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Childhood Obesity, COVID-19 and Weather, Lawnmower Injuries, Preventing Heart Damage

Published on May 8, 2020 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 3 months 1 week ago


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mccannn [at] (By Nancy McCann)

In this week’s roundup of News, our researchers receive the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative award (CZI) for studying what role inflammation plays in childhood obesity. PolicyLab releases new data about the effects of warming weather on the spread of the coronavirus. New findings by CHOP investigators reveal where in the U.S. the most lawnmower injuries among children occur. And a Children’s Oncology Group study shows what drug prevents heart damage in children undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia.

Childhood Obesity Researchers Receive Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Award

A team of three investigators from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania are among 29 interdisciplinary teams who will share a $14 million award for the exploration of emerging ideas regarding the role of inflammation in disease. The CZI will support these small teams to carry out two-year pilot projects focused on tissue-level inflammatory processes in diverse tissues and disease states.


Sarah Henrickson, MD, PhD, receives Chan Zuckerberg Initiative award.

Through their project “Understanding Inflammation’s Role in Childhood Obesity,” Sarah Henrickson, MD, PhD, Division of Allergy Immunology at CHOP; Jorge Henao-Mejia MD, PhD, CHOP Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Golnaz Vahedi, PhD, assistant professor of Genetics at Penn; seek to discover how childhood obesity affects physiology and whether there are long-term consequences for the immune system even if obesity is corrected.

“Worldwide, childhood obesity is one of the most common chronic inflammatory diseases,” Dr. Henrickson said. “However, the impact of that cumulative inflammation on pediatric immune function is poorly understood. This grant will allow our team to work together on this question in both pediatric mouse models and in pediatric patients at a single cell level, fully exploiting the data with cutting edge analysis strategies. We hope this work will be transformative for our understanding of these key questions and move us toward being able to optimize care for these children by better understanding their dysregulated physiology.”

See the CZI press release and University of Pennsylvania press release for more information.

New Model Suggests Warming Weather Will Impact Spread of COVID-19

CHOP’s PolicyLab released new data that show projected COVID-19 cases by county based on when, and how aggressively, communities reopen non-essential businesses. The findings indicate that even the most densely populated cities have opportunities to begin safely reopening as temperatures rise — if a measured approach is taken.

The new data update the model “COVID-Lab: Mapping COVID-19 in Your Community,” which researchers first released in April and include two additional weeks of information across the 211 counties with ongoing outbreaks being tracked. It forecasts the number of coronavirus cases communities could experience over the next 120 days if they relax social distancing measures, defined by travel to non-essential businesses. The updates reveal weather is having a greater impact on the spread of COVID-19 than previously indicated. Rising temperatures appear to be reducing the risk for large second peaks of coronavirus cases during the summer in many locations, as long as communities remain cautious in their reopening strategies.

“The warming spring temperatures have made me more optimistic about our ability to manage transmission of this dangerous virus even in our country’s hardest hit areas, as long as our communities are cautious and vigilant as they reopen,” said David Rubin, MD, MSCE, director of PolicyLab and faculty member of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Still, for those living in areas where the forecasts from our models look good, we would warn against complacency. No matter where you live, our ability to safely return to normal activities depends on developing strong plans to safeguard workers and consumers, protecting each other in public by minimizing crowding and wearing protective masks, and by ensuring we have the capacity to test and identify new cases quickly and quarantine the sick.”

Read more about PolicyLab’s model in their press release and this Cornerstone article.

New Study Reveals Most Serious Lawnmower Injuries Occur in Rural Areas

CHOP researchers discovered that despite improvements in lawnmower design, debilitating lawnmower injuries continue to occur throughout the United States, with the most devastating injuries in rural areas. “Lawnmower Injuries in Children: A National 13-Year Study of Urban Versus Rural Injuries,” appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

By using the Pediatric Health Information System, a unique, pediatric-specific database containing information from 49 not-for-profit hospitals across the U.S., the research team analyzed data from children ages 0 to 18 between 2005 and 2017 and identified 1,302 patients who presented to a hospital with a lawnmower injury.

Of these patients, more than half were between the ages of 1 and 5. In rural areas, more than 60 percent of lawnmower injuries occurred in this youngest group, versus 43 percent in urban areas. The incidence, severity, and complications of lawnmower injuries were all greater in rural communities than in urban areas, with children in rural communities more likely to require an inpatient stay and nearly two times more likely to require an amputation.

“Lawnmower injuries affect thousands of children each year across the country,” said Theodore Ganley, MD, orthopaedic surgeon in the Orthopaedic Trauma Program at CHOP and senior author of the study. “It is important for parents to understand that riding on or being near a lawnmower can have devastating consequences for children. These traumatic injuries have a huge impact on children, their families, and future generations.”

Read more in this AgDaily article and the CHOP press release.

Drug Prevents Heart Damage in Children Undergoing Treatment for AML


Richard Aplenc, MD, PhD, MSCE, coauthor of study that found dexrazoxane helps prevent heart damage in children undergoing treatment for AML.

In new findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, CHOP researchers reveal that the cardioprotective drug dexrazoxane preserved cardiac function in pediatric patients undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) without compromising overall patient survival and potentially improving it.

Dexrazoxane is a cardioprotective drug that interferes with iron-mediated free radical formation and cell death caused by anthracyclines, a class of drugs used in chemotherapy that improves survival in pediatric patients with AML but also has cardiac side effects. By collecting information from the most recent clinical trial for AML by the Children’s Oncology Group, the researchers assessed the effectiveness of dexrazoxane in 1,092 pediatric AML patients. The results suggest a lower treatment-related mortality among those who received dexrazoxane.

“This study provides important evidence that using dexrazoxane helps prevent heart damage in children undergoing treatment for AML,” said Richard Aplenc, MD, PhD, MSCE, assistant vice president and chief Clinical Research officer at CHOP Research Institute, core faculty member of the Clinical Futures, a CHOP Research Institute Center of Emphasis, and senior author of the study. “These results have arguably changed the standard of care for pediatric AML treatment.”

Based on these findings, the upcoming COG Phase III AML trial will require dexrazoxane use for all patients receiving standard chemotherapy.

Learn more at CHOP News.


Catch up on our headlines from our last edition of In the News:

  • CAR Collaboration Helps Define Quality of Life for Individuals with ASD
  • Researchers Characterize Early Life Gut Microbiome Development
  • Researchers Reveal Key Genetic Mechanism Behind IBD
  • New Study Suggests Pulse Oximetry Monitoring Overused in Infants With Bronchiolitis

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