On the Pulse

Fireworks Safety

Approximately 9,300 people are seriously injured because of fireworks each year in our country – and children under the age of 14 incur nearly half of these injuries.

Indeed, if they’re not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns, as well as hand, foot and eye injuries in both children and adults. Bottle rockets are the leading cause of fireworks-related fires. And sparklers burn at over 1,200 degrees; they are one of the main fireworks that cause injuries.

The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home – attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals. Read full post »

Cancer Patient Raps “Look At Me Now” in Music Video

They say that humor can be great medicine and this rings true for 18-year-old Abigale Hamlin, a leukemia patient being treated in Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program. Abigale says that a good dose of laughter in her situation helps her to see and think of things in a different light.

Last year, when she first heard Chris Brown’s song featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, “Look At Me Now,” her witty and creative nature took hold and her inner rapper emerged as she flowed to the beats with her own lyrics that described what she was going through, “Look at me now, look at me now, I’m losin’ hair-air, or I’m gettin’ che-mo.”

“I’m the kind of person who sings a song and puts my own words to it because I think it is funny,” says Abigale. “Then I thought, how funny would it be if I took the lyrics and made this song cool and funny in my own way!” Read full post »

Bullying: Identify It and Help Stop It

A video of a 68-year old New York bus monitor being bullied by middle schoolers surfaced yesterday – bringing the unsettling topic of bullying top of mind.

Bullying can be one of the toughest situations a child or adult can face – and can arise in many forms from verbal to physical to emotional. It can manifest in a variety of ways including via the Internet (i.e. cyberbullying) and by spreading rumors. The aftermath of bullying can last a lifetime, providing a sense of hurt, isolation and fear.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied regularly. Read full post »

New Study Clarifies Risks for SIDS

The rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has dropped dramatically (more than 50%) since the 1994 Back-to-Sleep Campaign launched, advising caregivers to place infants on their backs to sleep. However, SIDS remains the leading cause of death among infants  1-12 months old in the U.S. In a study recently published in Pediatrics, researchers identified the risk factors of 568 SIDS deaths from 1991 to 2008, providing insights into the underlying mechanisms of this tragic syndrome. In this videoSeattle Mama Doc, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, summarizes the key findings of this study and offers tips to parents and caregivers on how to reduce the risk of SIDS .

 

If you’d like to arrange an interview with Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson,  please contact Children’s PR team at 206-987-4500 or press@seattlechildrens.org.


New Study Highlights Need for Medical Interpreters

Study: Doctors’ Language Tests Spotlight Need to Provide Interpreters in Medical Settings

Issue

The U.S. population is becoming increasingly diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Reports, in 2006, 13.7% of U.S. children under age 5 lived in a home where a parent or guardian spoke English less than “very well”. In medical settings, where effective communication between provider and patient is essential to quality care, language barriers have a negative impact. Research has shown that language barriers affect patient satisfaction and compliance, cost, medical errors, and risk of litigation.

While many doctors in the U.S. have some ability to communicate in a foreign language, there are no standards that determine what degree of proficiency is required to communicate effectively with patients. Often, doctors are left to determine themselves whether they’re up to the task of discussing complex medical information in a foreign language. They may not be the best judges of their own abilities. Read full post »

Study: Teens and Young Adults with Mental Health Disorders at Risk of Long-Term Opioid Use

Issue

In a new study, Laura Richardson, MD of Seattle Children’s Research Institute and co-investigators found that young adults ages 13 to 24 with mental health disorders were more likely to be prescribed opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin for chronic pain and also more than twice as likely to become long-term opioid users than those who didn’t have a mental health disorder. The study, “Mental Health Disorders and Long-term Opioid Use Among Adolescents and Young Adults With Chronic Pain,” appears in the June 2012 issue of  Journal of Adolescent Health, and underscores the increase in the use and abuse of long-term opioid painkillers among teens in the U.S.

In this video, Dr. Richardson discusses the findings of the study and what they tell us about this trend:


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Protecting Children from Harmful Effects of Violence in the News

Issue

Tragic news of multiple fatal shootings rocked Seattle today.

Children can be especially at risk to experience fear and anxiety as reactions to these events. Research shows that children who witness violence  in regular news coverage, as well as in their families, schools and communities, are vulnerable to serious long-term emotional harm.

In the video below, Dr. Bob Hilt, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, discusses ways parents can help their children cope during disasters such as earthquakes,  man-made disasters, and random acts of violence.

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Deploying an Automobile Manufacturing Process to Serve Patients Better

On the face of it, lean manufacturing, which is used by Toyota and other major global companies, doesn’t seem to fit very well into the world of medicine.

But, on closer examination, surgeons are beginning to see that lean has a good deal in common with the scientific method used in research – it’s just a matter of terminology, although it’s important to point out that this isn’t like randomized controlled trials; instead, it’s about testing hypotheses.

Indeed, the overall goal of lean is to define and refine a process, and then make the end product better for the customer; in medicine, that’s the patient. Read full post »

Study Shows Hypertonic Saline Ineffective with Very Young CF Patients

Issue

While tremendous advancements have been made over the past several decades in treating cystic fibrosis (CF), many CF therapies are not one-size-fits-all.  What works for adult patients doesn’t necessarily help very young patients.  And yet, it’s critical to begin therapies early in life to delay lung disease caused by CF from progressing.

Inhaled hypertonic (extra salty) saline is one such therapy recommended for many CF patients age 6 or older, but its effectiveness has never been evaluated in patients age 5 or younger.  Despite this, since 2007 inhaled hypertonic saline has been increasingly used among U.S. children with CF ages 2 to 5.

Several years ago, Australian researchers stumbled on the benefits of hypertonic saline when they noticed that surfers with CF had fewer respiratory flare-ups than people with CF who didn’t surf.  The researchers speculated that the salty mist of ocean water lessened respiratory CF symptoms and their subsequent study confirmed their hypothesis.
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Deceptively Simple Science Aims to Save Premature Babies

Sometimes even a simple idea can make a difference in people’s lives.  In my case, I hope that the creative adaptation of a simple science concept will one day save the lives of premature infants in the developing world.

As a program manager in the Center for Developmental Therapeutics, I support researchers working in the realm of preterm birth and neonatal health.  So far, the main focus of that work has been on treatment options for premature infants, including the development of the Seattle Children’s Positive Airway Pressure ( Sea-PAP) device, an easy to use respiratory support device for preemies.

The aim of my research project is to investigate new ways of easily and inexpensively diagnosing lung immaturity in premature infants.  Premature birth is a leading cause of neonatal death in the U.S., but not many people realize that it is also a huge issue in developing countries.  New research has shown that  15 million premature babies are born each year, and helping preterm infants everywhere lead long, healthy lives is an important goal of my research. Read full post »