CHOP Research In the News: Transgender Youth, Vaccines, and Sleep

Apr 1 2016

CHOP Research In the News: Transgender Youth, Vaccines, and Sleep

CHOP Research In the NewsAs we end the week and begin a new month, it’s time again to catch up on another week of research news from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And, of course, a new month means a new issue of our research newsmagazine, Bench to Bedside! Check out the new issue here (and if you don’t have time to dig into it just yet, we’ll bring you a more detailed preview next week).

CHOP Experts Highlight Needs of Gender Non-Conforming Youth

This week was LGBT Health Week, and several CHOP researchers took the occasion to share their expertise on the challenges and needs facing youth who are gender non-conforming or transgender.

CHOP’s Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic is one of only a few such specialized pediatric centers in the country. Its co-founders, Nadia Dowshen, MD, and Linda Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC, along with Research Manager Susan Lee, MPH, authored a blog post addressing one of the biggest transgender policy issues to emerge recently in multiple state legislatures: Bathroom access.

They report on the psychological and physical distress that many gender non-conforming youth feel as a result of avoiding school bathrooms due to the reactions of other children. They suggest school-bathroom solutions that will make all students feel safe and comfortable, regardless of their gender identity and expression. Read their post on the CHOP PolicyLab blog.

Children may experiment with gender expression at many ages without necessarily being gender-nonconforming or transgender as they grow up. From the perspective of a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Patty Huang, MD, reviewed how children generally learn about and develop their gender expression, and discussed what types of feelings qualify for a diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” and referral to a clinic like CHOP’s for specialized support. Read her post on the CHOP Center for Injury Research and Prevention blog.

Also read more about the need for research to help improve access to health resources and services for transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender variant youth.

A Voice for Vaccines

Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP, is an internationally recognized expert in vaccines and immunology. This week, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health honored Dr. Offit with the Porter Prize for exceptional performance in health promotion and disease prevention. Dr. Offit was honored for his contributions to improve immunization rates and vaccine development. Marking the occasion, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published a Q&A article, querying his thoughts on anti-vaccination movements, Zika virus, employer-mandated vaccines, and more. He also interviewed with WESA-FM radio.

Who’s Not Sleeping?

A research team in Finland published a study this week suggesting that parents who report sleep problems in their children may, in fact, be reacting to their own poor sleep.

In several media reports, Jocelyn Thomas, PhD, a psychologist specializing in sleep research in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP, weighed in on why this may occur.

"Individuals who obtain insufficient sleep are more likely to attend to and remember negative events in general," Dr. Thomas told Reuters. "Additionally, individuals with sleep difficulties are more likely to focus their attention specifically on their sleep and the sleep of those around them."


In case you missed it, here are the stories we brought you on Cornerstone this week:

Last week’s “In the News” summary covered a $1 million award to a CHOP pediatric oncologist, genetic clues to variation in bone mineral density in girls, and a large CHOP study showing antibiotic exposure during infancy does not increase risk of obesity (despite conflicting findings on this question in the past).

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