Geniqua Harris, a Seattle Children’s athletic trainer in the Tukwila School District at Foster High School, has spent the last four years on the sidelines of practices and sporting events helping to keep young athletes in the game and injury-free.
“I’ve seen many athletes grow up right before my eyes,” said Harris. “I’ve been working with them since they were small ninth graders. Now, they’re graduating. It’s really rewarding to hear the kids and coaches tell me how much they appreciate me. I’m just doing my job, but I know it means a lot them.”
Throughout the years, Harris has seen a lot of injuries, from common sprains and strains to devastating season-ending fractures. She’s worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports and has helped them get back to the field as safely and quickly as possible after injury. However, there has always been one thing she’s always needed more of: time – time to serve more athletes, tape more ankles and help more kids through rehabilitation.
Dr. Philippe Coulon thinks electrical signals directly exchanged between brain cells may hold promise as a potential target for absence epilepsy treatments.
A child with absence epilepsy may be in the middle of doing something—she could be dancing, studying, talking—when all of a sudden she stares off into space for a few moments. Then, as quickly as she drifted off, the child snaps back into whatever she was doing, unaware that the episode occurred.
That brief moment of disconnect from reality is called an absence seizure, and according to the Epilepsy Society, childhood absence epilepsy accounts for 2-8% of all epilepsy diagnoses. Most cases of childhood absence epilepsy end after puberty, but about 30% of cases continue into adulthood or lead to other forms of epilepsy, says Dr. Philippe Coulon, a neuroscientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
“Some kids can have hundreds of these brief seizures a day,” said Coulon. “I can only imagine how hard it is for them to function and have a normal childhood.”
In a study published in the Journal of Physiology, Coulon and his colleagues suggest that electrical signals directly exchanged between brain cells may hold promise as a potential target for absence epilepsy treatments. Read full post »
Summer is here and backyard barbecues, camping trips and youth camp sessions are in full swing. Amidst all of these fun activities is often a far less welcoming sign of summer: mosquitoes.
While the Pacific Northwest is not home to the type of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, on very rare occasions, mosquitoes here can carry the West Nile virus. Most often, however, mosquitoes simply leave people with uncomfortable, itchy bites. To help protect your family from mosquitoes as you enjoy the outdoors, Dr. Suzan Mazor, medical director of Toxicology at Seattle Children’s, shares the following advice. Read full post »
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is the most common life-threatening bacterial infection in newborns worldwide. GBS typically resides in the lower genital tract but does not cause infections in healthy women. But if the infection is transmitted to an infant during pregnancy, it can lead to preterm birth or stillbirth. If the infection is transmitted to a newborn, it can cause pneumonia, sepsis or meningitis, all of which can occur within the first week of life or within 90 days of birth. The goal of my research is to prevent maternal to infant transmission of GBS.
But not all babies become infected. In the U.S. and other developed countries, pregnant women are screened for GBS around the 37th week of gestation. If found positive, a pregnant woman is given antibiotics during labor to prevent the newborn from being infected, and that has reduced transmission of GBS from mothers to infants during birth. However, infections that occur earlier than 37 weeks or after 1 week of birth are not prevented by these measures. Read full post »
Once upon a time, in a hospital not so far away, a princess came to spread joy to kids at Seattle Children’s. Wherever the princess went, smiles followed. For one little girl, seeing the princess was a dream come true, and soon – the patient and the princess – became the best of friends.
This is the type of tale that plays out each month at Seattle Children’s thanks to volunteer Chael Stenchever who wears many crowns, transforming herself into a variety of princesses before visiting patients.
Stenchever’s elaborate costumes are nothing short of magical. Just watch her walk through the halls of the hospital during one of her visits and you’ll see that a princess costume can truly brighten a child’s day.
For 8-year-old Daisy Hader, that’s the experience she has when Stenchever comes to visit.
“Characters and stuffed animals are Daisy’s world,” said Lolly Hader, Daisy’s mother. “Meeting the princesses in real life connects her two worlds together – fairy tales and reality. It’s truly magical for her.” Read full post »
This image shows neurons in the newly identified PiCo region of the brain. The researchers used staining techniques to identify the chemical identity of the neurons, which helps give insight into their function.
Neuroscientists at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered an area of the brain that plays a key role in breathing. In a study published in the journal Nature the researchers describe the newly identified area of the brain, which they found plays a key role in exhalation.
“In healthy people, breathing is something we do whether or not we consciously think about it,” said Dr. Nino Ramirez, Director of the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “This paper describes a part of the brain that is active during passive exhalation, which is important for swallowing, speaking, coughing, and other behaviors that occur after an inhalation.”
The researchers called this region of the brain the postinspiratory complex, or PiCo. Further study and understanding of how this region of the brain works could lead to the development of new treatments for certain neurodegenerative diseases that involve breathing abnormalities.
Charlie Nath, 11, has a simple message to share with the world.
Charlie Nath, 11, is many things. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s articulate. He’s courageous. He’s a surfer. He’s a snowboarder. He’s a drummer.
What he’s not, is defined by his rare genetic condition: Crouzon syndrome. He says he wants the world to know, “It’s what’s on the inside that matters the most.”
Changing the world one speech at a time
Crouzon syndrome is estimated to occur in about one of every 62,500 people. It affects each person differently and the severity varies widely. The condition occurs when there is an abnormal fusion of the facial bones and skull, which affects the shape of the head and the appearance of the face. For Charlie, his eyes are set wider apart than normal, he has prominent eyes and his upper and lower jaws don’t align properly. Read full post »
This image shows mouse red blood cells infected with Plasmodium parasites, the causative agent of malaria. The cells with the blue ring-like structures inside of them are the malaria parasite-infected red blood cells called Merozoites, which are the blood stage form of the parasite. CREDIT: University of Washington
Dr. David Rawlings knows how painful and devastating malaria is—he had it several times in his early 20s while teaching grade school in Kenya.
“It’s a horrible infection,” said Rawlings, director of the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “I had a high fever, severe headaches, chills and I couldn’t leave my house for days. I was fortunate to have medications that stopped the infection, but malaria these days is resistant to most of these drugs.”
Rawlings recovered from the bouts of malaria, but young children who get malaria are not always so lucky. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 214 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide in 2015 and resulted in 438,000 deaths, most of them children in Africa. The disease is a parasitic infection spread through the bite of infected mosquitos.
Seeing his young students in Africa come down with malaria is what pushed Rawlings to become an immunologist. He wanted to find a cure.
Tranisha Arzah, 26, was born with HIV and works as an HIV educator.
People who acquire HIV can lose a critical function in their body: their immunity. Left untreated, HIV infects the immune system and disables a person’s ability to fight infections, which can turn the common cold into a death sentence. Antiviral treatment can prevent this from happening, but if medications are stopped the virus comes back almost immediately.
Currently, one out of every 200 American adults lives with HIV. As doctors, scientists and advocates gather in South Africa this week at the International AIDS Conference, researchers at Seattle Children’s have been thinking hard about how to kick HIV, and they have an ambitious goal: They want to develop an immunotherapy that harnesses the power of the immune system to kill and resist HIV.
“Immunotherapy has been successful in treating cancer and we’re optimistic that we can take that same technology and apply it to HIV,” said Dr. Thor Wagner, an infectious disease specialist and pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “The hope is that in the future we’ll be able to take an HIV-positive person’s T cells and re-engineer them to attack and resist the virus.” Read full post »
A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for action to reduce children’s exposure to violent video games and media. The report also calls on the gaming and media industries to create shows and games for children that do not contain violence.
Seattle Children’s provides healthcare for the special needs of children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex (gender), sexual orientation or disability. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.