Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

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 »

Researchers Use Social Media to Gauge Suicide Risk

social mediaA Seattle Children’s researcher is chasing an elusive goal: finding a way to know when adolescents and young adults who contemplate suicide might actually try to harm themselves.

“Suicide risk rises and falls but it’s really hard to tell when it’s rising, even when you’re regularly seeing a patient,” said Dr. Molly Adrian, a psychologist at Seattle Children’s and investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development.

Now, Adrian is pursuing an innovative solution – a computerized system that would search adolescents’ social media posts for signs of crisis and alert a medical specialist or family member when someone needs immediate help. 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 »

Cyberbullying Linked to Increase in Depression Among Female College Students

cyberbullyingAs social media, texting and internet use have become a part of daily life, researchers have observed the strong presence of cyberbullying and have begun to show concern about its effects. And while many may presume that bullying is mostly a problem in in the gradeschool years, a new study shows that college students are engaging in these behaviors as well.

The study led by Dr. Ellen Selkie, adolescent medicine doctor at Seattle Children’s Hospital and researcher in the Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development, published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, found that more than 1 in 4 females have experienced cyberbullying in college, thus increasing their risk for depression three-fold. Furthermore, the study found that those who acted as the bullies were more likely to report problematic alcohol abuse and also depression. Read full post »

Study Aims to Increase the Life of Organs After Transplant, Uses High-Tech Pill Box

Jack sits with his uncle who donated his kidney to him.

Jack sits with his uncle (right) who donated his kidney to him.

It can be hard enough to remember to take a multivitamin every day; imagine having to take 20 pills at specific times throughout the day, every day, for your whole life. That’s the reality individuals who have undergone an organ transplant must face. In order to stay healthy and to keep their bodies from rejecting their transplanted organ, a myriad of medications must be taken daily, including immunosuppressants. It can be a difficult pill to swallow, especially for teenagers.

According to research studies, adolescents have the worst outcomes after transplant out of any age group. Adolescents also have the highest rate of non-adherence, which means they either decide not to take their medication or just plain forget, which can lead to the rejection of the organ.

“You can imagine taking that many medications every day could get a little old. It’s a major burden to put on a teenager,” said Dr. Jodi Smith, medical director of kidney transplant at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and a researcher with the Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR). “They were not meant to have this much stuff going on in their life. But if you don’t take your meds, you’ll eventfully need another kidney transplant, and once you lose one it’s harder to get another.” 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 »

Possible Link Between Phthalates & Reproductive Health of Male Newborns

A study released today, co-authored by environmental medicine expert Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, reports male infants whose mothers were exposed to chemicals called phthalates during pregnancy may have a greater risk of future infertility and other reproductive health issues.

The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, included over 700 infants and demonstrated that even at low levels, environmental exposure to these common chemicals can adversely affect male genital development, which in turn may impact male reproductive health later in life. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Aims to Partner With Medical Industry to Develop Pediatric Therapies

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward is director of Seattle Children's Research Institute's Office of Science-Industry Partnerships.

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward is director of Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Office of Science-Industry Partnerships.

While there are approximately 10,000 children in the United States living with lupus, a lifelong disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, there are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications to treat these kids, forcing physicians to prescribe medications that are approved for adult patients but may not be appropriate for developing bodies.

It’s a problem that impacts all areas of pediatric medicine. In 2013, the FDA in total approved 27 new drugs; just seven of these were approved for pediatric use. Of the 55,000 clinical trials conducted between 2005 and 2010, only 9% were designed for children.

“Funding for pediatric research lags disproportionately behind research funding for adult diseases. Thirty percent of the U.S. population is under the age of 21, and yet only 6% of the entire National Institutes of Health’s budget is devoted to pediatric medicine and care,” said Dr. Jim Hendricks, president of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “This gap results in limited development of new therapies for children, who now often have no other choice than to use adult-only tested medications.”

Seattle Children’s is hoping to bridge the gap between promising research and potential treatments and cures for pediatric diseases by partnering with drug manufacturers and biotech companies through its new Office of Science-Industry Partnerships. Read full post »

3-D Printed Heart Model Makes Complicated Surgeries Possible

Dr. Stephen Seslar prepares for a complicated surgery using a new, realistic heart model created with 3-D printing.

Dr. Stephen Seslar prepares for a complicated surgery using a new, realistic heart model created with 3-D printing.

Kami Sutton, 26, who you met last week, has been waiting for a heart transplant for five years. But surgeons at Seattle Children’s and University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) are now preparing to perform a difficult surgery that could greatly improve her quality of life and may even eliminate her need for a transplant. It’s possible for the first time ever, thanks to a new, realistic heart model created with 3-D printing. Read full post »