Stories about: Ask the Expert

Surgery for cerebral palsy

Drs. Shore and Stone discuss cerebral palsy surgery
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: FAWN GRACEY/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

When it comes to cerebral palsy (CP) — injury to the developing brain that can affect muscle control, coordination, tone, reflex, posture and balance — parents have a lot of questions about surgical approaches. In fact, selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a hot topic among physicians and parents alike. This minimally invasive spinal operation can permanently reduce leg spasticity and encourage independent walking in properly selected children with CP. It may be a complementary option along with other therapies, such as physical therapy, systemic medications, Botox injections and orthopedic procedures.

Read Full Story

Ask the Mediatrician: Should my eighth grader see ‘Eighth Grade’?

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about the new movie, “Eighth Grade” and my daughter, who is an eighth grader this school year, has been asking to see it. I’d like to take her, but am worried and a bit confused by the movie’s R-rating. Is it OK for her to see it?

~ Middle School Muddled, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Read Full Story

Concussions: Prevention and recovery for soccer players

Dr. O'Brien concussions in soccer players thriving lead image
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

As kids and teens get ready for the start of a new school year, many will be lacing up their cleats in anticipation of the coming soccer season. Playing soccer brings together all the benefits of rigorous exercise, fun with friends and an unlimited abundance of orange slices. However, participation also comes with the risk of injury.

Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, are all too common in the soccer world. It’s clear that the protection mouth guards provide is far from sufficient for protecting your child from a concussion. So, if soccer’s protective equipment can’t keep players safe, what can?

Dr. Michael O’Brien, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, helps athletes who have sustained concussions get back in the game and works with athletes to prevent sports injuries, including concussions. His advice to players, parents and coaches on what athletes can do to reduce the risks of concussions revolves around effective and clear communication.

Read Full Story

What parents should know about hypospadias

cartoon birds talking about hypospadias
ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

It’s one of the most common birth defects, affecting an estimated 1 out of 200 boys. But most parents aren’t aware of hypospadias until their child is diagnosed with it. In this condition, the opening of a boy’s urethra (through which both urine and semen pass) is located on the underside of his penis rather than at the tip of it. In about 80 percent of boys with hypospadias, this opening is found near the end of the penis. Fifteen percent of those boys also have a condition called chordee, in which the penis curves downward to varying degrees. Hypospadias is usually diagnosed at birth, but severe cases are increasingly being diagnosed in utero with ultrasonography.

Read Full Story