Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Cigarettes are gateway to marijuana, study suggests

A team of our (smart) researchers from SMAHRT descended on Washington, D.C. last weekend for the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting. SMAHRT = Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team, which is based at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. This week, we’ll feature some of their new research. Megan Moreno, MD, leads the group and is a senior author on all of the research studies. Some of the researchers are based at other academic institutions, demonstrating the collaborative spirit of SMAHRT.

Cigarette

Teen smokers who rationalize the use of cigarettes by saying, “At least I’m not doing drugs,” may not always be able to use that line. New research presented Sunday, May 5, supports the theory that cigarettes are a gateway drug to marijuana.

“Contrary to what we would expect, we also found that students who smoked both tobacco and marijuana were more likely to smoke more tobacco than those who smoked only tobacco,” said study author Megan Moreno, MD, investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

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Researchers uncover more genetic clues to help understand what triggers Type 1 diabetes

white blood cell

Last year, researchers from Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason identified new clues about how a common genetic change in a gene called PTPN22 may predispose children and adults to develop autoimmune conditions, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus.

Now, this group—in conjunction with researchers from the University of Washington—has taken the research one step further and determined more precisely how PTPN22 alters lymphocyte function, using animal models that very closely model human diabetes. Understanding this process could be crucial for both predicting which individuals are at risk to develop diseases like diabetes and also for designing new therapies.

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Researchers uncover clues to Trypanosoma cruzi, parasite that causes Chagas Disease

Triatomine bug

An international team of scientists in Seattle and Argentina has uncovered a surprising new role for one type of immune cell in controlling Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite that causes an infection known as Chagas disease. The disease, classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is found mainly in Latin American countries and is a potentially life-threatening illness that can lead to heart and other health issues. There is no cure for Chagas disease, and an estimated eight million people are infected worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The study was published April 7 in Nature Immunology.

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Think Positive: Approach helps prevent depression in kids

Middle school student, parent

The power of positive thinking is not a new concept, but researchers now say it can be an effective tool to prevent depression in middle school students. In a randomized clinical trial with 120 young people ages 11 to 15 years old, those who received group intervention with a focus on the positive showed greater decreases in depressive symptoms, compared with those who received individual support.

The study, “A Randomized Trial of the Positive Thoughts and Action Program for Depression among Early Adolescents,” was published April 5 in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

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Diagnosing Kawasaki disease: “Grey’s Anatomy” mirrors real-life

Sarah Chalke, actressA story every mother needs to see, inspired by real-life events. This promotion for an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” may sound dramatic, but when your child is ill and a diagnosis doesn’t happen promptly, the situation is not without drama.

Sarah Chalke, a television star who appeared on “Roseanne” and “Scrubs,” is a guest star on tonight’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” with a storyline that mirrors what happened to her family.

Two years ago, Chalke’s son, Charlie, came down with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition with potentially serious effects. She has spoken publicly about the difficulty of getting Charlie diagnosed and the urgency of getting the appropriate treatment. There is a narrow window—a mere 10 days after the initial symptoms appear—for the intravenous treatment to be effective.

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Using the web to track spread of drug-resistant bacteria

CRE bacteria

Until Tom Frieden, MD and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, held a news conference earlier this month to talk about the increase of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, it was pretty likely that not many people had heard the term before.

CRE are deadly bacteria, even stronger than MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and are resistant to nearly all of the antibiotics that exist today. CRE can cause a variety of infections ranging from gastrointestinal illness to pneumonia to invasive infections of the bloodstream or other body organs.

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Seattle Children’s to open country’s first dedicated teen and young adult cancer unit

Cancer Patient Room

Cancer Patient Room

On April 21, Seattle Children’s Hospital will be the first hospital in the country to open an inpatient cancer unit dedicated to teens and young adults. The 16-bed unit will occupy the top floor in the hospital’s new Building Hope facility, which will house inpatient cancer treatment, critical care treatment and a new Emergency Department.

Teen and young adult patients in the new unit will benefit from the support of their peers, as well as an enhanced package of psychosocial support programs that will improve their treatment experience.

The unit will also be the new home of Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program, which was one of the first five cancer programs for teens and young adults in the U.S. Children’s AYA program has been a model for the development of other programs across North America, and will now set the stage for opening a new space for this age group.

“It’s going to be a groundbreaking event in the U.S. to have a unit like this dedicated to teens and young adults,” said Rebecca Johnson, MD, oncologist at Seattle Children’s. “It presents an opportunity for us to continue with the development of new programs for this age group. Our unit will also provide an example to other institutions of how to deliver quality care for teens and young adults in a dedicated space.”

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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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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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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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