Bright blue skies, lush green fields, jungle and red earth were among the sites Kathleen Bongiovanni saw on her recent trip to Uganda. She visited this country in East Africa as part of a month-long research trip. Bongiovanni, a program manager in the Center for Developmental Therapeutics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, went to determine whether or not a foam stability test would be acceptable to clinicians, birth attendants and mothers in Uganda, particularly in rural areas. The test—a simple process conducted with fluid suctioned from a newborn’s mouth—would be a new way for doctors and other trained healthcare workers to easily and inexpensively diagnose lung immaturity in premature infants.
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.
Study: Doctors’ Language Tests Spotlight Need to Provide Interpreters in Medical Settings
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 »
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:
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
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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 »
“Baby born at 1 pound now a thriving 5-year-old” “Barely over a pound when born, miracle baby will go home” These are just two of the headlines that have crossed the wires in the past week. And while they convey the hope and possibilities now available to babies born too soon in the developed world, they fail to paint an accurate picture of premature birth.
Premature birth has become the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, killing 1.1 million infants worldwide. In the United States and other developed countries, medical interventions are able to save many preterm babies, resulting in the “miracle baby” stories we see each week. The story that’s rarely reported is that these babies often face a lifetime of disability that may include cerebral palsy, brain injury, or respiratory, vision, hearing, learning, and developmental problems. The impact on families is huge; economic turmoil from medical bills, lost wages if a parent is needed full-time at-home to address the medical challenges, and emotional strain from managing the situation. Read full post »
Dr. Bonnie Ramsey of Seattle Children’s Research Institute was honored today, April 18, in Washington, D.C. for her work on clinical trials of Kalydeco, a cystic fibrosis drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this year. She is a co-recipient of the award with Dr. Frank Accurso from the University of Colorado.
The Clinical Research Forum, a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare, put Dr. Ramsey’s work on a of outstanding clinical research projects across the country. Some of Dr. Ramsey’s fellow award winners were behind research that: is helping prevent complications after bone marrow transplantation; uncovered new therapies for leukemia; found that early treatment with medications can prevent HIV transmission. Read full post »
Like many parents across the country, my husband and I are constantly trying to balance and prioritize what’s best for our two young children. I’m also a researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington. My most recently-published work highlights that half of preschool age children in the U.S. lack daily outdoor playtime with their parents. The topic is one that hits close to home, as there are many challenges for parents to get outside with their little ones. Read full post »