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Breastfeeding Practices, Cardiac Life Support, Vaccination Schedules, Face Recognition Diagnosis, American Academy Election, AAPOS Award

Published on April 21, 2017 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 5 months 4 weeks ago


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A simple question raised by a concerned parent can often kick-start lines of research at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This week in the news, those sorts of everyday queries – whether they’re about how to breastfeed, why parents should follow a vaccine schedule, or how mechanical circulatory support devices work – led to exciting headline-making stories. We put the latest research news under the microscope and summarized to give you just the fast facts.

Extended Breastfeeding Styles Differ for Every Mom

How should new moms wean off breastfeeding if their baby is one year or older, and when exactly should they do it? Surprisingly, these questions haven’t received much attention in current research despite the rising rates of breastfeeding in the U.S. In a new study published in American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, Diane Spatz, PhD, director of the Lactation Program at CHOP, and Addie Cunniff, a neonatal intensive care nurse at Pennsylvania Hospital, explored the best practices for women who engage in “extended breastfeeding,” or breastfeeding babies beyond one year old. Dr. Spatz and Cunniff interviewed four mothers about their weaning approaches and concluded that extended breastfeeding styles differ from mom to mom, with similarly positive outcomes.

“It’s OK if a baby breastfeeds for more than a year. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Dr. Spatz said in a press release.

Learn more about breastfeeding research: We previously covered Dr. Spatz’s work on the benefits of human milk feedings as part of the Breastfeeding and Lactation Program at CHOP in Bench to Bedside.

Consortium Finds Ways to Improve Survival Rates for Children on Mechanical Circulatory Support

Children with critical cardiac diseases often need emergency mechanical circulatory support to sustain their hearts and lungs when standard treatments fail. One treatment, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), keeps children breathing by pumping oxygenated blood back into their body. The problem? Around 50 percent to 80 percent of children on ECMO die from complications each year.

Now, researchers from a CHOP-initiated multicenter collaborative called the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC⁴) have presented the preliminary results for a study aimed at understanding how exactly hospitals use ECMO. This data can help scientists design initiatives to boost outcomes for children on ECMO. The researchers discussed the findings at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session in Washington D.C. In preliminary results, the researchers identified several subgroups of patients who had a higher risk of requiring ECMO. They also discovered that different hospitals utilized ECMO at different frequencies.

In a press release, Marissa Brunetti, MD, lead author and a cardiac intensivist at CHOP stated: “ECMO is a therapy used to rescue the sickest of children. We wanted to understand how often it is used across the country, which patients are highest risk for needing ECMO, and what the outcomes are, so that we can anticipate patient care and work to improve outcomes.”

Learn more here.

CHOP Expert Explains Recommended Vaccine Schedules for Washington Post

Vaccination is a subject of hot debate these days, with some concerned parents asking the question: Will too many recommended injections spaced within too tight a timeline stress out my child’s immune system? Will it give my child pain? In a recent Washington Post article, one CHOP clinician-researcher gave the discussion a shot of evidence-based reality: Kristen Feemster, MD, a physician in the division of Infectious Diseases and director of research for the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP, discussed why parents shouldn’t worry about giving their children too many vaccinations, and why it just might save their lives. You can read the Washington Post article online.

Digital Facial Recognition Can Diagnose DiGeorge Syndrome

DiGeorge syndrome, also known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, is a rare genetic condition caused by a chromosomal quirk. It can result in a wide variety of medical concerns, from congenital heart disease, to feeding or swallowing issues, to developmental differences like autism. If physicians can detect 22q early in a patient’s life, they can provide the proper counseling and care. That’s why genetic experts at CHOP teamed up with researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make that diagnosis much easier. In a new study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, they describe their creation of a digital facial recognition tool that helps physicians diagnose DiGeorge syndrome based on 126 individual facial features. This technology also helped diagnose Down syndrome in a 2016 study. Learn more in the press release.

Dr. Beverly Davidson Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Since 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has gathered the most innovative minds in the nation under a single society that includes artists, scholars, business leaders, and more. Last week, the Academy announced that its 237th class will include Beverly L. Davidson, PhD, chief scientific strategy officer and director of the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP. Dr. Davidson’s work as a nationally recognized expert in gene therapy is currently focused on genetic diseases that cause central nervous system dysfunction. In the 237th class of the Academy, she is joined by an impressive array of accomplished individuals, including singer-songwriter John Legend, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and award-winning actress Carol Burnett, among others. Learn more about Dr. Davidson’s new election in the press release.

Gil Binenbaum Receives AAPOS Young Investigator Award

Gil Binenbaum, MD, pediatric eye surgeon and director of research in the division of Ophthalmology at CHOP, received the 2017 Young Investigator Award from the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). AAPOS is an organization that aims to support high-quality medical and surgical eye care for children and adults with strabismus. AAPOS offers their annual Young Investigator Award to pediatric ophthalmologists with a resume of high-quality, impactful research.

In a press release, Dr. Binenbaum spoke on how physicians can utilize electronic medical records from their own patients to conduct effective research, as this kind of data can help inform clinically relevant issues in common pediatric eye diseases. Dr. Binenbaum is the principal investigator of a NIH-sponsored multicenter study of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and he also studies retinal hemorrhage in children with head trauma and clinical effectiveness in pediatric ophthalmology. Learn more in the press release.


On Cornerstone, we gave you a snapshot of exciting research in noninvasive eye imaging to detect elevated intracranial pressure, heard from Bryan Wolf, our chief scientific officer about our Annual Report, and reported on Flaura Winston’s exciting recognition by Women in Business Worldwide.

And check out our top headlines from our April 7 segment of In the News:

  • Clinical Journal of Oncology (CJON) Features CAR T-Cell Contributions From CHOP Nurses
  • David Barrett Receives Grant to Further Explore CAR T-Cell Therapy
  • Novartis Announces Pediatric CAR T-Cell Therapy, CTL019, is Under FDA Priority Review
  • New Grant Helps Researchers Study Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Lupus
  • Barbara Medoff-Cooper Receives ENRS Nursing Research Award
  • New Genetic Disorder Named After CHOP Scientists

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