Welcome back to another weekly roundup of research news from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia! This week’s stories start with celebrating healthy beginnings with an honor for a researcher who focuses on the health needs of vulnerable newborn babies, then transitions through a weighty childhood health concern with a major news report about lead paint poisoning in Philadelphia and a CHOP expert’s discussion of how policy should address the vital need to protect young children. Finally, we conclude with the transition into adult care from pediatric neurology, with the recommendations of a panel led by a CHOP expert. Read on to join us on this journey through the pediatric research lifespan.
Lifetime Achievement Honor for Human Milk Researcher
Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, director of the Breastfeeding and Lactation Program at CHOP, was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Neonatal Nursing Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.
Over the last two decades, Dr. Spatz, who also is a researcher and the Helen M. Shearer Term Chair in Nutrition and professor of Perinatal Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, has published numerous studies focused on breastfeeding and medically fragile infants. Her findings have contributed to CHOP’s development of a state-of-the-art Human Milk Management Center and a new on-site human milk bank for hospitalized infants. She continues to pioneer studies of the largely unknown world of human milk science.
Feeling the Weighty Issue of Lead Poisoning Among Children in Philadelphia
An in-depth report from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, published Oct. 30, brought into focus the issue of lead toxicity affecting children in Philadelphia — a city which faces unique challenges in addressing lead paint due to the prevalence of older homes and widespread poverty. Even families who know that their homes expose children to risk from lead paint may be unable to address the problem or move into safer housing. Any level of lead exposure is harmful to children.
“Even at very low levels, children can have trouble learning and have other problems with their brain function,” the article quoted Kevin Osterhoudt, MD, MSCE, medical director of the Poison Control Center at CHOP, from testimony he delivered to a public hearing in March. “[It] robs them of their potential to achieve all they may have otherwise.”
At CHOP’s PolicyLab, where researchers work to translate research on children’s health needs into policy-based solutions, this is a familiar challenge. In February 2016, PolicyLab psychologist Marsha Gerdes, PhD, blogged about the issue of lead paint in Pennsylvania homes and discussed solutions that pediatricians and the state might pursue to address this pressing issue.
“Primary prevention, including the cleaning of houses and moving expectant families and families with young children into safer homes, should be the state’s top priority,” Dr. Gerdes wrote. “Efforts to find funds to fully address this are needed.”
Read more on the PolicyLab blog.
CHOP Neurologist Leads Consensus Statement on Transition to Adult Care
A panel of experts convened by the Child Neurology Foundation has issued a consensus statement containing principles and practical guidance for helping children with neurological health issues transition to adult care as they grow up. The statement, initially issued in August, was highlighted last week in a Neurology Today report from the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting.
“Transition is not a moment in time; it's a process of preparing youths and families for the process of becoming adults,” Lawrence W. Brown, MD, a pediatric neurologist at CHOP and lead author of the consensus statement, told Neurology Today.
Dr. Brown advises integrating the principles into practice early in a child’s care.
Look for more on this issue here on Cornerstone, when we bring you the story of a CHOP pediatrician working to improve transition to adult care and access to services for children with epilepsy.
In case you missed it, this week on Cornerstone we shared the action-packed story of the CRC RE@CH Awards, honoring clinical research coordinators for their superhuman achievements in their essential work at CHOP.
We also have an exciting new issue of Bench to Bedside published last week with a wide range of stories about research at CHOP, including a major new genetics initiative, an effort to improve antibiotic prescribing in primary care, and many more.
Last week’s jam-packed In the News post featured a CHOP oncologist’s planned appearance at the Rose Parade®, a pioneering fetal surgery to remove a tumor from a child’s heart, a research tool to prevent pediatric post-traumatic stress, CHOP’s presence at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, and a study finding that a common diagnostic tool for ADHD may not be ideal among children on the autism spectrum.
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