Research

All Articles in the Category ‘Research’

5 New Year’s resolutions to keep kids healthy in 2013

Five doctors at Seattle Children’s offer their top tips for keeping kids healthy in the new year. Their suggestions range from protecting kids against the flu and environmental toxins, to helping them get the rest they need to succeed.

Make one of these your family’s 2013 New Year’s resolution:

1. Protect your whole family against the flu

Doug Opel, MD, MPH, general pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, says “It’s not too late, but don’t wait” to get a flu shot. Opel advises parents to vaccinate their children and themselves against the flu, a contagious virus that infects the nose, throat and lungs, and can cause fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.

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Developmental Delays Found in Children with Deformational Plagiocephaly

More developmental monitoring of children with skull deformation needed, researchers say

Top of head of child with deformational plagiocephaly (drawn by Huang MHS)

As many as 30 percent of all infants may have deformational plagiocephaly, also known as positional plagiocephaly, which is characterized by asymmetry and flattening of the head caused by external pressures. In previous studies, infants and toddlers with this condition have been shown to experience delays in development compared to unaffected children.

Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute wanted to find out if these developmental delays persisted as children grew older. The researchers studied the development of 224 children with deformational plagiocephaly from infancy ( months, on average) through 36 months of age, comparing them to 231 unaffected children. This is the first scientifically rigorous study to examine development in preschool-age children with deformational plagiocephaly compared to a control group of kids without the condition.

Results of the study were published today in the journal Pediatrics. The findings indicate that children with deformational plagiocephaly continued to score lower on development measures than unaffected children at age 36 months.  Differences between children with and without deformational plagiocephaly were largest on measures of language and cognition, and smallest on measures of motor skills such as balance, jumping and running. Read full post »

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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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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Gene Repair Breakthrough Led by Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Imagine a prowler casing a neighborhood, looking for a way into a home. That’s essentially what HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, does:  It moves through the bloodstream trying to gain entry to T-cells — the primary warrior of the immune system. A special receptor on the T-cell’s surface (called CCR5) is the open door it seeks. Once it gains entry, the virus hampers a T-cell’s ability to do its job, leaving people vulnerable to infection and disease — and enabling HIV to spread.

Now imagine you can lock that door forever. The virus can’t enter the T-cells and interfere with the immune system and the body can fight off the infection.

Drs. Dave Rawlings, Andy Scharenberg and a team at Seattle Children’s are getting close to making that vision a reality. Working with colleagues at University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium, they have figured out how to modify genes and knock the CCR5 receptor off T-cells.

Dr. Dave Rawlings, Dr. Andy Scharenberg (right)

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Restaurant Environments Improve, Sort of, Under Nutrition-Label Regulation

Buy one, get one for 1 cent.  Be a hot tamale, eat a hot tamale.  Try our new salted carmel cake pop.

We see slogans like these on billboards and at restaurants on a daily basis.  Would a nutrition-labeling regulation that requires restaurants to post calorie counts help spur a reduction in the use of these slogans, which are known as “barriers to healthful eating?”  That’s what a research team, led by Brian Saelens, PhD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, set out to find. The study, “Nutrition-labeling regulation impacts on restaurant environments,” is published this week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Young man looks at the menu in a fast food restaurant

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