On the Pulse

The Steubenville rape case – How to talk to your teen about sexual assault

Teen girl talking As coverage of the Steubenville rape case and trial continues, parents may worry about their own teens. Are they safe? How can they best protect themselves from sexual assault? It’s a topic  parents should be prepared to talk about with their teens – both girls and boys, says Jen Brown, a nurse with Seattle Children’s adolescent medicine team. In a 7-part series on Children’s Teenology 101 blog, Brown offers straightforward, practical reminders for teens and their parents, and suggests ways to start the conversation and to keep it going. She also addresses special situations and issues, such as developmentally delayed teens and sexual assault within relationships. Read full post »

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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Talking to teens about weight: Teaching balance

NutritionBlog2PhotoBeing a teenager in today’s society is not easy. Faced with peer pressure and unrealistic expectations perpetuated through TV and magazines, teens are forced to deal with complex, uncomfortable situations daily, including a subject many would rather not discuss: weight.

“Looking at national data sources, like the CDC, that are sampling large portions of people in the U.S., we’re seeing more and more individuals in the obese or morbidly obese category,” says Yolanda N. Evans, MD, with the adolescent medicine division of Seattle Children’s Hospital.  “It’s a really important issue to talk about because more and more kids are being affected.”

However, Evans says the way we talk about the obesity epidemic could be making things worse – especially for teens.

The other side of our obsession with weight

Evans says the media’s focus on weight and people’s bodies has increased the risk for restrictive eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Rather than focusing on healthy behaviors, our society too often promotes a “thin is better” mindset. Evans says it’s a problem that needs to be addressed and discussed, particularly with children and teens.

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How Seattle Children’s inspired one family to adopt children with special care needs

Mitchell with little sister Alaina

Mitchell with little sister Alaina

Seattle Children’s is considered a trusted resource for families needing special care. For the Wall family of Ephrata, Wash., their trust in Children’s, including the Craniofacial Center and Orthopedics and Sports Medicine teams, enabled them to become the family they are today. Mindy and Darryl Wall have six children – three biological and three adopted – four of whom have special needs. Here’s their story…

In 1993, the Wall’s second son, Mitchell, was born with a clubfoot and was later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. At birth he began receiving care at  Children’s. Not only was he diagnosed with Asperger’s at Children’s, but he had two different clubfoot surgeries by the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team, as well as his bracing and casting at the hospital. All of this seeded a long and trusted relationship between the hospital and the Walls. The care Mitchell received helped Mindy and Darryl become more comfortable raising children with special needs, and inspired them to adopt children who needed medical assistance, because they knew the hospital was there to help.

“We got to trust and know our way around Seattle Children’s,” said Mindy Wall. “With this knowledge and resource, we knew we could provide a loving home to other children with special needs.”

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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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Healthy eating tips for babies and toddlers

Toddler eating veggies

For parents of little ones, the task of reinforcing healthy habits around the dinner table can cause a bit of apprehension: What foods are best? How do I get my kids to eat their veggies? How much is too much? Parents can find it hard to know if they’re encouraging healthy eating habits in their young children.

Mollie Grow, MD, MPH, pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital – and the mother of two young girls – says that the old adage “you are what you eat” is pretty spot-on, even more so for young children whose growing minds and bodies depend on a number of different nutrients.

Nutritional recommendations have changed over time, but Grow says we now know the most we’ve ever known about nutrition.

“We’ve learned that fresh foods – especially fruits and vegetables – and variety in our diets provides the best nutrients our bodies need for optimal growth and performance,” she says. “All the different parts of our foods work together. For example, iron is needed for learning, calcium and vitamin D are needed for bone growth, vitamin B12 helps the blood grow and vitamin C helps the immune system and repairs soft tissues.”

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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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Family connection, one-on-one intervention help prevent teen pregnancy

Teen pregnancy test

While the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States has declined in recent years, it remains the highest among industrialized nations. More than 750,000 high-school-age girls become pregnant every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a new study suggests that intervention approaches that combine contraception and condom education with leadership training, one-on-one coaching, and peer engagement can help reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in teen girls.

The study, published Feb. 25 in JAMA Pediatrics, followed more than 200 high-risk 13- to 17-year-old girls for two years. The girls were coached in everything from choosing the right birth control to developing better relationships with their parents to asking a partner to use a condom.

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Super glue helps doctors safely remove venous malformations

kaleb_after_print

Super glue. What can’t it do?

Fix a broken flower vase? Check.

Hold together a Halloween costume? Check.

Allow surgeons to safely remove tangled clumps of extra veins that are otherwise tricky and dangerous to treat? Check.

That’s right. A team from Seattle Children’s has pioneered a safer method to remove venous malformations in the head and neck by first injecting them with n-butyl cyanoacrylate (n-BCA) glue, a medical variation of the familiar household super-adhesive.

The team published a report of their novel technique last month in the journal Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

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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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