Children Hospital Boston’s Susan Rudders, MD, was part of a six-year study examining emergency room (ER) treatments for kids with severe food allergies. The study showed a sizable portion of food-allergic kids who visited the ER required a second dose of epinephrine, like the kind delivered in single EpiPen shot, to fully recover. The researchers now suggest parents have two EpiPens on hand at all times, instead of the previously recommended one.
Since 1997, the number of kids with food allergies has skyrocketed, but current medical recommendations for treatment haven’t changed much. It’s hoped Rudders’ study will add to the mounting data that suggests guidelines for treating severe food allergies be updated to better reflect current information.
There’s a lot doctors don’t know about the causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States. Many researchers believe there’s a strong correlation between genetics and the disorder, but current tests can link only about 15 percent of people with autism to a proven genetic cause. But the work of Children’s researchers Bai-Lin Wu, PhD, and David Miller, MD, PhD, indicates a new genetic test, which samples the whole genome, could have three times the detection rate for genetic changes related to ASDs when compared to standard tests.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 12 months old in the United States, yet its causes have remained a mystery for years. Now, after more than 20 years of study, researchers at Children’s have linked SIDS with low production of serotonin in the brainstem.
Serotonin helps regulate some of the body’s involuntary sleep functions, like breathing, and helps maintain steady heart and blood pressure rates. Led by Children’s neuropathologist Hannah Kinney, MD, researchers now believe low serotonin levels impair an infant’s ability to regulate these activities, putting them at risk for sudden death from stresses like rebreathing carbon dioxide when sleeping face down. With this knowledge, doctors may be able to better gauge which children are at risk of dying from SIDS and improve their monitoring during sleep.
TuDiabetes.org, a social network for people with diabetes, partnered with Children’s to create an online application where members can share and compare their Hemoglobin A1c levels—a health metric used to measure a person’s control over his diabetes over time—within the TuDiabetes community
Called TuAnalyze, the application lets TuDiabetes members share (publicly or anonymously) some of their health information. It’s all part of a massive data donation drive being conducted to enhance public knowledge of the disease and let TuDiabetes members easily see how their personal A1c levels compare to national and regional averages.