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Day in the life of a nurse

As part of National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we are celebrating those who are on the front line every day caring for children. We recently caught up with Kathryn Mikolic, a Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford .

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Living a full life on a VAD

The youngest of five kids in the Bingham family, 8-year-old Gage is the third of his siblings to suffer from a life-threatening heart failure condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

Ring in 2017 with healthy New Years Resolutions that the whole family can do together. Tips about healthy eating habits and how to keep them all year long from our Pediatric Weight Control program which is now enrolling patients for January.

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The diagnosis behind the diagnosis

In July 2013, 14-year-old Milan Gambhir – who had been a healthy child – was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive and incurable brain tumors: glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

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Sweet Strategies for a Healthy Halloween

We spoke to Cindy Zedeck, MA, program director at Stanford Children’s Health Pediatric Weight Control Program about how to manage sugar-overload while still having a fun and festive holiday.

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Healthy, Happy Halloween!

October is here and with it comes the excitement of costumes and candy. Halloween is a fun-filled time for kids and parents alike but can also present some dangers to your superhero, princess or ghost.

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How does a heart defect start? Stanford scientists use stem cells to find out

For years, pediatric cardiologists have been trying to understand the origin of a puzzling congenital defect that creates a spongy texture in the heart muscle wall. Now, Stanford researchers have shown that they can use stem cell techniques to turn donated skin and blood cells from real patients into a useful tool for figuring out how the disease gets started.

Dr. Steven Adelsheim speaks about resources for mental health, along with (left to right) Sacramento Mayor-Elect and former CA Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg; Nicole Hong, a 17-year old Gunn High School student; and Vic Ojakian, former mayor of Palo Alto who lost his son to suicide Play

“We’re all in this together”: Supporting adolescent mental wellness

The message was clear: “No one can do this alone.” Laura Roberts, MD, MA, chair of Stanford University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences kicked off the first annual Adolescent Mental Wellness Conference by addressing a diverse crowd of advocates who are passionate about improving access to care and resources for mental health. “We’re all in this together,” she emphasized.

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“Fun Helps Us Heal” – Time for Transplant Camp

Fifty Stanford Children’s Health transplant patients are spending the week at camp having fun while still getting the medcial care they need. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is a national leader in pediatric organ transplantation. We sponsor this camp to give kids who have received a transplant a chance to enjoy being children and to connect with other kids like them.

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WIC policies should help kids drink less fruit juice, Stanford experts say

Every day of my 1980s childhood began with orange juice, which my mom served because it was considered a good way to get our daily vitamin C. Since then, nutritionists’ thinking has changed. Daily consumption of fruit juice has been linked with childhood obesity and dental cavities, and kids are thought to be better off getting their vitamins from whole fruits. Yet some health policies haven’t kept up.

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Bottle size may help explain extra weight gain in bottle-fed babies

Scientists who study childhood obesity often wonder how excess weight gain in kids can be prevented. Some experts suggest that prevention efforts should start in infancy, since formula-fed infants grow faster than those who are exclusively breast-fed. A study published this month in Pediatrics adds an interesting twist to the debate: The researchers found that babies fed with larger bottles between 2 and 6 months of age gained more weight.

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New Stanford research offers hope for faster autism diagnosis

What’s the first step in getting help for a child who may have autism? Discouragingly, the answer is often “A long wait.” But Stanford systems biologist Dennis Wall, PhD, wants to change that. His research team is using a big-data approach to devise simple questionnaires that enable parents and primary-care doctors to screen children for developmental disorders using a mobile device.

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New cystic fibrosis screening test developed at Stanford

Stanford researchers have invented a new technique to detect cystic fibrosis in infants. The test, described in a paper published today in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, is more comprehensive, faster and cheaper than current newborn screening methods.

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World-first treatment for rare heart defect saves baby born at Packard Children’s

Linda Luna was five months pregnant with her first child when she got the bad news: Ultrasound scans showed a deadly defect in her baby boy’s heart. He had a 90 percent chance of dying before or just after birth. But thanks to a groundbreaking treatment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, two-month-old baby Liam, who just went home to San Jose last week, is beating those odds.

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About the Zika virus

Infectious disease experts Yvonne Maldonado, MD, and Desiree LaBeaud, MD, MS, discuss the mosquito-borne infection.

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Teens need healthy brain food, says Stanford expert

This week, U.S. News and World Report released their 2016 ranking of the best diets. For their story on healthy eating for teenagers, Neville Golden, MD, division chief of adolescent medicine at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, explained how diet can affect teens’ brains and moods.

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What’s wrong with baby Wyatt?

What should have been one of their family’s happiest moments quickly turned somber as they feared the seriousness of Wyatt’s condition. The dermatology team suspected it could be a skin disease, but they couldn’t know for sure. Wyatt needed to be transferred to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

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Stanford ingenuity + big data = new insight into the ADHD brain

Attention-focusing brain networks interact more weakly than usual in kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, new Stanford research shows. The research, published online this week in Biological Psychiatry, is part of an ongoing effort to figure out how the brain differs from normal in people with ADHD.

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Newly identified gene mutation explains why one family experiences unusual pain response to cold

If you’ve ever plunged your hand into a tub of ice water, you know about the overlap between cold and pain: That deep, biting ache makes you want to get your hand out of the water – fast. While the protective value of that sensation is obvious, scientists have always been a bit mystified by how pain-sensing nerves register cold temperatures. But now, Stanford research on a family with an extremely unusual gene mutation may help clarify what’s going on.

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Chikungunya is on its way to a neighborhood near you

Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has arrived from the tropics to affect patients in many U.S. states, usually strikes with a fever, aches, and joint pain. But sometimes it’s much worse. Stanford pediatric infectious disease expert Desiree LaBeaud, MD, is trying to figure out why some people are hit hard, and others experience a relatively minor illness, according to recent news coverage from NPR.

Flood-affected people in Sindh, Pakistan, recipients of UK humanitarian aid in response to the 2010 floods. Play

An optimist’s approach to improving global child health

Globally, more than six million children die before their fifth birthday each year, most having been born into poverty. While great strides have been made over the last few decades in reducing global child mortality, some countries, like Pakistan, have lagged behind. In a recent Stanford podcast, Anita Zaidi, MD, an internationally renowned pediatrician and director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about the state of child health in her home country of Pakistan and what it takes to lift a nation up.

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Cure is not enough for young cancer survivors

People that survive cancer at a young age are expected to live many decades after diagnosis and treatment, so they are the most vulnerable population to long-term damaging effects from cancer therapy. Stanford’s Karen Effinger, MD, MS, and Michael Link, MD, explore this issue in an editorial published today in JAMA Oncology.

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Parents now help doctors decide what care is right for the sickest babies

Today, NPR’s Morning Edition featured an in-depth story on the evolution of decision-making in neonatal intensive care units – hospital nurseries for the sickest infants. Parents now have much more say in their babies’ care than in the past, and Stanford experts who were on the front lines of the change, including William Benitz, MD, chief of neonatology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, explained how it happened.

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Helping kids with chronic medical conditions make the jump to adult care

Specialists who treat chronically ill adolescents have long recognized the challenges related to this patient population: Young adults may be grown in body, but they aren’t always ready psychologically or socially to take full responsibility for consistently following complicated medical routines and practicing lifestyle restrictions. Nor are most adult care doctors trained in the after-effects of childhood cancer, for instance, or the lifelong need to monitor adults with childhood heart repairs.

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A family’s story changes the science of a rare tumor

When Danah Jewett’s 5-year-old son, Dylan, was dying from a brain tumor in 2008, she wanted to know if there was anything her family could do to help other children who might someday face the same terrible diagnosis. Yes, said Dylan’s doctor, Michelle Monje, MD, PhD: Would you be willing to donate his tumor for cancer research after his death?

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Forget perfection and just cook for your kids, says new book by Stanford author

“Our children are in trouble because we’ve outsourced the job of feeding them,” says Stanford child nutrition expert Maya Adam, MD. To tackle the problem, Adam is spreading a refreshing message: Forget celebrity-chef culture and food fads, and just cook for your kids. Her new book shares stories about how parents around the world find a healthy approach to feeding their children.

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From A to ZZZZs: The trouble with teen sleep

Teenagers who don’t sleep enough pay a heavy price, potentially compromising their physical and mental health. Study after study in the medical literature sounds the alarm over what can go wrong when teens suffer chronic sleep deprivation: drowsy driving incidents, poor academic performance, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts. “I think high school is the real danger spot in terms of sleep deprivation,” says Stanford sleep expert William Dement, MD, PhD. “It’s a huge problem.”

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Helping newborns through song

Instead of drugs or fancy devices, a small village in India is using dhollak and dafali — drums traditional to the region — to spread awareness about post-natal care and to battle infant mortality. The effort started as part of a public-health research project led by Stanford global health expert Gary Darmstadt, MD.

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Keeping kids safe at Halloween

We know Halloween is a special time for kids to dress up as their favorite super hero, princess or scary zombie while getting their hands on those coveted goodies. But with all of the excitement that comes with this festive time of year, it’s important to be aware of how to keep kids safe.

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Is a healthy Halloween possible?

While parents work hard in developing healthy eating habits in their children and educating them to make informed choices about food, there comes one night in which society encourages a total reversal of all parental efforts and messages.

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Stanford Medicine magazine tells why a healthy childhood matters

I’ve forgotten most of my childhood experiences – which is perfectly normal. But apparently my body remembers many of those experiences – and I learned while editing the new Stanford Medicine magazine that’s normal too. The fall issue’s special report, “Childhood: The road ahead,” is full of stories of researchers realizing the impact early experiences can have on adult health. Some of their discoveries are surprising.

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Missing out on “normal”: Advice from an expert on how to help kids with serious illnesses

Children and teenagers with all kinds of chronic and serious conditions want normalcy in their lives, says pediatric psychologist Barbara Sourkes, PhD, who directs the palliative care program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Sourkes helps our patients and their families navigate the divide between living with a difficult diagnosis and simply being a kid. Here, she offers advice on how to help children who must “commute” back and forth between the medical world and their everyday lives.

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Rare gene variants help explain preemies’ lung disease, Stanford study shows

Because they’re born before their lungs are fully mature, premature babies are at risk for a serious lung disease. Over the last several decades, this disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, has evolved into both a great medical success story and a persistent mystery. But a new Stanford study, published this week, is helping clarify the mysterious part.

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Stanford doctors unraveling mysterious childhood psychiatric disease

A story in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal highlights Stanford’s leadership in treating a mystifying disease in which a child suddenly develops intense psychiatric problems, often after an infection. The disease, called pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, can be terribly disabling, altering kids’ personalities, interfering with their school work and making it hard for families to function.

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Why Babies Don’t Have Freckles

Freckles are a phenomenon that occurs when genetically predisposed people (often those with fair skin, red hair, and light eyes) are exposed to UV light over time, according to Joyce Teng, MD, director of pediatric dermatology for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

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Mom of Multiples #2: The Whys of Multiples

Multiples attract attention, there’s no getting around it. People approach you in public, sometimes just to look at your babies and say “Aw,” sometimes to tell you about twins they know, sometimes to tell you they are a twin! Amy Letter shares more in part two of her series on having multiples.

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Phoenix baby saved by heart surgery pioneer

Baby Jackson Lane’s heart problems were “about as dramatic as you can get.” Famed surgeon Dr. Frank Hanley and his team stepped in to save Jackson’s life. “We are just so lucky that we found Dr. Hanley and that our son fought for his life,” said mom Elyse.

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Early Support Program for Autism, a collaboration between Stanford Children’s Health and Children’s Health Council, connects families to autism resources

Finding autism caregivers and treatments is a daunting challenge for families facing a new autism diagnosis. But now there’s help. The Early Support Program for Autism, a free service with no waiting list, gives parents someone to call for up-to-date information about doctors, therapists, treatment programs and other community resources.

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Screen time for the school year: Expert offers tips

Keeping kids off of tablets and phones can be a problem during vacation, but with teachers instructing students to use screen technology to complete assignments, it may seem like your kids are glued to devices. Thomas Robinson, MD, MPH, has some helpful tips for parents looking to set boundaries around family screen time.

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New Baby at Home? When to Call the Doctor

A newborn baby sparks loads of happy feelings and smartphone pictures. But when should a parent call the doctor? Luckily, most newborns are perfectly healthy, but there are a few red flags that every parent should watch out for.

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Q & A about Enterovirus-D68 with infectious disease expert Yvonne Maldonado, MD and Keith Van Haren, MD, pediatric neurologist

Yvonne Maldonado, MD, service chief of pediatric infectious disease at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, answers questions about the respiratory symptoms caused by this virus. In addition, Keith Van Haren, MD, a pediatric neurologist who has been assisting closely with the California Department of Public Health’s investigation, comments on neurologic symptoms that might be associated with the virus.

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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Extend a $2.25 Million Challenge Grant to Fund Innovative Clinical Food Allergy Research at Stanford

Groundbreaking food allergy research at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has received a major boost through the creation of a challenge grant by Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. Severe food allergies are a growing epidemic, with rates having doubled in the last decade. One out of every 13 children is affected, and over 30 percent are thought to have allergies to more than one food.

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Make this year a healthy school year

With the days of summer vacation soon coming to an end, parents are getting in gear to send their kids back to school. Along with stocking up on school supplies and buying new clothes, it’s also a good time to think about their health needs.

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Concussions in Young Athletes: How Far Will We Go to Win?

Nearly 4 million sports-related concussions occur in the U.S. each year and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of these cases affect young people. Concussions can have devastating consequences, including impaired cognitive function and other long-term neurological effects.

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Get Shots! The Time to Vaccinate is Now

Vaccination is not just a personal decision. It impacts families, communities and the larger health care system. Keeping a child’s vaccinations up-to-date can provide protection to vulnerable individuals, including babies, seniors and those with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women can impart protection to their unborn child.

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New study shows standardization makes hospital hand-offs safer

A study published online this week in Pediatrics offers encouraging results from a large-scale effort to tackle a persistent safety problem in hospitals. The study is the first scientific investigation of a multi-hospital project to improve patient hand-offs, the times when a patient’s care is being transferred from one person to another.

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Side effects of childhood vaccines are extremely rare, new study finds

As you may have heard about elsewhere, a new paper published today on the safety of childhood vaccines provides reassurance for parents and pediatricians that side effects from vaccination are rare and mostly transient. The paper, a meta-analysis appearing in Pediatrics, updates a 2011 Institute of Medicine report on childhood vaccine safety. It analyzed the results of 67 safety studies of vaccines used in the United States for children aged 6 and younger.

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A chance discovery, and a decision to wait

In 2005 13-year-old Monica Datta joined several other young people in undergoing MRIs as part of a research study at Stanford University. Unlike everyone else, Datta’s unexpectedly revealed a spot in her brain that nobody had known about.

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Health care hero for at-risk young people

Seth Ammerman, MD, medical director of Mobile Adolescent Health Services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, has received a prestigious public service award for his role in providing free, comprehensive health-care services to uninsured and homeless youth through the hospital’s Teen Health Van.

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New research shows how to keep diabetics safer during sleep

Life with type 1 diabetes requires an astonishing number of health-related decisions – about 180 per day. But patients’ vigilant monitoring of their daytime blood sugar, food intake, insulin and activity levels is perhaps less exhausting than the worries they face about getting a safe night’s sleep.

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A Boost for Breastfeeding

During World Breastfeeding Week, August 1 to 7—and every week—Packard Children’s partners with moms who want to breastfeed to help ensure they and their babies have all the support they need.

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Highest Ranking for Trauma Center

Packard Children’s and Stanford hospitals are proud to be home to a trauma center that has received the highest possible ranking for providing outstanding care to injured children and adolescents.