CHOP Research In the News: Summer-Ready Stories about Families, Travel, and Science

May 27 2016

CHOP Research In the News: Summer-Ready Stories about Families, Travel, and Science

CHOP Research In the NewsWelcome back to another weekly roundup of research news from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia! As we head into Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. and the informal start to summer, let’s begin with news this week that resonates with some of the things we love about summer.

Family Reunion

Summer is a great time to reunite with far-flung family. A special reunion of many families was held at CHOP this week for children who were treated at CHOP’s Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome.

More than 100 patients and families attended the reunion, held May 22 at the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Pediatric Research Center, on the Raymond G. Perelman Campus. The event featured face painting, music and a special visit by the Phillie Phanatic.

Since the Center’s opening in 2009, pediatric orthopedists, general surgeons, pulmonologists, and advanced practice nurses have evaluated more than 300 children with thoracic insufficiency syndrome (TIS).  TIS is a complex spine and chest wall condition that affects normal breathing and lung growth.

Robert Campbell, MD, the center’s director, is the designer of the vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR), which is the only FDA-approved device to treat children with TIS to date. His research has demonstrated that the device dramatically improves patient outcomes. He received Pennsylvania Bio’s Patient Impact Award for his achievements last year.

Read more in the CHOP press release and view photos from the event on Facebook.

Travel Safety in the Back Seat

Before setting out on summertime road trips, families should know that cars rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with its “5-Star Safety Ratings Program” currently receive such ratings based only on safety features in the front seats.

“People assume a 5-star rating extends to all seating locations, but it doesn’t,” said Kristy Arbogast, PhD, co-scientific director and engineering director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP, in a Bloomberg story. “The back seat hasn’t kept up.”

The rating program will begin testing of crash test dummies in back seats in 2019, Bloomberg reported.

In the meantime, you can check out more information about CHOP research on child passenger safety and educational videos containing child passenger safety tips.

Travel Abroad for a High Scientific Honor

Douglas Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at CHOP and a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, traveled to Rome earlier this month for a major scientific honor. Dr. Wallace was inducted into the Italian Academy of Sciences as a foreign member, in recognition of his role as the founder of the field of mitochondrial medicine.

Founded in 1782 as the Italian Society, the Italian Academy of Sciences has a mission of encouraging scientific research and disseminating the progress of science to schools and the general public. Its membership is limited to 40 Italian scientists and 25 foreign members. During the Academy’s long history, it has welcomed as members Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Louis Pasteur, Alessandro Volta, Rita Levi-Montalcini, Wilhelm Roentgen, Enrico Fermi and many other internationally prominent scientists. 

We’ll have more about Dr. Wallace’s research and his selection for the Academy in the upcoming issue of Bench to Bedside. For now, get more details in the CHOP press release.

Bioinformatics Project Connects Hospitals to Public Health Agencies

Also this week, two clinical informatics fellows at CHOP won the top prize in the "Closing the Data Divide" Virtual Challenge for their project "PHRASE Health," or the Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine. Marc Tobias, MD, and Naveen Muthu, MD, are the two fellows behind the system, which is designed to use electronic health records to identify at-risk populations and provide clinical decision support to healthcare providers, while allowing for a two-way flow of data with public health agencies. Among other applications, clinicians can receive up-to-date recommendations about emerging illnesses like Zika virus. A prototype version of PHRASE Health is already being tested at CHOP.

Read more about the project and prize in the press release from the challenge’s sponsor, the de Beaumont Foundation. We’ll have more of the story in a forthcoming Bench to Bedside article.


In case you missed it, earlier this week on Cornerstone we brought you a conversation about behavioral health research at CHOP with research psychiatrist Stewart Anderson, MD.

Last week’s In the News roundup featured studies of racial bias in emergency departments, physician gender and its influence on human papillomavirus vaccination, and a patient’s perspective on the importance of clinical trials.

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