Stories about: Research and Innovation

How mitochondrial transplantation saved Avery’s life

Avery Gagnon looks into the camera. She received mitochondrial transplantation to help her heart regain its energy.Today, 2 1/2 year-old Avery Gagnon looks perfectly healthy and happy.

But Avery is only alive today because of a revolutionary therapy called mitochondrial transplantation that used her own mitochondria — small structures in our cells that act as the “batteries” powering our organs — to boost her heart’s energy.

Mitochondrial transplantation comes to the rescue of hearts suffering from ischemia, a condition of reduced blood flow that damages mitochondria. As a result of its energy-sapping effects, ischemia is especially dangerous for the frailest cardiac patients: infants with congenital heart disease like Avery.

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Sports specialization and injury risk for young athletes

Kocher sports specialization Thriving blog

In recent years, sports specialization has become a hot topic amongst both parents of young athletes and medical professionals. There are a lot of questions swirling around early specialization: When should my child begin to focus on just one sport year-round? Are there injury risks associated with specialization? Does specializing in one sport provide a significant benefit for their skill development?

While answers to these questions aren’t always straightforward, in a recent study Dr. Mininder Kocher, an orthopedic surgeon and associate director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine Division, found some compelling evidence of the risks of early sports specialization.

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Study: Children with upper limb differences have better emotional health

Upper limb differences ans psychosocial health

Children born with upper limb differences face unique challenges in life. Conditions can range from failure of fingers to separate to complete or partial absence of a limb, which may make it difficult to perform certain tasks as easily as their peers. Often, parents of children with limb differences worry about how these physical challenges will affect the emotional development of their child. However, recent research from Boston Children’s Hospital has found that children with congenital hand differences have excellent emotional health.

A recent study led by Dr. Donald S. Bae, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, found that while children with upper limb differences exhibit decreased upper limb function, some form better peer relationships and have more positive emotional states compared to population norms.

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How to prevent ACL injuries in female athletes

ACL injury prevention female athletes

An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear is a devastating injury that can end an athlete’s season and sometimes take up to a year to fully recover. Along with the pain and long rehab process, it also carries the consequences of a high rate of re-tear and increased risk for osteoarthritis. But what if you could decrease your risk of getting this injury, just by doing certain exercises for 20 minutes two times per week?

Dr. Dai Sugimoto, director of clinical research at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital, has focused his research on training regimens that help prevent ACL injuries. Through extensive study, Sugimoto has found specific exercises that have been shown to decrease the rate of ACL injuries for female athletes.

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