On the Pulse

Lessening the growing pains with teen heart transplant transition day

Teen transition day group talk

Transitions are a part of life. Becoming more independent, turning 18 years old, planning for college – these are transitions every teenager must face. It’s the gray area between adolescence and adulthood, a time when most teenagers step out from the shadows of their parents and head into the world in search of self-sufficiency. For some, however, this can be daunting, especially when it comes to taking ownership of one’s own health.

For a group of 11 teenagers at Seattle Children’s Hospital who have all at one time or another had a heart transplant, their transition means taking a more hands on approach to their personal health.

They are now old enough to be the drivers of their own healthcare decisions and they are old enough to transition out of Children’s to continue care at adult institutions. Read full post »

Tips for identifying, treating and reducing risk of three common fall sports injuries

Breaking the TackleShorter days and cooling temperatures mean school is in full swing. While it’s important to help students succeed in the classroom, it’s also important to arm them with the right tools and information for a fun and safe fall sports season.

Monique Burton, MD, director of Seattle Children’s Sports Medicine Program, shares tips for identifying, treating and reducing risk of concussions, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and shin splints – three of the most common fall sports injuries in young athletes. Each year, Burton and her team provide care and rehabilitation to hundreds of athletes in the Puget Sound.
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The inner ear may hold a clue in the quest to find the cause of SIDS

Infant ear

Daniel Rubens, MD, is not your average researcher. He’ll tell you for starters, that he’s not technically a researcher, but rather an anesthesiologist. His team is small:  Travis Allen, a nurse anesthetist at Seattle Children’s, volunteers his free time to work alongside Rubens, who is also supported by staff and leaders at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington.

Since 2007, Rubens has spent no more than $100,000 on his research on SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A big chunk of those funds, $60,000, came from a fundraiser held in Florida by a mother who lost her child to SIDS. She read about Rubens’ research, contacted him out of the blue and wanted to support his efforts.

Rubens’ experience dealing with infants in crisis inspired him to seek an answer to the unsolved mystery of SIDS, and his latest study published in Neuroscience—offers up more clues on the premise that the syndrome may be related to dysfunction within the inner ear. “I was always drawn to the mystery of SIDS,” Rubens said. “I’ve read the literature over the years, and it struck me that there’s so much we don’t know,” he said, when asked what initially piqued his interest.

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Addressing ADHD Improves Academic and Social Success

At every moment of every day, the human brain processes a constant, and natural, barrage of stimuli. At multiple levels, including below consciousness, our brains constantly filter through these competing stimuli to prioritize those that help us respond, begin a task, take steps toward a larger goal and behave in socially appropriate ways.

For people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), something is amiss in the brain pathways that filter through these competing impulses. Those affected with this neurological condition have difficulty sorting out relevant stimuli from non-relevant stimuli, and may respond impulsively or not respond when a quick response is required. In the classroom, children with ADHD have difficulty focusing on school or homework, sustaining their attention for things they are not interested in, and some (especially younger children) have difficulty sitting still.

Between 9 percent and 11 percent of school-aged children (4 to 17 years of age) in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD – about 13 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls.

Though people with ADHD can be very successful in life, without proper diagnosis and treatment, this condition can have serious consequences, like:

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Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook

Facebook homepage

Those three attention-grabbing words can often make parents a bit uneasy when they think about how they relate to their kids. The words are also the title of a new book from Megan Moreno, MD, who heads up the Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Moreno is an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s and she sees patients on a regular basis. Her aim, based on her research, is that healthy Internet use will one day be discussed in the same way we tell young people to get enough sleep, to drink in moderation and to eat healthy foods. She even sees it as a topic that will be brought up in the doctor’s office one day. Have you had your vaccinations, talked about safe sex and discussed your Facebook and Twitter habits?

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Patient Voices: Kat becomes titanium girl, makes a difference for future cancer patients

Hello my name is Kat Tiscornia and up until March of 2013 I was your typical 8th grader. I loved horseback riding, eventing to be more specific, skiing and spending time with friends and family. Then it all changed. I went to the doctor to have a large bump on my thigh checked out.  I was told what I thought might be a bad bruise had a high probability of being cancer.

After many tests, two biopsy surgeries for my lung and my leg, and a stressful couple of weeks, I was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma. There are approximately 200 new diagnoses of the disease in the U.S. each year. Read full post »

Patient voices: At age 27, Hunter puts his life on hold to fight cancer

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing a series of stories about some of our incredible patients who have overcome cancer or are currently fighting the disease.

At 27 years old, Hunter Storey had a great life in Sun Valley, Idaho. He worked as a fireman, enjoyed spending time with his girlfriend of eight years, and was an avid skier and ski instructor.

However, last December things started to change.

It was ski season and he was coaching ski racing to a group of high school students when, one day, he noticed a painful lump on his shin that didn’t seem right. He decided to see a doctor.

After what was first thought to be a broken bone, seven months later, he learned it was cancer – Ewing sarcoma to be exact. Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that mainly affects children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20 years old, but there are cases that occur at all ages.

“It was of course very shocking when I was diagnosed,” said Hunter. “But I was really lucky because I had caught it early.”

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Results of a parental survey may help predict childhood immunization status

Survey checkbox

Vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. Nationally, it’s an issue, and the non-medical exemption rate continues to increase annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.6 percent of children entering kindergarten in Washington state in 2012 had an exemption, and the figure was 6.1 percent in Illinois and Vermont.

Our Seattle-based team of researchers has been investigating if there’s a valid way of identifying parents who are hesitant enough early on in their child’s life that they will accept fewer immunizations than is recommended. Knowing early whether a parent is hesitant and will under-immunize their child might be helpful to clinicians as they try to understand and lessen a parent’s vaccine concerns.

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Patient voices: Hunter Schroeder celebrates two years cancer free

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing a series of stories about some of our incredible patients who have overcome cancer or are currently fighting the disease.

Hunter Schroeder OBK at Ballpark 8.25.13On Sept. 19, 2013, 8-year-old Hunter Schroeder celebrated one of the biggest milestones of his life – it marked his second year cancer free.

“He’s perfect.”

That’s all his mother, Heather Schroeder, heard when the tests results came back from his two-year checkup. And with that, the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders. She was finally able to relax and breathe again.

He was healthy and perfect, exactly what she’d been praying to hear ever since her son was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the myeloid cells, in 2011.

“It’s taken a while stop panicking about every bruise and every fever, and to see the hospital and not think his cancer has come back. But after two years, we’re finally getting there,” said Heather. “We’re finally getting back to normal, or at least adjusting to our new normal.”

She can, however, vividly remember the difficult time when the bruises on Hunter’s body did signify something very wrong with her little boy. Read full post »

Child passenger safety, keeping kids safe while on the road

Child Passenger SafetyPeople often say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, and when put in the context of child passenger safety, that statement couldn’t be more true. Every journey should be safe. Which is why, in recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 15-21), experts at Seattle Children’s Hospital are urging parents to put safety first when traveling in a vehicle with a child.

According to safecar.gov, car accidents are the number one killer of children ages 1 to 12 in the U.S. From 2007 to 2011, a staggering 3,661 children were killed in car accidents and an additional 634,000 children were injured.

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