My husband Mike and I will never forget the feeling of excitement we had the morning we were finding out if we were having a boy or a girl. It seemed like we had to wait an eternity, wondering whether we’d hear the words “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl.”
Finally, the time came — and our nurse let us know we were expecting a BOY! After screeching from excitement and smiling from ear to ear, we quickly realized something was wrong.
Our doctor had doctor noticed the left side of our son’s heart was noticeably smaller than the right, a sign that he had a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS. With HLHS, the left side of the heart is underdeveloped and unable to properly pump blood.
That day, our world immediately changed. Our minds were racing in every direction, and it seemed like we were literally living in a nightmare. We had plans of shopping for baby clothes and celebrating over a nice lunch, and instead we were meeting with doctors all afternoon and uncontrollably crying. It was this night we named our son “Vincent” (Vinny for short), which means “to conquer.” We needed a strong name for a boy who needed to overcome so much.
When Poppy Biagini was just four months old, her family got news no parent wants to hear — that she had a rare, rapidly growing tumor in her right eye called a retinoblastoma.
That was almost three years ago. But if you looked at Poppy today, you’d be hard pressed to tell that she’s anything other than your average 3-year-old who loves Curious George, swim class and playing dress-up.
“She knows that there’s something a little different with her eye than everyone else’s,” her father Dana says. “But she’s handling it well.” …
As parents, we want our kids to stay healthy throughout their lives. The teen years are an important time to build healthy cardiovascular habits.
In 2010, the American Heart Association set the bold goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent. In setting this goal, they created a paradigm shift from the treatment of cardiovasculardisease to the promotion of cardiovascularhealth. Their recommendation was based on more than a decade of data showing adults who reach middle age without any major cardiovascular disease risk factors have a high chance of staying healthy well into old age. They don’t just have lower rates of heart disease and stroke; they also have lower rates of cancer, memory loss and kidney disease.
What is cardiovascular health? The American Heart Association defines cardiovascular health as having optimal blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood glucose while also maintaining a normal weight, not smoking, being physically active and eating well.
Unfortunately, essentially zero Americans have all seven of these cardiovascular health factors — mostly due to the unhealthy American diet. Only 19 percent of teens and 8 percent of young adults have six of the seven.
As an adolescent medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, my research focuses on how we can keep teens heart healthy as they transition to adulthood.
My patients and their parents often ask about cardiovascular health. Here’s how I answer some of the most common questions. …
Boston Children’s Hospital’s doctors and researchers are constantly working to uncover and understand health and medical questions. Health Headlines is a twice-monthly summary of some of the most important research findings and news.
Top news this week includes how hospitals are changing to become safer, how zebrafish are helping cancer researchers make strides and how sponges are being used to repair torn ACLs.
Medscape reports on new research from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Leonard Zon, that finds zebrafish can be used to visually track melanoma as it begins. Researchers believe this work could have significant implications for cancer therapeutics, in that it provides clues for stopping cancer before it even begins.
The Wall Street Journal features research from Boston Children’s Dr. Martha Murray, that is currently in the first safety trials in humans. Dr. Murray and Boston Children’s Dr. Lyle Micheli are inserting a sponge roughly the size of a thumb to serve as a bridge between the torn strands of the ACL and flushing it with the patient’s blood. That serves as a stimulus to make a bridge grow essentially encouraging the ACL to repair itself.