On the Pulse

Connecticut school shooting – Helping kids cope with violence in the news

On the heels of Tuesday’s mall shooting in Oregon, this morning a tragic mass shooting unfolded at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Just like adults, kids are exposed to news coverage of violence or hear about it from friends, and they are likely to have fears and questions. Studies show that children can suffer long-term emotional damage from exposure to violence in news coverage.

Dr. Bob Hilt, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says parents should be prepared to help their children deal with traumatic events, such as natural disasters and acts of violence.

How to help your kids cope with violence

Dr. Hilt suggests parents follow these tips to help their kids process traumatic events:

  1. Control what kids are seeing and hearing. Limit the amount and type of news coverage your child is exposed to. If the TV is on, make sure you watch with your kids so you can answer any questions they might have about what they’re seeing. Younger kids don’t have the ability to contextualize traumatic events. A child might personalize an event and worry that it might happen to his family. While teens are better able to emotionally process violence and disasters, they might still have questions. Make sure to check in with your older children as well.

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One Step Closer to a Cure for Leukemia without Chemotherapy or Radiation

At most hospitals, children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who aren’t responding well to chemotherapy would be running out of options. But Seattle Children Research Institute’s researchers are one step closer to finding a cure.  Starting this month, patients who have relapsed ALL will have the option of participating in a new clinical trial if they are not responding to chemotherapy and have a less than 20 percent chance of survival. 

Harnessing life-saving cells in patients’ blood

The new treatment—called cellular immunotherapy—involves drawing blood from the patient, reprogramming their infection-fighting T cells to find and destroy cancer cells, and infusing the blood back into their body.

T cells attack neuroblastoma tumor cells

Only three other institutions in the country are conducting this type of clinical trial, which involves using a specialized high-tech facility to manufacture the personalized therapy using each patient’s blood. 

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Building Hope, Part 1: Top Ten Features of Cancer Inpatient Unit

Cancer Patient Room

In April 2013, Seattle Children’s will open Building Hope, a new  facility that will house a new cancer inpatient unit with 48 single patient rooms. Additionally, Building Hope will include 32 private rooms for critical care treatment and a new Emergency Department.

The cancer care space will span two floors and offer several features that will make a patient and their family’s stay as personalized and comfortable as possible.

A 16-bed teen and young adult cancer space will occupy its own floor, where patients will benefit from the support of their peers in an age-appropriate environment. No other hospital in the United States currently offers a dedicated inpatient unit of this size for the care of teens and young adults with cancer.

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Cure for Pain: How physical therapy helped Pasco pre-teen get her life back

Chloe SchmidtIf there’s one thing 12-year-old Chloe Schmidt of Pasco, Wash., is thankful for this holiday season, it’s the absence of pain.

For her mom, Erin, it’s the Pain Rehabilitation Program at Seattle Children’s – and the physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, nurses and physicians who helped her daughter move past the pain that derailed her life earlier this year.

Chloe’s downward pain spiral started with a cat bite in January. By February, she had body aches that her pediatrician blamed on growing pains. A week later it morphed into a searing, all-over pain.

That’s when Erin scooped Chloe off the floor and rushed her to a local emergency room.

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Legal pot: How to talk to teens about Washington’s new marijuana law

Marijuana becomes legal in Washington state on Thursday, and a commercial marijuana market is on the horizon. Dr. Leslie Walker, chief of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and president elect for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, says that now’s the time for parents to talk with their children – especially teens – about the consequences of marijuana use.

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Does Soy Hamper Kids’ Immunity?

 

soybeans

Kawasaki disease is a condition that can affect many parts of a child’s body, including the mucous membranes (lining of the mouth and breathing passages), skin, eyes, and lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system.  The disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the U.S, and it can affect the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart.  This can lead, in rare cases, to heart attack and death. 

What causes Kawasaki disease?

There are lots of theories about what causes Kawasaki disease.  Researchers have thought that it might be linked to genetics or even the wind, of all things.  Patients tend to be diagnosed with the condition more frequently from winter through spring, which suggests a possible environmental trigger.  Some investigators have even theorized that carpet mites could be carrying a pathogen that causes the disease.  “People had their carpets cleaned and, soon after, their children were diagnosed with Kawasaki disease,” said Michael Portman, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute

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Exposure to Low Levels of Air Pollutants has Modest Effect on Fetal Growth

Several studies conducted in Los Angeles and New York City have identified high concentrations of air pollution as harmful to a developing fetus, but there have been few studies of traffic-related air pollution and birth outcomes in areas that have low to moderate air pollution.  Now, a team led by Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, has found modest effects on fetal growth in the Puget Sound Air Basin, a region in Washington state with low overall air pollutant concentrations.

Traffic in Seattle

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Infant Brains More Engaged When Playing with Interactive Toys: Study

Child watching TV

Most children watch TV before age two, typically starting at about five to nine months. That’s despite the fact that recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics discourage television or video viewing by infants before the age of two. Encouraged by disputed claims that videos can benefit an infant or toddler’s educational development, the infant digital video disc (DVD) business has become a $500 million industry in the U.S.

First Study to Look at Brain Chemistry in Infants

However, a new study conducted by investigators at Seattle Children’s Research Institute suggests that video watching causes different brain reactions than simple interactive games, such as playing with building blocks. The purpose of the research was to test whether there are quantifiable differences in the levels of cortisol between a known beneficial and traditional type of play and one that is new and relatively understudied.

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Not all Adolescents Who Screen Positive for Depression Need Treatment: Study

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2009 that primary care clinicians should screen adolescents for depression.  But a positive result or screen does not mean that every young person needs active treatment—including psychotherapy and medication—for depression, based on a new study led by Laura Richardson, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.  The study, “Predictors of Persistence Following a Positive Depression Screen among Adolescents,” was published November 19 in Pediatrics.

Teen sitting on the floor and thinking

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The Fastest Tests Beyond the West: Inside Seattle Children’s Lab

We’re approaching flu season, a time when you hear a lot about the importance of getting a flu shot, and parents get nervous about children catching the flu.  Heck, even parents get nervous about being sick. 

Speedy testing for the flu can help ease anxiety for parents – it might be just a common cold, after all.  And if it’s not, a fast diagnosis means a child receives the right treatment promptly.

Fastest in the Nation

Seattle Children’s laboratory is the fastest in the nation for producing respiratory virus results.  It’s a fact that Mike Astion, MD, PhD, medical director of Lab Medicine, is pretty proud of.  He and his team have made a lot of progress to reach that goal in recent years.

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