Thousands of children are diagnosed each year with hydrocephalus, a condition in which the body can’t properly drain the fluid that builds up around the brain. Physicians commonly treat hydrocephalus by implanting a shunt in the brain to carry the excess fluid to other parts of the body.
Shunts save lives, but too often they also lead to infections that can require multiple surgeries and leave patients hospitalized for weeks.
Physicians don’t know why shunt infections are so common, or why they sometimes come back over and over again. But an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute may have found a clue to this longstanding mystery.
In a study published today in PLOS ONE, Tamara Simon, MD, MSPH, and her colleagues outline a discovery that could help understand, treat and prevent future infections. Researchers used genetic sequencing to conduct the first-ever inventory of microbiota – the complex assortment of bacteria and fungi – found in the cerebrospinal fluid of eight children with shunt infections. They identified a surprisingly large and diverse variety of pathogens, including many never before associated with shunt infections. This suggests that many different pathogens may conspire to drive the infections.
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AJ Hwangbo was a happy-go-lucky 6-year-old without a worry in the world until mid-November when he developed a life-threatening heart condition. While specialists at Seattle Children’s Hospital helped AJ heal physically, the young boy struggled to bounce back emotionally. But, AJ’s joyful spirit returned after hospital staff arranged for him to meet his hero – local artist Macklemore.
“The luckiest or unluckiest boy”
Before he became ill, AJ’s mom Yoo-Lee Yea said he was an especially social first-grader and a frequent jokester. But on the morning of Nov. 12 he was quieter than usual. Later that day AJ threw up at school and by the evening he had a high fever. AJ’s primary care doctor said he likely had a virus and should feel better in a few days. Read full post »
As the New Year approaches, we’re taking a look back at a post from last year to help families make SMART resolutions. Seattle Children’s Dr. Mollie Grow offers advice for making resolutions with your family that will last well into 2015.
The new year marks a time for reflection and change, a time for new beginnings and resolutions. Each year, people boldly step forward into the future with goals in mind to make the new year even better than the one before, making resolutions to lose weight, to be more organized or to be more successful, but not every resolution is a good one.
Resolutions can be a great way for people and families to stay on track in the new year, and to set goals together, but Mollie Grow, MD, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s, says resolutions need to be attainable.
Making resolutions as a family can be a wonderful activity, but it’s important to think them through first before setting them in stone.
“Don’t set your family up for failure when making resolutions,” said Grow. “Make SMART resolutions.” Read full post »
The faster medical research moves the more quickly cures can be found for countless children’s diseases. But one of the greatest delays researchers face when trying to solve medical problems is finding enough patients to study.
“Enrolling patients in a clinical trial to study a rare condition could take years,” said Mark Del Beccaro, MD, a researcher and vice president of medical affairs at Seattle Children’s.
But now a federally funded non-profit has awarded Children’s and seven other pediatric hospitals funding to create a national network of patient data with the goal of speeding up medical research and improving patient care. Read full post »
Being sick is never fun for a child, and spending time in a hospital can be especially difficult for families during the holidays. Children sometimes wonder if Santa will be able to find them come Christmas day. But at Seattle Children’s, there’s no need to worry. Every year, Santa makes a very special visit to Children’s – it’s one of his favorites stops along his Christmas route!
With Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph all safely parked atop the roof, Santa spreads Christmas cheer for all to hear, his jolly laugh echoing through the halls of Children’s. And thanks to Santa’s trusty elves, every child receives a present chosen just for them. It’s just one of the many ways Children’s helps families feel more at home for the holidays and cope with being in the hospital on Christmas. Read full post »
Once a year, the patient playroom at Seattle Children’s transforms. Usually it’s a place for patients to have fun and play with toys and games. But last Thursday, volunteers and Child Life staff members turned the room into every kid’s fantasy – a toy store where absolutely everything is free.
Every holiday season, Children’s partners with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to host this holiday shopping party for patients.
It’s just one of the many ways Children’s helps kids and their families cope with being at the hospital during the holidays. Read full post »
The holiday season is a time where family and friends come together and often reflect on what they are most thankful for. It’s a time of celebration and joy, and for some, it’s also a time to give back.
For 17-year-old Sophie Kuniholm, this time of the year is a combination of all those things. She’s thankful for her health, the support of her family and the ability to give back to others. But most importantly, she’s thankful for her heart, both literally and metaphorically. Read full post »
Travis, Turner and Tynan Patterson (from left to right) packed the car for last year’s toy drive for Children’s.
This month, Travis Patterson and his 16-year-old son, Turner, are spearheading their seventh annual holiday toy drive for patients at Seattle Children’s.
It’s just one way the Pattersons give back to the place that saved Turner’s life and changed Travis’s forever.
Nearly 11 years after Travis first walked through Children’s doors, holding tight to a very sick Turner, he is a grateful parent, a dedicated volunteer and – since earlier this year – an engaged employee. In February, the journeyman electrician joined the Plant Operations team.
And he’s not the only family member working at Children’s. His older son (and Turner’s big brother), Tynan Patterson, works in the Nutrition Department.
When Travis makes his hospital rounds to work on the emergency generator or fulfill Fix-It requests, Travis brings the tools of his trade and something else – a type of compassion that can only come from been-there, done-that experience.
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There’s at least one thing that Seattle Seahawks fans and San Francisco 49ers fans can agree on…sick kids need help from anywhere they can get it. So when the 49er Faithful group pledged extra dollars from their recent fundraising effort to Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, we accepted. We might question their choice in football teams, but we would never question their integrity.
Last night, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his brother Branton Sherman surprised patients, families and staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital with a very special visit. Unable to attend “Blue Tuesday,” Sherman said he didn’t want to miss out on seeing the kids. He drove to the hospital right after practice with his brother in toe to pass out Seahawks pillow pets.
Just as patients, families and staff at Children’s thought they couldn’t get any louder and prouder to be a part of the 12th man, Sherman proved why Seattle is home to the best and most generous team in the NFL. Our 12th man flag is proudly waving at the entrance of the hospital for all to see. Go Hawks!
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