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The story behind Landon Browne: The 7-year-old who honored his surgeon by dressing up as him for Halloween

Landon Browne and Dr. Jay Rubinstein

During a recent visit to Seattle Children’s, 7-year-old Landon Browne dressed up as his favorite surgeon, Jay Rubinstein, to honor and celebrate him at this Halloween time of year. We suspect you saw the related media coverage, and wanted to share more about Landon, who has captured the public’s interest.

There are landmark moments in every child’s life that a parent likes to document. The first time he rolls over, crawls, stands and walks are among the moments worth noting. But for Alysia and Brendan Browne, the moments they got really excited about for their son, Landon, relate to his hearing.

“When he said, ‘butter’ for the first time, I threw open the front door and yelled, ‘He said, butter!” The neighbors probably thought I was crazy,” Alysia said, with a smile.

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The inner ear may hold a clue in the quest to find the cause of SIDS

Infant ear

Daniel Rubens, MD, is not your average researcher. He’ll tell you for starters, that he’s not technically a researcher, but rather an anesthesiologist. His team is small:  Travis Allen, a nurse anesthetist at Seattle Children’s, volunteers his free time to work alongside Rubens, who is also supported by staff and leaders at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington.

Since 2007, Rubens has spent no more than $100,000 on his research on SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A big chunk of those funds, $60,000, came from a fundraiser held in Florida by a mother who lost her child to SIDS. She read about Rubens’ research, contacted him out of the blue and wanted to support his efforts.

Rubens’ experience dealing with infants in crisis inspired him to seek an answer to the unsolved mystery of SIDS, and his latest study published in Neuroscience—offers up more clues on the premise that the syndrome may be related to dysfunction within the inner ear. “I was always drawn to the mystery of SIDS,” Rubens said. “I’ve read the literature over the years, and it struck me that there’s so much we don’t know,” he said, when asked what initially piqued his interest.

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Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook

Facebook homepage

Those three attention-grabbing words can often make parents a bit uneasy when they think about how they relate to their kids. The words are also the title of a new book from Megan Moreno, MD, who heads up the Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Moreno is an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children’s and she sees patients on a regular basis. Her aim, based on her research, is that healthy Internet use will one day be discussed in the same way we tell young people to get enough sleep, to drink in moderation and to eat healthy foods. She even sees it as a topic that will be brought up in the doctor’s office one day. Have you had your vaccinations, talked about safe sex and discussed your Facebook and Twitter habits?

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All for one and one for all in the battle against childhood cancer

collaborate

It’s 9 a.m. on a recent rainy morning in Seattle. Julie Park, MD, has her shoes drying out by the heater in her office at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She’s on a conference call with doctors and statisticians from Germany, Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and they’re discussing neuroblastoma, the most common solid tumor in children younger than 1 year of age.

Park leads the Neuroblastoma Committee for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the world’s largest organization devoted to childhood and adolescent cancer research. COG is supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and unites more than 8,000 experts at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, universities and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

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Researchers pinpoint decision-making parts of brain that can affect addiction, ADHD

The brainWhen “Glee” star Cory Monteith died last month from an overdose of heroin and alcohol, his fans were baffled. Monteith, 31, seemed to have everything—a great job, fame and a loving girlfriend and co-star. He had just completed a stint in rehab in April, too. But the pull of addiction is strong and even the smartest people don’t make the best decisions when faced with temptation.

Now, a team led by Susan Ferguson, PhD, from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and John Neumaier, MD, PhD, from the University of Washington, has used a new technique to identify and learn more about a key reward-based, decision-making part of the brain, the striatum.

The team’s findings have implications for addiction, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps one day, with the help of medications targeting this part of the brain, addicts like Monteith can better control their urges and avoid tragic endings.

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Care, cost for diabetes complication varies widely at children’s hospitals

Dictionary Series - Health: diabetes

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a complication of type 1 diabetes, is one of the most serious and potentially preventable conditions affecting children with diabetes today. A new national study led by Seattle Children’s found a wide variation in cost, length of stay and readmission rates for children with DKA.

“Delivery of care for diabetic ketoacidosis in the U.S. is not ideal,” said Joel Tieder, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “One out of five diabetic ketoacidosis admissions are potentially preventable. Hospitals and doctors and nurses who care for children with diabetes should take a look at our data to see if there’s room for improving healthcare delivery on their home turf.”

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Bioethics experts share personal perspectives on life-changing cases

BioethicsThis week medical experts from across the country will gather in Seattle to discuss “Cases That Keep Us Awake at Night,” the theme of the 2013 Pediatric Bioethics conference. It’s not uncommon for things to keep us awake at night—a disagreement with a friend or neighbor or anxiety over a big work assignment—but the issues that clinicians and bioethicists will tackle at this confab are quite different.

Most of us, for instance don’t often think about the following questions:
• Should an organ transplant be performed over a family’s objections?
• Should Child Protective Services intervene when a family fails to address the eating habits of a morbidly obese child?
• Should healthcare professionals withdraw medical interventions against the wishes of a family?

Doctors, nurses and others will also discuss the intersection of the personal and the professional, and how it affects their work. At last year’s conference, Douglas Opel, MD, MPH, of Seattle Children’s, spoke about being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and how it altered his role as a physician. Excerpts from that talk, which was published in its entirety in The Hastings Center Report late last year, are included below.

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Seattle Children’s patient has positive response to new cancer treatment

Lynsie Conradi_cropThe first patient in a cellular immunotherapy Phase 1 cancer trial at Seattle Children’s has had a positive response to T-cell therapy. The 23-year-old patient, Lynsie Conradi, from Bellingham, Wash. received the welcome news yesterday. Conradi signed up for the study after experiencing a second relapse of leukemia earlier this year.

The new treatment 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.

“Results show that Lynsie has had a positive response to the T-cell therapy and, at this time, we do not detect any leukemia cells,” said Rebecca Gardner, MD, principal investigator for the clinical trial.

The next step for Lynsie is a stem cell transplant, with the aim of clearing the cancer from her body. The goal of the immunotherapy cancer trial was to get her to this stage. Read full post »

Teens miss out on recommended vaccinations, study finds

Vaccine vials

Young people who come to their doctor’s office for care are often not offered shots that they should have, including those for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, human papillomavirus and meningococcal disease. “Missed Opportunities for Adolescent Vaccination, 2006-2011” was published June 27 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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Research, philanthropy a welcome fit in current funding climate

Rolled money in a test tube

Headlines these days related to research funding are grim: “Seattle researchers fear federal cuts will costs lives and jobs” and “Show me the money: Is grant writing taking over science?” are two recent stories that ran in the Puget Sound Business Journal and The Guardian, respectively.

The federal government announced in May that the National Institutes of Health 2013 budget will drop by five percent, or $1.71 billion, to $29.15 billion, compared to 2012. The cuts are part of the effort to balance the budget and, based on what our researchers say, are part of the “new normal” moving forward.

But there’s a bright spot here at Seattle Children’s: Philanthropy for research is increasing, and it’s making a difference.

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