Author: Ellen Greenlaw

Is your teen depressed? Seven tips for parents

Your daughter comes home from school, slams down her books and retreats to her room with a scowl. Since starting high school, you’ve noticed she’s been moody and irritable and her grades are starting to suffer. Should you be worried about depression?

“Almost everyone goes through periods of feeling sad or irritable for usually brief periods of time,” says Dr. Oscar Bukstein, associate psychiatrist-in-chief and vice chairman of psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. “What sets depression apart is the presence of distress or impairment that interferes with daily life.”

Bukstein says he’s seen a steady rise in depression in young people over the past 25 years, as the stress of daily life increases. “The good news is that treatment generally works and more kids are seeking treatment.”

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Keeping up with Amanda: Life after brain surgery

Amanda LePage is now a happy 9-year-old.In most ways, Amanda LePage is just like any other rambunctious fourth grader. She loves school, dance class, playing basketball and keeping up with her twin sister Macy and older brother Nathan. Sometimes it just takes her a little longer to do these everyday things. That’s because Amanda has been through a lot in her short nine years.

Amanda was just 5 months old when she was brought by helicopter to Boston Children’s Hospital for a hemorrhage in her brain from an intracranial aneurysm, a type of vascular malformation. Despite long odds, Amanda survived two life-saving brain surgeries and a massive stroke that left her with cognitive delays, no use of her left arm or hand, and weakness in her left leg.

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Sleepy teen finds relief in narcolepsy diagnosis

For as long as Maeve Sheehy can remember, she’s had short spells of feeling like she was about to fall over.

“It wasn’t like feeling faint, it was more like my knees would buckle underneath me,” says Maeve, now 16. “I would instinctually try to keep from falling by bracing myself.”

Sometimes the bracing didn’t work and Maeve would topple over. If she was with friends, she’d pretend she had tripped, to cover it up. But she secretly worried something was wrong with her. When she tried to explain the falling feeling to her parents and doctors, she was told she was probably dehydrated.

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A new life for Lynkin after encephalocele surgery

Toddler with big personality is thriving after encephalocele surgery.When you meet Lynkin Bell, the first things you notice are her big personality and chubby cheeks. You might also see how she adores her brother Lukis and hamming it up for the camera. But you’d never guess that this playful 14-month-old from Texas wasn’t expected to survive, never mind talk, stand or play peekaboo like a pro.

And yet, thanks to her parents’ faith and persistence — and surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital — Lynkin can do all those things, and lots more, with the gusto befitting any toddler her age.

“It’s a miracle,” says Kaylen Gaston, Lynkin’s mom. “We were told so many times she wouldn’t make it, and here she is defying all odds.”

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