Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

Gene Repair Breakthrough Led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Imagine a prowler casing a neighborhood, looking for a way into a home. That’s essentially what HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, does:  It moves through the bloodstream trying to gain entry to T-cells — the primary warrior of the immune system. A special receptor on the T-cell’s surface (called CCR5) is the open door it seeks. Once it gains entry, the virus hampers a T-cell’s ability to do its job, leaving people vulnerable to infection and disease — and enabling HIV to spread.

Now imagine you can lock that door forever. The virus can’t enter the T-cells and interfere with the immune system and the body can fight off the infection.

Drs. Dave Rawlings, Andy Scharenberg and a team at Seattle Children’s are getting close to making that vision a reality. Working with colleagues at University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium, they have figured out how to modify genes and knock the CCR5 receptor off T-cells.

Dr. Dave Rawlings, Dr. Andy Scharenberg (right)

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Restaurant Environments Improve, Sort of, Under Nutrition-Label Regulation

Buy one, get one for 1 cent.  Be a hot tamale, eat a hot tamale.  Try our new salted carmel cake pop.

We see slogans like these on billboards and at restaurants on a daily basis.  Would a nutrition-labeling regulation that requires restaurants to post calorie counts help spur a reduction in the use of these slogans, which are known as “barriers to healthful eating?”  That’s what a research team, led by Brian Saelens, PhD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, set out to find. The study, “Nutrition-labeling regulation impacts on restaurant environments,” is published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Young man looks at the menu in a fast food restaurant

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Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative New Projects Announced

Mom and Baby – India
© Paul Joseph Brown/GAPPS

Projects seek to undercover how the following conditions lead to preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth:

  • Malaria infections of the placenta
  • Infections of the female reproductive tract
  • Disruption of the normal bacteria and other micro-organisms of the lower female genital tract
  • Body’s receptors for progestin-based therapies
  • Infections that cause inflammation in the uterus

Dr. Kevin Kain had completed medical school and was about to embark on a career as a surgeon in Canada, but on a whim he and some friends decided to take a trip to Africa.

He ended up spending a year driving the entire length of the continent, camping along the way.  “I was immediately struck that people were dying from diseases all around me that I had never even been taught about,” he says.

He returned to North America and decided to devote his career to global health. “It seemed this incredible inequity in education about what the major burdens of disease were in the world and that we didn’t know anything about them. I got very passionate about learning about them and then wanting to do something about them.” Read full post »

New Survey Shows Almost Half of Teens with Autism Are Bullied

Unfortunately, many children are bound to face occasional teasing and rejection throughout their school years, and we now know that this bullying can affect more than just egos. Previous studies have found kids and teens who are bullied tend to be more depressed, lonely and anxious, and perform worse in school than those who aren’t picked on. So when this bullying is paired with particularly vulnerable students, such as children with autism, life can become even more difficult.

A new survey of parents shows that close to half of teens with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are bullied at school. This rate of 46.3 percent, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, is much higher than the estimated 11 percent of bullied teens in the general population. Read full post »

Antibiotic Exposure Associated with Development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Hold off on using antibiotics unless truly needed, says Seattle Children’s researcher

Antibiotics

Children who receive antibiotics may be more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease, according to a new study led by Matthew Kronman, MD, of Seattle Children’s Hospital.  The study, “Antibiotic exposure and IBD development among children: A population-based cohort study,” was published September 24 in Pediatrics.

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New AAP Circumcision Policy: Task Force Member Shares Perspective

Dr. Douglas Diekema, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Circumcision, talked with On the Pulse recently about the updated AAP policy released August 27. Dr. Diekema is the director of education in the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and was named to the task force to represent the AAP Committee on Bioethics.

"It's a  boy" sign and baby bottle on blue background

Q. What has changed since the last time the AAP looked at the circumcision policy, and what are the key points in the new policy?

A. The task force concluded that there are significant health benefits of newborn circumcision and that those benefits outweigh the risks of the procedure.  Because of the health benefits, the task force also recommends that Medicaid and other insurance cover the cost of circumcision.  Those points are the key changes from previous policy statements. Read full post »

Medical Mom Educates Others about Mitochondrial Diseases

Jennifer Mhyre is a medical researcher with a PhD in neuropharmacology. She has read more than her fair share of medical and scientific books throughout her career. But when daughter Katelyn was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease almost four years ago, Mhyre and her husband (who also has a PhD in neuropharmacology) reached for the textbook.

Ashley, Andrew, Katelyn & Jennifer Mhyre

“I knew what mitochondria were, but had never heard the term ‘mitochondrial disease,’” said Mhyre. “I went to my graduate school general pharmacology class book and looked it up.” Mhyre also went online and did more reading. She found that mitochondrial disease was only recently recognized as a disease class, and was just as common as childhood cancer. Read full post »

Parents of Kids with Chronic Pain Benefit from Psychological Therapies, Too

Parenting a child with a longstanding or life-threatening illness—including chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, asthma and traumatic brain injury—can have a negative impact on many aspects of a parent’s and family’s life.   Parents often have difficulty balancing care for their child with other responsibilities such as work, social life, finance and household tasks.

But there are very few programs in the world that address these issues for parents of children with chronic pain, based on a new Cochrane Review published August 15.

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in healthcare and health policy, and are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based healthcare.  Tonya Palermo, PhD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute is a co-author of “Psychological therapy for parents of children with a longstanding or life-threatening physical illness.”

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New Study Links Violent Videos to Sleep Problems in Preschool Children

Parents who suggest and use healthy media options with their children can improve sleep outcomes, according to a new study from Michelle Garrison, PhD, and Dimitri Christakis, MD, at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.  “The Impact of a Healthy Media Use Intervention on Sleep in Preschool Children,” was published online today in Pediatrics.

Child watching televisionThe latest research also adds evidence that the relationship between media and sleep in preschool children is one of cause and effect.  Kids whose parents were encouraged to change the channel to age-appropriate and non-violent content had significantly lower odds of sleep problems in the study, and this effect persisted across the intervention year, but faded six months after the program ended. Read full post »

Do Sports Derail Children’s Healthy Eating Habits?

A new study says “yes.”

University of Minnesota researchers interviewed the parents of 60 youth basketball players and found that the young athletes commonly had sweets, such as candy, ice cream and doughnuts; pizza; hot dogs; salty snacks, including chips, nachos and cheese puff and soda and sports drinks.

The parents also reported frequent visits to fast-food restaurants when their children were playing sports.

And, even though the parents agreed that these foods and beverages are unhealthy, they said rushing to practices and games made them rely more on these types of products due to their convenience. Read full post »