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How to feed the smallest preemies

A new toolkit from the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative, co-authored by a panel that included three Stanford experts, will help spread the latest research on preemie nutrition to doctors around the world.

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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.

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Extra chemo drugs don’t improve treatment of rare bone cancer

A large clinical trial, published today in The Lancet Oncology, should spare young people with a rare bone cancer from the side effects of too much chemotherapy. Current treatments for osteosarcoma, a malignant bone tumor that usually affects teenagers, are less effective than doctors would like, so in recent years they’ve sometimes added extra chemotherapy drugs to the standard regimen.

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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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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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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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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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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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The rocket men and their breathtaking invention

It’s a gadget straight out of Star Trek — a breath analyzer that may someday quickly and noninvasively detect everything from diabetes to cancers. In a new Stanford Medicine magazine story, you can read about how three Stanford rocket-combustion experts designed and tested a Breathalyzer-like device to measure toxic ammonia levels in critically ill children, all in about a year.

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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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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.