by Dr. Megan Moreno, principal investigator of the SMAHRT team, the summer scholars program will ask 25 teens ages 16-18, mostly from the Kent and Highline school districts, to help design and answer their own research questions such as:

  • How does Instagram affect adolescents’ well-being?
  • Can you be addicted to the Internet?
  • Does Facebook influence health behaviors for college students?

The students will also learn about different types of research that seek to improve child and adolescent health while experiencing different paths to a career in research or healthcare. Read full post »

Research Finds Preschoolers Need More Opportunities for Active Play

outdoor playThe early childhood years are crucial for learning and development which should always involve a great deal of outdoor physical activity and playtime, but new research shows that’s not always the case. Results from a two-year study published today in Pediatrics show that children in daycares and preschools were presented with only 48 minutes of opportunities for physically active play per day — significantly less than what’s recommended. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education and Let’s Move! Child Care recommend that children should receive at least 120 minutes of active play time daily, including child-led free play and teacher-led play. Read full post »

Promising Research Trials Find New Combination of Drugs Treat Underlying Cause of Most Common Form of Cystic Fibrosis

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor at the University of Washington

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington

Results from two phase 3 clinical trials published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine show that a new combination of medications can successfully treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis for patients age 12 and older with two copies of the F508del gene mutation – the most common form of the life-threatening, genetic disease found in over half of the cystic fibrosis (CF) population. Approximately 8,500 people in the U.S., and 22,000 people in North America, Europe and Australia, age 12 and older with cystic fibrosis carry this gene mutation.

The international trial, which studied more than 1,000 cystic fibrosis patients age 12 and older, revealed that a combination of the drugs Kalydeco (ivacaftor) and lumacaftor, an experimental drug that has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), successfully treated the defective CF protein and improved lung function. The drugs also helped patients achieve a 40 percent reduction in pulmonary exacerbations, the leading cause of death in cystic fibrosis patients. Read full post »

Family Genetics Study Reveals New Clues to Autism Risk

Dr. Raphael Bernier

Dr. Raphael Bernier

Dr. Raphael Bernier, clinical director of the Autism Center and investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute has continued his quest to identify genetic mutations that are linked to autism. In a new paper published in Nature Genetics, Bernier and his collaborators at the University of Washington discovered evidence that some children with autism were more likely to have inherited gene mutations most often occurring from mothers to sons.

On the Pulse sat down with Bernier to learn more about these exciting findings. Read full post »

Abnormal Genes Could Indicate Susceptibility for Kawasaki Disease, New Study Suggests

Dr. Michael Portman

Dr. Michael Portman

Abnormal genes found in Kawasaki disease patients could pave the way for early detection and treatment of not only Kawasaki disease but also many other inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study recently published in the International Journal of Immunogenetics.

The study, titled “Imputation of class I and II HLA loci using high-density SNPs from ImmunoChip and their associations with Kawasaki disease in family-based study,” looked at blood and saliva DNA samples provided by 112 Kawasaki disease patients and their biological parents. The goal of the study was to identify possible genetic mutations, said author Dr. Michael Portman, a Seattle Children’s Hospital cardiologist and member of the Center for Developmental Therapeutics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Researchers to Present at Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting

Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)

Dr. Megan Moreno (top) and Dr. Annika Hofstetter (bottom)

Seattle Children’s has the honor of having over 100 doctors and researchers slated to present at the 2015 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting. This is the largest international meeting focused on children’s health research and clinical implications.

On the Pulse is highlighting two Seattle Children’s researchers who will be presenting their exciting new research: Dr. Megan Moreno and Dr. Annika Hofstetter.

Using media to understand mechanisms of behavior change

Dr. Megan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health and Behavioral Development is leading the way in adolescent social media (SM) use research. In her PAS presentation she will highlight key adolescent health issues pertaining to the SM landscape.

Over 90 percent of adolescents use SM, where they may display risky behaviors and describe their health attitudes, intentions and behaviors in ways that can be measured, Moreno said. Read full post »

Fighting a Nameless Battle, Racing for Research

Alyssa Bowen

Alyssa Bowen

Alyssa Bowen appears to be an average 15-year-old on the outside, but inside, her body is fighting a civil war. Her immune system is hyperactive, creating antibodies to attack her own blood cells, platelets, white blood cells and tissues. Despite the extensive efforts of doctors and nurses, they have not been able to offer Alyssa an exact diagnosis.

Alyssa has been coming to Seattle Children’s Hospital from a very young age. She has had many hospitalizations and a variety medications and treatments to help her manage her puzzling condition and the pain associated with it. Read full post »

New Research Shows Link Between SIDS and Inner Ear Damage

Dr. Daniel Rubens, Seattle Children's Hospital Anesthesiologist

Dr. Daniel Rubens, Seattle Children’s Hospital Anesthesiologist

Two Seattle Children’s Hospital doctors have teamed up as an unlikely pair working to find an answer to one of the most elusive pediatric mysteries: what causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? One is a pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Rubens, the other is the Director of the Center for Integrative Brain Research, Nino Ramirez, Ph.D. With help from Travis Allen, a nurse anesthetist at Seattle Children’s, the two researchers are hoping to provide answers to families who have lost babies to SIDS and help medical professionals better understand the risk factors.

On the Pulse caught up with Rubens recently to answer a few of the most common questions about SIDS and his research.

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 »