On the Pulse

Epilepsy Update: Dr. Rusty Novotny Discusses Latest Treatments and Developments

A man wearing glasses and a suit shows a model of a human head with electrodes to two women.

Dr. Novotny, right, director of Seattle Children’s Epilepsy Program, discusses the latest developments in epilepsy (file photo)

New research and treatments for epilepsy have come a long way in the last several years. In this Q&A, we talk with Dr. Edward “Rusty” Novotny, director of Seattle Children’s Epilepsy Program and professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Washington. As the director of one of the largest epilepsy programs in the nation and the program exclusively dedicated to pediatrics in the Northwest accredited level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, Dr. Novotny answers questions about advances in epilepsy treatment.

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Seattle Children’s Announces Decade-Long “It Starts With Yes” Campaign Surpassed Fundraising Goal With $1.4B Raised

Caleb’s family moved to three different states searching for experts who could provide the best care for his life-threatening, chronic intestinal disorder. Now Caleb is 10 and loves playing basketball, badminton and video games. He still experiences ups and downs on his medical journey – but thanks to community support, Caleb’s care team helps him thrive at every age and developmental stage. During the Yes campaign, more than 70 patients and their families served as ambassadors, sharing their experiences to inspire our community.

Seattle Children’s launched its $1 billion fundraising initiative,  It Starts With Yes: The Campaign For Seattle Children’s  to transform childhood health and change the odds for all kid-kind.

At the end of 2021, the Yes campaign closed with greater success than expected, surpassing its initial goal of $1 billion, raising $1.4 billion. Last year alone, donors contributed more than $223.7 million – more than any year in Seattle Children’s fundraising history. Read full post »


Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Program Expansion at Seattle Children’s Serves Growing Need

A baby with sensors on their chest.

Seattle Children’s is expanding the bronchopulmonary dysplasia program

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a long-lasting form of lung disease affecting babies born prematurely. Their lungs are not fully formed and are sometimes damaged, and they need extra oxygen through a tube placed into their nose or more support to survive, grow and develop.

BPD also is called chronic lung disease of prematurity. The number of newborns with BPD has risen as more and more babies survive being born many weeks before their due date. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 newborns develop BPD in the United States each year.

In this Q&A, Dr. Gregory Redding,  division chief of the Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Division at Seattle Children’s and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, shares details on Seattle Children’s expanding Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Program.

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Seattle Children’s Senior Director of Planning, Design, and Construction, featured in American Builders Quarterly

Building Care will expand the hospital’s clinical space and allow it to treat more patients to meet the growing demand for its services in the region.
ZGF Architects

American Builders Quarterly magazine recently featured Mandy Hansen, senior director of planning, design, and construction, and her work on Seattle Children’s main campus expansion in a story titled: “Mandy Hansen Builds for a Cause.”  Read full post »


Seattle Children’s Welcomes Dr. Burt Yaszay as Chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

A man with a goatee smiling and wearing a lab coat and a shirt and tie.

Dr. Burt Yaszay is the new chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s.

Seattle Children’s is excited to welcome Dr. Burt Yaszay as the new chief of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Seattle Children’s. Yaszay comes to Seattle Children’s with a bright vision for the future as well as a deep respect for the roots in which Seattle Children’s was founded.

We sat down with Yaszay to learn more about his extensive expertise and vision for the program.

Yaszay earned his medical degree at Stanford University School of Medicine and did his residency in general and orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington and a fellowship at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. Yaszay most recently spent 14 years at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, which is nationally recognized as one of the best programs in the country.

He is excited to bring his expertise to Seattle Children’s and foster an environment of innovation and collaboration.

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The Gift of Time

A woman holding a toddler with a lake and a forest in the backgroundColleen and Derek spent the first half of Colleen’s pregnancy like many first-time parents, imagining what their child would be like, musing about things they would do as a family and celebrating a joyful new chapter in their lives.

They never imagined they would have a child with special needs or that doctors would predict their baby may not live past childhood. When that became Colleen and Derek’s reality, Seattle Children’s Uncompensated Care Fund gave them the gift they needed most — time with their daughter.

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Improving Hypospadias Outcomes Through Novel Research

A man wearing a suit and tie smiling.

Dr. Nicolas Fernandez, pediatric urologist at Seattle Children’s

Hypospadias (pronounced hype-oh-spay-dee-us) is a birth defect where the opening of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body, is not located at the tip of the penis. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can affect the penile function and one’s self-perception. It is a common condition that can be treated with surgery in some cases; however, a decision to proceed with surgery needs to be carefully thought through and discussed among the provider, parents and patients.

The current standard treatment for hypospadias starts with the provider defining the severity of the condition. The severity is based on the location of the urethral meatus, the external opening of the urethra, and the penile curvature. Based on the severity,  some patients may be offered surgery as a next step. Surgery involves using local tissue from one part of the patient’s body to relocate the urethral opening to the correct position at the tip of the penis. To date, assessment of the tissue is subjective, and therefore, it is hard for surgeons to repeat the process moving forward.

Dr. Nicolas Fernandez, a pediatric urologist at Seattle Children’s and surgeon scientist at the University of Washington, is working on a research project that aims to reduce this subjectivity and explore new approaches to better assess structural and genetic components of the tissue used for surgery. He is doing so by proposing a novel approach to evaluate hypospadias.

By using technology to detect small genetic differences that can lead to big changes in an individual’s physical characteristics and by applying artificial intelligence on patients with hypospadias, providers can improve clustering of individuals with similar characteristics to ensure a more accurate prediction for treatment and surgery for this condition. This ultimately leads to better, more impactful outcomes for the patient and family.

Dr. Fernandez spoke with On the Pulse about his research.

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Seattle Children’s Researchers Discover that Nanobodies Could Pack the Biggest Punch Against COVID-19 Variants and Resurgence

Capralogics

When the worst pandemic of the century struck, a group of nine Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s scientists teamed up with researchers from Rockefeller University to innovate powerful tools for diagnosing and treating a virus that has claimed over 5 million lives.

In a recent study published in E-life, scientists from Seattle Children’s Aitchison, Sather, Myler and Debley labs, in collaboration with Rockefeller University’s Chait, Rout and Bieniasz labs, demonstrate how a unique group of antibodies, known as nanobodies, could become an exceptional resource for superior COVID-19 protective and therapeutic interventions, as well as bring hope for effective treatment of diseases most commonly found in low-resource countries.

Antibodies are produced by our bodies as a protective response to bacteria, viruses and foreign substances in our blood. Nanobodies are fragments of antibodies produced by llamas and other members of the camelid family. Nanobodies are ten times smaller than human antibodies, they are remarkably robust and they are readily “humanized” for use in diagnostic and therapeutic treatments. Nanobodies bind to viral-producing antigens in places not accessible to human antibodies and are considerably more thermo-resistant. Read full post »


One Family, Two Children and a 16-Year Quest for Answers

A woman and a man standing next to each other in downtown Seattle.

In March 2020, Maleea (on left) and her brother Malachi started infusion treatments at Seattle Children’s every other week for a rare genetic condition, CLN2.

Sabrina and Reiff Castillote knew something was wrong with their daughter Maleea’s health when she was just 5 days old. Then, their 6-year-old son Malachi’s behavior became concerning.

For over 15 years, Sabrina and Reiff took their children to countless specialists, but they never received a clear diagnosis. “We were told our daughter was considered ‘failure to thrive,’ without any real answers to as to why,” Sabrina said. “Some providers thought Malachi might have autism and ataxia, but not all their symptoms lined up.”

Finally, in 2019, they got an answer.

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An Artist in Equity: Michael Willen Winner of 2021 Odessa Brown Ken Feldman Award

When Michael Willen, art therapist, was growing up in Boulder, Colorado during the 1990s, he heard lots of talk about accepting those who were different from you. Reality, however, often didn’t align with the talk.

“You couldn’t be openly gay or talk about something like being transgender,” he recalls. “I wanted a community to connect with, but I didn’t have that resource until I went to college. I wondered why we couldn’t have more of that.”

These days, Michael is helping build an open, accepting community for students at the Alyssa Burnett Adult Life Center and inpatients at Seattle Children’s. His crowning achievement is Diversity Club, a class at the Alyssa Burnett Center that celebrates diversity and helps students become advocates for equity.

For these reasons, Michael recently received the 2021 Odessa Brown Ken Feldman Award, one of Seattle Children’s highest honors, which recognizes individuals or teams that encourage, promote, and display compassion and advocacy for all people.

The Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic helped establish this award in 2006 to recognize individuals and teams that, beyond their formal job description, model diversity, inclusion, and quality care with dignity. A committee administers the award every year.

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