Ear infections, e-cigarettes, and exciting collaborations, oh my! In this week’s research news roundup, we followed the trails of our clinicians and investigators as they used expertise and evidence to weigh in on mainstream health issues. From how to design safer seats and belts in cars, to why e-cigarette sales should follow strict regulations, to discussions on the implications of new findings about ear infections, read on to learn the latest ways our researchers made headlines for the sake of children’s health.
Toyota Teams Up With CHOP for Child Safety
How will future cars provide even more protection for kids in the backseat? A recently announced collaboration between Toyota and researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at CHOP will buckle down to find out. Last week, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced 11 new projects within its “CSRC” Next program, including one led by Kristy Arbogast, PhD, CIRP co-scientific director. The CSRC Next Program, launched earlier this year, is a $35 million research effort directed toward studying the safety of advanced vehicle technologies, which includes both self-driving and connected cars.
Dr. Arbogast’s project will investigate how adult and child passengers of different ages move their bodies in response to a car maneuvering to avoid a crash. The project aims to touch on an area that researchers don’t yet know much about: The physical reactions of passengers in the back seat who are restrained by a seat belt. Ultimately, the 18-month project, titled “Motion and Muscle Activation of Young Volunteers in Evasive Vehicle Maneuvers,” will quantify how these passengers are displaced from their original positions during the car’s avoidance maneuvers so that car companies can design the most effective seat belts and backseats.
CHOP Ranked Among Healthcare’s ‘Most Wired’ Organizations
For the third year in a row, CHOP ranks among the “Most Wired” of hospitals and health systems, according to an annual benchmarking study conducted by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The award recognizes organizations that exemplify the most progress in adopting information technology in their infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and clinical integration.
At CHOP, we are using technologies like smartphones, novel apps, telehealth monitoring and more to not just help our patients access care services and record health information, but to improve the overall patient experience, increase staff satisfaction, engage communities, and optimize research. Notably, CHOP is one of fewer than 20 children’s hospitals in the U.S. to be included in the 2017 Most Wired list.
Earlier this year, we received two other awards related to information technology: The hospital ranked as one of ComputerWorld’s Best Places to work in IT, and Bimal Desai, MD, assistant vice president and chief of Health Informatics at CHOP, received the Healthcare Innovator Award from the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies. The latter honor recognizes a company, researcher, or investor whose innovative solutions positively impact quality, cost, and access to healthcare. Dr. Desai helped to develop CHOP’s Digital Health program and co-founded Haystack Informatics, a company that protects patient privacy by tracking patients’ electronic health records along with healthcare employees’ patterns of behavior.
New Study Examines Breastfeeding Experiences in the N/IICU
For new moms, traditional breastfeeding is a chance to provide newborns with necessary nutrients and the opportunity to bond with their newest family member. For mothers with infants in the newborn/infant intensive care unit (N/IICU), however, an infant’s fragility means that this opportunity isn’t always available. In a new study published in the Journal of Human Lactation, CHOP researchers set out to learn more about the breastfeeding experience of N/IICU mothers – particularly by asking what “breastfeeding” means to them – in order to help set realistic goals for both feeding their baby and bonding. The researchers worked with 11 mothers of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a condition in which an infant’s diaphragm does not develop properly.
"We found early on that 'breastfeeding' didn't necessarily mean holding the baby to the breast," said Elizabeth Froh, RN, clinical supervisor of the Lactation Team at CHOP and lead author of the study in a press release. "For the most part, mothers felt happy as long as their baby was getting their milk, whether by pumping or traditional breastfeeding."
Most of the mothers felt satisfied and considered such an activity as “breastfeeding.” According to the researchers, the results support the need to expand the definition of breastfeeding, as well as the importance of clinicians helping mothers provide their own milk to their infant with CDH through a combination of feeding mechanisms.
Learn more in the press release.
Dr. Jeffrey Gerber Weighs In on Pediatrics Ear Infection Findings
In a recent study published in Pediatrics, researchers from Rochester General Hospital Research Institute found that the rate of ear infections (also known as acute otitis media, or AOM) in young children have declined significantly since the introduction of vaccines. The longitudinal study looked at children up to 3 years old to measure the impact of vaccines on AOM, and the researchers concluded that the number of cases significantly decreased since a previous study conducted in 1989.
In an editorial that accompanied the study titled, “Acute Otitis Media in the 1st Century: What Now?” our own Jeffrey Gerber, MD, attending physician in the division of Infectious Diseases at CHOP, and fellow author Richard C. Wasserman, pediatrician at the University of Vermont Medical Center, weighed in on the larger implications of the results. Drs. Gerber and Wasserman noted that pneumococcal vaccines for AOM should remain a priority, but more research must be done on the best choice of antibiotic therapy for children who do develop AOM. Researchers should also look at how long antibiotics should be administered, since current evidence appears conflicting.
“For researchers, a head-to-head clinical trial between different antibiotic choices and durations is greatly needed to provide working clinicians with the best evidence for managing AOM in the 21st century,” wrote Drs. Gerber and Wasserman in the editorial.
Dr. Brian Jenssen Blogs About Youth E-Cigarette Use
Many of our CHOP researchers and clinicians keep a watchful eye on healthcare policy to see how it affects children and adolescents. One such watchdog is Brian Jenssen, MD, MSHP, primary care pediatrician, researcher, and faculty member at PolicyLab and CHOP. This week, Dr. Jenssen co-authored a powerful blog post on Health Affairs Blog, a self-described “vehicle for commentary and analysis on health policy and issues affecting health and health care.” Dr. Jenssen’s post used scientific evidence to address the urgent need for regulations on e-cigarettes – a product deemed harmful due to its highly addictive nicotine content. Last month, the FDA delayed their efforts to protect children from the harms of e-cigarettes by postponing a proposed regulation to control market sales for several years. “The FDA’s deeming regulation on e-cigarettes closed a significant regulatory gap, following the scientific evidence and appropriately extending its authority over these previously unregulated products,” the authors write in the post.
Read the full post on Health Affairs Blog.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute is Now on Instagram!
Last but not least, have you checked out our official Instagram page? Follow us @CHOP_Research to glimpse what goes on behind the scenes of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute – from celebratory moments, to cool scientific photos, to profiles of our research heroes, and more!
Recently on Cornerstone, we covered exciting CHOP research into the safety of self-driving cars by Helen Loeb, PhD, senior scientist and biomedical research engineer, learned more about the core competencies of a learning health system researcher, and took a snapshot of a new study that found electronic alerts helped to successfully identify sepsis in the pediatric emergency department.
Catch up on our headlines from our July 28 edition of In the News:
- Philadelphia Psychological Association Awards Katherine Dahlsgaard ‘Psychology in Media Award’
- Enrollment Begins for Pediatric Match: A Precision Cancer Medicine Trial
- New Study Finds Mobile Health App for Dermatology Can Help Families
- JAMA Ophthalmology Publishes New Findings on CHOP ROP Model
- Research Institute Hosts Deciphering Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome Conference
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