Features

A New Kind of Rectal Diversion in Classic Bladder Exstrophy
A New Kind of Rectal Diversion in Classic Bladder Exstrophy 1024 754 Jeb Phillips

  This article appeared in the Spring/Summer 2021 print issue. Download the full issue.   Medical illustrations by Mandy Root-Thompson for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Source: V. Rama Jayanthi, chief of Urology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital To learn more about the procedure and it’s applications, read A Surprising Approach to Classic Bladder Exstrophy.

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A Surprising Approach to Classic Bladder Exstrophy
A Surprising Approach to Classic Bladder Exstrophy 1024 754 Jeb Phillips

A procedure developed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital comes with possible risks but can have a huge impact on quality of life. It’s become clearer over the last two years that a “good outcome” for children born with classic bladder exstrophy is in the eye of the beholder. One of the best outcomes, nearly everyone would…

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Targeting DIPG: The Most Puzzling of Pediatric Brain Tumors
Targeting DIPG: The Most Puzzling of Pediatric Brain Tumors 1024 629 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Survival has dramatically improved for numerous pediatric cancers over the last several decades, with a notable and very deadly exception: diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Now, a community of researchers and clinician-scientists have set the stage for a renewed — and better-armed — assault against this beast of a brain tumor. The past 50 years…

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Lessons Learned Through a Global Pandemic
Lessons Learned Through a Global Pandemic 1024 683 Lauren Bakaletz, PhD
Lauren Bakaletz, PhD

As a microbiologist and vaccinologist, I spend nearly every day thinking about viruses and bacteria and the diseases they cause, as well as how to best prevent them from doing so. While in graduate school, we were taught about the great ‘flu’ pandemic of 1918 that infected one-third of the world’s population and killed 20-50…

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Understanding Immune Responses to Build a Better Vaccine
Understanding Immune Responses to Build a Better Vaccine 1024 606 Abbie Roth

Researchers have used studies of respiratory syncytial virus and infant immune responses to develop a promising vaccine candidate. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an incredibly common yet potentially deadly pathogen. Almost everyone becomes infected with RSV during their first three years of life, but for certain populations — infants and elderly or immunocompromised people —…

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Introducing a New SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Candidate
Introducing a New SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Candidate 1024 512 Abbie Roth
coronavirus

The new vaccine candidate takes advantage of the long and successful history of the measles vaccine. A team of researchers from The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s have built a novel vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. The candidate, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), used the measles vaccine as a vector…

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Getting Children and Families Outside With PlayStreets
Getting Children and Families Outside With PlayStreets 1024 683 Tiwana Henderson

A PlayStreet initiative in 2019 from Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families helped more than 350 South Side residents get outside and play – safely. Research has found that children who play outside are more physically active and have stronger social skills that those who do not. Unfortunately, low-income neighborhoods with high rates of crime and lack…

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How Important is Fasting for Pediatric Routine Cholesterol Screening?
How Important is Fasting for Pediatric Routine Cholesterol Screening? 1024 575 Andrew Tran, MD

A nonfasting lipid panel is a great first-line screening tool to use. While it is ideal to have a fasting lipid panel, this can be difficult to obtain in practice. For the purposes of screening, I think that it is much more important to go ahead and get the nonfasting lipid panel while the patient…

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Protecting an ‘Open Future:’ Improving Fertility Preservation Decision-Making for Young Males With Cancer
Protecting an ‘Open Future:’ Improving Fertility Preservation Decision-Making for Young Males With Cancer 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES
Color photo of Black father holding infant on shoulder in front of nursery background with clouds on the wall

Evidence from a new study highlights the importance of family-centered decision processes and clinician facilitation in improving fertility preservation uptake prior to cancer treatment. Numerous cancer treatments can reduce fertility or render some patients entirely infertile, but fertility preservation (FP) services have historically had low rates of uptake. When a young person is diagnosed with…

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One Year Reflection: Behavioral Health Pavilion Adds to Industry-Leading Model of Care During Pandemic
One Year Reflection: Behavioral Health Pavilion Adds to Industry-Leading Model of Care During Pandemic 1024 538 Kaitlin Hall

The full impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health likely won’t be known for some time. But even before the pandemic, pediatric mental health was in a national crisis, with one in five children living with a mental illness, and suicide the second leading cause of death for children 10 and older. That means the…

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Lauren Bakaletz Named 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research
Lauren Bakaletz Named 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research 1024 575 Abbie Roth

Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was named the 2021 Allen Distinguished Scholar in Pediatric Research. The award is given in honor of former Nationwide Children’s CEO, Steve Allen, MD, and his role in growing the AWRI into a preeminent research institution.…

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What Kids and Kidneys Can Teach Pediatricians About Racism in America
What Kids and Kidneys Can Teach Pediatricians About Racism in America 1024 575 Ray Bignall

O.N. Ray Bignall II, MD, FAAP, director of Kidney Health Advocacy and Community Engagement, explores how “race modifiers,” structural racism and health disparities are perpetuated in kidney care for kids, highlighting important areas primed for change.

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The Role of Health Care Voice Assistants During a Pandemic and Beyond
The Role of Health Care Voice Assistants During a Pandemic and Beyond 1024 576 Mary Bates, PhD

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need for telehealth and other digital tools to deliver health care remotely. In a recent commentary published in NPJ Digital Medicine, researchers from Nationwide Children’s examined the state of voice assistants as an emerging tool for remote care delivery and discussed the readiness of health systems and technology providers to adopt these…

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Paying for Telehealth After COVID-19
Paying for Telehealth After COVID-19 1024 535 Jeb Phillips
Collage of health technology tools

Telehealth has become an essential part of health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, but its future depends on reimbursement and other financial questions. Just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, health care stakeholders across the country were talking about the expansion of telehealth as a silver lining, and how it seemed…

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Intractable Epilepsy Linked to Brain-Specific Genetic Mutation
Intractable Epilepsy Linked to Brain-Specific Genetic Mutation 1024 794 Lauren Dembeck

DNA replication errors during development are revealed by genomic study. As part of an ongoing, collaborative study between neurologists and genomics experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, researchers have identified somatic mosaicism in the resected brain tissues of a child with treatment-resistant, intractable epilepsy. One of the two genetically distinct cell populations identified carries a pathogenic…

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More to Telehealth Than Meets the Screen
More to Telehealth Than Meets the Screen 1024 535 Abbie Roth
Collage of health technology tools

Telehealth has become essential to American health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is it really the solution to our biggest access-to-care problems? When COVID-19 ignited stay-at-home orders, public and private insurers quickly relaxed the rules for covering telehealth visits. Health care systems responded in kind by rapidly expanding their telehealth capacity and training. Expanding…

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The New Emergency Department — for Behavioral Health
The New Emergency Department — for Behavioral Health 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

How pediatric hospitals are creatively tackling the unique care needs of a growing population of youths in crisis. From attention deficit disorder to anxiety or depression, mental health conditions affect about 1 in every 5 children. While some of these cases resolve, many children go on to adulthood with mental or behavioral health disorders, and…

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Obsessed with Zero: Reflections on the Career and Achievements of Richard J. Brili, MD
Obsessed with Zero: Reflections on the Career and Achievements of Richard J. Brili, MD 1024 575 John Barnard, MD
Richard J. Brilli, MD

In 2008, Richard “Rich” Brilli, MD, was recruited to Nationwide Children’s Hospital as its chief medical officer. Among other physician executive duties, he was charged with lowering the rate of preventable harm as leader of the hospital’s quality and safety programs. After a few months of learning about our organization’s culture and assessing our potential,…

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Advances in Neonatal GERD
Advances in Neonatal GERD 1024 683 Mary Bates, PhD
Dr. Jadcherla

New studies from the Jadcherla Lab provide insights into diagnosing, classifying and treating GERD in infants. Differentiating gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which is defined as the passage of gastric contents into the esophagus, from GER disease (GERD), when reflux is associated with troubling symptoms, remains a challenge in infants. Symptom-based diagnosis and treatment of GERD has…

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Pediatric Vital Signs: Measuring and Improving the Health of a Population
Pediatric Vital Signs: Measuring and Improving the Health of a Population 150 150 Jeb Phillips

Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its community partners have begun an “audacious” project to help every child in their region. Despite the best efforts of primary care providers and children’s hospitals, some children do not receive the care they need. Patients can only spend a limited amount of time in a medical office; some who would…

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A Collaborative Approach to Preventive Cardiology
A Collaborative Approach to Preventive Cardiology 1024 575 Andrew Tran, MD

Many of us have friends or family members who have had an early heart attack. The event is sudden, unexpected and sobering. Those who recover often make drastic changes to their diet and lifestyle, along with taking medications, and endeavor to delay and undo years of accumulated toll. However, these efforts can only go so…

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How Domestic Violence Affects Child Development
How Domestic Violence Affects Child Development 1024 575 Kristin Crichton, DO, MPH

Domestic violence in the home affects more than just the immediate victim. If children are present to see and/or hear it, it takes a toll on their healthy, natural development unless they receive support to help them cope and heal. Children exposed to violence may experience issues with attachment, school engagement, academic success, relationships and…

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Managing Lymphatic Flow Disorders: Expanding Care Through Collaboration
Managing Lymphatic Flow Disorders: Expanding Care Through Collaboration 1024 683 Abbie Roth

Alteration in the Lymphatic System Leading to Flow Disorders The lymphatic system plays a critical role in circulating a clear to yellow-colored fluid called lymph, which contains proteins, immune factors and cells throughout the body. It is also responsible for collecting fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the gastrointestinal tract in cloudy-appearing chylous fluid. This fluid…

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Racism Revisited
Racism Revisited 1024 683 Deena Chisolm, PhD

Deena Chisolm, PhD, shares why it is essential for the research community to take action against systemic racism. Five years after the publication of this post on racism, the topic is as relevant as ever. In the wake of racial disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing incidents of police brutality costing the lives of unarmed Black people,…

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From Expectant Parents to Advocates: One Family’s Journey With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
From Expectant Parents to Advocates: One Family’s Journey With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 1024 575 Abbie Roth

Mila’s parents wanted her to have the best chance at surviving her high-risk comprehensive stage 2 surgery – their journey led them to The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s. Mid-way into their pregnancy, Jacob and Kayla went in for their 20-week ultrasound. “We were very excited to get into things like paint colors for our…

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Improving the Care and Management of Urinary Tract Infections Through Collaboration
Improving the Care and Management of Urinary Tract Infections Through Collaboration 150 150 JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

The Urinary Tract Infection Global Alliance (UTIGA) is a new professional society that is dedicated to combatting the many challenges in UTI management and care through collaboration. With nearly 150 million people affected by urinary tract infections (UTIs) annually across the globe, UTIs are a major health problem. Both the term ‘UTI’ and the infection’s…

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Distal Radius Physeal Bar and Ulnar Overgrowth: Indications for Treatment
Distal Radius Physeal Bar and Ulnar Overgrowth: Indications for Treatment 1024 575 Julie Samora

Distal radius fractures are among the most common fractures in pediatrics. Although most heal without complication, some result in partial or complete physeal arrest. Risk factors for distal radius growth arrest include physeal fractures, ischemia, infection, radiation, tumor, blood dyscrasias, burns, frostbite and repetitive stress.  The distal radius physis is responsible for 75% of the…

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Comparing Treatments for Intractable Functional Constipation
Comparing Treatments for Intractable Functional Constipation 1024 680 Mary Bates, PhD
Close up color photo of little boy holding hands on his belly

Two procedures are both successful but have different effects on specific symptoms. Constipation is a common problem in children. While a majority of kids respond to traditional treatments, including behavioral interventions and laxatives, a sizable number continue to have problems with intractable constipation that can lead to fecal incontinence. For these children, treatment options include…

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Clinical Trials for Blood Cancers: Advancing Options for Children and Young Adults
Clinical Trials for Blood Cancers: Advancing Options for Children and Young Adults 1024 683 Abbie Roth

Most cancer treatments are first discovered, developed and approved for adult patients. But translating those therapies to pediatric and young adult patients with cancers can be more of a winding path than a superhighway. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant is dedicated to participating in and supporting clinical…

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Hemophilia Gene Therapy Trials Aim to Reduce Patient Burden
Hemophilia Gene Therapy Trials Aim to Reduce Patient Burden 1024 495 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES
blood cells

Clinical trials using gene therapy to boost the body’s production of clotting factor aim to remove the need for regular infusions — ideally giving patients years or even decades free from daily worry about their condition. Unlike most pediatric treatment centers, Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of only a few dozen sites worldwide selected to…

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Taking Research to the Public Library: Learning From One Initiative to Increase Health Literacy
Taking Research to the Public Library: Learning From One Initiative to Increase Health Literacy 1024 683 Adrianna Matos-Nieves

Researchers from the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, visited the Columbus Metropolitan Library with the goal to improve health literacy in the Parsons community. During the summer of 2019, when outings and gathering were still allowed, I received an outreach request from the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML). It turns out the library…

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Missing Connections: A Reflection on Residency During a Global Pandemic
Missing Connections: A Reflection on Residency During a Global Pandemic 150 150 Nimisha Bajaj, MD

I am a first-year pediatrics resident at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and SARS-CoV-2 has turned my world upside down. I support social distancing measures, at least until broader public health interventions have been universally implemented. But as a physician in training, the pandemic has affected many aspects of my life, including patient care, residency training and…

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How Practical COVID-19 Education for Community Providers Sprang From a Pediatric Behavioral Health Project ECHO
How Practical COVID-19 Education for Community Providers Sprang From a Pediatric Behavioral Health Project ECHO 1024 575 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

When Partners For Kids® (PFK) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital launched Project ECHO in 2018, they did it to help community providers cope with common behavioral health conditions in their patient populations. Unexpectedly, it became a tool to supply Ohio physicians with some of the most proactive education in the nation about adapting their business practices to accommodate COVID-19-related…

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Fighting Back Against COVID-19 Misinformation on the Web
Fighting Back Against COVID-19 Misinformation on the Web 1024 683 David Stukus, MD

Misinformation on the internet is nothing new, but in the age of COVID-19, it is more important than ever for health care experts to speak up for evidence-based care. Misinformation on the internet has been rampant for years. From antivaxxers and naturopaths to flat earthers and others, misinformation has always infiltrated online searches and only…

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Preventing and Addressing Child Abuse During COVID-19
Preventing and Addressing Child Abuse During COVID-19 1024 575 Kristin Crichton, DO, MPH

With schools and daycares closed, stay-at-home orders in effect, and most non-emergency health care visits being conducted via telehealth, reporting and addressing child abuse is more difficult. Dr. Crichton from The Center for Family Safety and Healing shares advice for providers to identify child abuse during telehealth visits. As concerns about the coronavirus pandemic swept…

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THRIVING After Severe Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia
THRIVING After Severe Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia 1024 731 Abbie Roth

Meet Willow. She was born via emergency C-section at just 22 weeks. Doctors at the delivering hospital told Willow’s mom Cortney that her baby’s chances of survival were low. But after a long journey through the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Willow is a vivacious 4-year-old looking forward to starting kindergarten…

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Transforming Medical Science Through Research Affinity Groups
Transforming Medical Science Through Research Affinity Groups 150 150 Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Purposeful synergy drives the most meaningful medical science. Nephrology physician-scientists require tissue samples, urologists desire tests to know which patients truly require surgery, and basic scientists must find ways to meaningfully assess new animal models to yield clinically valuable data. If each of these professionals had a defined network of colleagues from the other disciplines…

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Epigenetics, Chromatin Architecture and a Judo Mechanism to Attack Cancer
Epigenetics, Chromatin Architecture and a Judo Mechanism to Attack Cancer 1024 575 Abbie Roth

Researchers broaden the understanding chromatin architecture in human disease. Epigenetics is the study of how genetic information is context-dependent: it is organized so it can be repressed, but also read, repaired and replicated. For example, transcription factors can “communicate” with each other through the chromatin-DNA interface, and work in combinations to regulate which genes are…

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Accountable Care and Quality Improvement: How an ACO Helps Community Practices Provide the “Right Care” Through QI
Accountable Care and Quality Improvement: How an ACO Helps Community Practices Provide the “Right Care” Through QI 1024 575 Jeb Phillips

An accountable care organization (ACO) should deliver “the right care at the right time,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Early, high-quality primary care helps people stay well, while coordinated specialty care can help people with chronic or complex conditions spend less time in a hospital. ACOs are usually considered the province…

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Uncovering Why Synthetic Tracheal Replacements Fail, and Hints for Success
Uncovering Why Synthetic Tracheal Replacements Fail, and Hints for Success 1024 575 Kevin Mayhood

“There is no ideal replacement for the trachea,” says Tendy Chiang, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist and a principal investigator in the Center for Regenerative Medicine in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute (AWRI) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “There are many surgical techniques that can manage tracheal defects and disorders, however, for longer-segment defects, they oftentimes require replacement tissue that…

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Beyond A Bigger Workforce: Addressing the Shortage of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Beyond A Bigger Workforce: Addressing the Shortage of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists 1024 575 David Axelson, MD

How can the psychiatrists we have make the greatest impact for the most children? The United States does not have enough child and adolescent psychiatrists. Nearly anyone who works in the field knows about the months-long wait times for new appointments that families can face, or the great distances that some must travel for those…

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The Path to a Long Career in Medicine
The Path to a Long Career in Medicine 150 150 William Long, MD

I want to be a pediatrician forever. But the laws of nature won’t let me. In addition, many of us of all ages, are feeling increased pressure and demands that come with our profession.  From insurance issues, and just about everything with the EMR, to the rise in patient behavioral health complaints — it is…

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From Lab Work to “Home Work:” Tips on the Transition to Work From Home
From Lab Work to “Home Work:” Tips on the Transition to Work From Home 1024 683 Adrianna Matos-Nieves

PhD candidate Adrianna Matos-Nieves shares tips for research employees who are suddenly finding themselves transitioning from the wet lab to their home office. PhD students have a significant advantage when enduring coronavirus-imposed social distancing. We decided to do it voluntarily many years prior. But in all seriousness, the transition to working from home can be…

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What Could COVID-19 Mean for Pediatrics?
What Could COVID-19 Mean for Pediatrics? 1024 683 Abbie Roth

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, experts are digging into the data and establishing protocols to better understand the illness in the context of pediatrics. As COVID-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus, has reached pandemic status, life has changed dramatically. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the halls are uncharacteristically quiet as a “stay at…

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A Decade of Healthy Homes
A Decade of Healthy Homes 1024 683 Kelly Kelleher, MD, MPH

Dr. Kelleher and Rev. John Edgar, executive director and pastor emeritus, Church and Community for All People, discuss the first decade of a collaboration aimed to take on housing issues in the South Side of Columbus as a way to improve health outcomes and answer the question: What’s on the horizon? The last decade has…

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How Does a Children’s Hospital Excel in the Discovery and Development of New Therapies?
How Does a Children’s Hospital Excel in the Discovery and Development of New Therapies? 1024 575 Abbie Roth
conceptual art of DNA

A conversation with Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE chief scientific officer, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Nationwide Children’s has become an epicenter for gene therapy discovery and development. The discovery in 2009 that adeno-associated virus (AAV) could cross the blood-brain barrier was a milestone in the development of dozens of gene therapy products for neuromuscular…

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Oral Food Challenges: The Most Important Test in Diagnosing Food Allergy
Oral Food Challenges: The Most Important Test in Diagnosing Food Allergy 1024 683 David Stukus, MD

I routinely hear the same question from pediatricians, parents, friends, and acquaintances: Why are we seeing so many more kids develop food allergies now compared with 10 or 20 years ago? Unfortunately, there is no single answer as to why the prevalence of food allergies has doubled among children over the past two decades. Food…

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From Natural Killer Cells to Virus-Specific T Cells: What’s Next in Cellular Therapy
From Natural Killer Cells to Virus-Specific T Cells: What’s Next in Cellular Therapy 969 533 Abbie Roth
Illustration of NK Cells, T Cells, other immune cells floating across white background

Harnessing the power of the immune system to overcome cancer, improve outcomes of bone marrow transplants and fight viral infections in immunocompromised pediatric patients is at the heart of cell therapy research.   Natural Killers in Action Natural killer (NK) cells are a component of the innate immune system that mediates the death of cancer…

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Answers to Burning Questions About Pediatric Urinary Tract Infections
Answers to Burning Questions About Pediatric Urinary Tract Infections 1024 683 Abbie Roth

Nationwide Children’s urologists and nephrologists recently co-hosted a Twitter chat for primary care providers, answering common questions about pediatric urinary tract infections (UTIs). Below is a summary of the questions and answers, adapted for brevity and clarity. Q: What causes UTIs in children? A: UTIs are typically caused by uropathogenic E. coli bacteria that invade the urinary…

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Using an Evidence-Based Parenting Program to Engage a Community
Using an Evidence-Based Parenting Program to Engage a Community 1024 575 Abbie Roth

Given the similar size and distribution of Asian and Hispanic populations in central Ohio, Michael Flores, PhD, clinical team coordinator in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, was puzzled about why significantly fewer Asian families were seeking mental and behavioral health services at Nationwide Children’s. Roughly 4.9% of the Columbus population…

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