On the Pulse

Mom and Children’s bring boy back to life after near-drowning

Travis AndersonFriday, July 13, 2012 was the day 9-year-old Travis Anderson drowned in the Pilchuck River near Snohomish, Wash. It was also the day that his mother, Kim, and the emergency team at Seattle Children’s saved his life.

Travis, a wiry redhead, was wading in a shallow portion of the river, near his mom, his brother and sister, and his best friend. He lost his footing. The current swept him downstream and beneath a log, where he became trapped under water. Kim and Travis’s older brother Jacob couldn’t free him. After a few minutes, a bystander helped shift the log, and Kim pulled her youngest child to the river bank.

Travis was a ghostly pale gray, his eyes half open. Blue lips and purple circles around his eyes indicated cyanosis, a lack of oxygen in the blood. He was unresponsive, with no pulse. Kim began CPR while her daughter called 911.

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Laser ablation surgery for epilepsy offers safer and more precise treatment

Dana Lockwood, 24, has had epilepsy, a disorder of the brain that involves repeated seizures, for as long as he can remember. Seizures were just a way of life and the frequency ranged from having one every one to two weeks, to having several throughout a week, all while on several medications.

Dana LockwoodDana most commonly experienced simple seizures, which he describes as brief and disorienting surges of mental energy. Occasionally he also had complex partial seizures, which impair consciousness, and very rarely he had grand mal seizures  that involved his entire body and required a trip to the emergency room. There was no telling when these would occur.

“Living with epilepsy has been quite difficult,” said Dana. “I couldn’t drive, which was hard because there is little public transportation where I live. I had to be heavily medicated and it made it hard for me to be independent. In general, it was just very disruptive to my life.”

Dana had nearly given up on his dream of living abroad and teaching English as a second language. His seizures made that an impossible option.

Now, after undergoing a cutting-edge treatment in February, Dana is seizure free. He hasn’t had a seizure in more than a month and will finally be able to learn to drive and start living a more independent life.

So how did he get rid of his seizures?

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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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Dad’s gift to his daughter – Evelyn’s transplant story

Evelyn Sherman had a kidney transplant this past Halloween, just 10 days before she turned three years old. Her dad, Keith, was her donor. In honor of Donate Life Month, Evelyn’s mom, Julianne, reflects on their journey as they near the six-month anniversary of the transplant.

Getting the diagnosis

Evelyn was nine months old when she started falling off the chart. I thought my milk supply had dropped off so we were just sort of waiting it out, but she was still falling off the curve. Then we tried to beef up her diet and that wasn’t working.

Evelyn_dialysis By the time we got the diagnosis when she was 15 months old, we had made a tour of Children’s. She had some other physical manifestations of something being wrong. She had a sixth toe. She had wine stains on her skin. So we’d been to orthopedics to have her toe removed. And we’d been to dermatology. We felt like we were ending our tour when we got to nephrology. It was our last stop.

Evelyn was diagnosed with renal dysplasia, meaning that the kidney developed incorrectly in the beginning. She also has kidney reflux and that means that the urine is going back up into the kidneys from the bladder. It often causes a kidney infection, but for whatever reason, she didn’t really manifest that.

When the doctor delivered the news that there was something wrong with her kidney, I remember thinking, “I feel like you’re saying something really important to me and it’s just not registering because you have got to be talking about somebody else.” I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying, that I had a critically ill child.

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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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A pledge to help end child abuse – One mother’s story

Positive Parenting PledgeBeing a parent is a full-time job, one that requires being on call 24/7 and dealing with new challenges every day. At times, it can be exhausting and frustrating. And in some tragic cases, that frustration can lead to child abuse and neglect.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parental feelings of isolation, stress and frustration are major causes of child abuse and mistreatment in the U.S. That’s why Seattle Children’s Hospital is asking parents, caregivers, and the community to make “Positive Parenting Pledges” in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

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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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Building Hope, Part 4: A closer look at the new Critical Care Unit

Porch

Life-threatening illness or injury can strike any child at any time. Seattle Children’s Hospital’s critical care medicine teams have the expertise and technology to treat the most fragile patients in the region, including those born prematurely, recovering from complex surgeries, or suffering from acute illness, chronic disease or injuries.

On April 21 the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) will move to the Building Hope expansion. With a new home comes more space and new features that will help patients and families feel more comfortable while they are at Children’s.

“There are so many great new features in the critical care unit at Building Hope,” says Cathie Rea, ICU director. “We know our staff, patients and their families will find the new space a wonderful atmosphere of healing.”

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Vilifying Food – How fad diets are affecting our children’s health

Young girl and cupcake

Fad diets have taken the U.S. by storm: Paleo, Mediterranean, the “Fast Diet” – even Gwyneth Paltrow has a new cookbook.  Just as quickly as one diet is “out,” another diet emerges to take its place. With so many options, celebrity endorsements and websites full of misinformation, how can parents know which diets are safe – especially for kids?

Celia Framson, MPH, RD, CD, and Mary Jones Verbovski, MS, RD, CD, clinical pediatric dietitians at Seattle Children’s Hospital encourage parents to keep kids in mind when evaluating a potential diet.

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Spring sports safety – 10 tips for staying in the game

Soccer girlsIt’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung, and with it comes the start of spring sports: baseball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer and track and field. Time for kids to dust off baseball gloves, clean off their cleats, dig out that tennis racket and get outside! But before they hit the pitch, field or track, the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team at Seattle Children’s Hospital has a few tips to keep kids in the game and injury-free.

Unfortunately, injuries are inevitable, but there are preventive measures kids can take to reduce the risk of being permanently sidelined. Children’s doctors and athletic trainers remind kids to know their body and their limits.

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