Stories about: Martha Murray

Health headlines: Focusing on hospital safety, using zebrafish to understand cancer and fixing ACL tears with a sponge

Cleaning

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.

How hospitals are changing to become safer

The New York Times “Opinionator” blog reports patient safety experts say that medical errors are more a function of faulty systems than faulty people. In recent years, with leadership from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, federal programs like the Partnership for Patients and numerous hospitals have made focused efforts to reduce harm.

Scientists watch as healthy cells turn into melanoma

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.

Can a sponge fix athletes’ knees?

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.

Learn more about Boston Children’s ACL Program.

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After season-ending ACL injury, Boston skier is Olympics-bound


ACL tear

What happens when an adrenaline-addicted athlete slows down?

Julia Marino thrives at high speed and from great heights. In 2009, 17-year-old Julia was at the top of her game. Coaches and fellow slopestyle skiers had pegged her as a rising star on the World Cup circuit. Salomon, a top winter sports gear manufacturer, had signed on as her sponsor. Then, during the first event of the season, she crashed.

Crashes are common in slopestyle. Skiers hit jumps at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, flying up to 50 feet in the air to perform aerial tricks.

Julia landed awkwardly on one ski, heard a resounding pop in her left knee and felt the “most intense pain” of her life. She braced herself and skied to the medical tent.

The on-mountain medical crew insisted she wasn’t injured. But Julia and her mother doubted the diagnosis.

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Beating the odds: After three knee injuries, a female athlete triumphs

Krista

There is a special kind of female athlete who is so dedicated that her sport becomes her life. Because research shows that girls and women are prone to higher rates of injuries and other health complications, these female athletes require a level of dedication not only to their sports, but also to their long-term health. And by pairing the two, they prevail.

For Krista Pinciaro, soccer player at Medfield High School, dedication to the sport came naturally. But when she tore her medial meniscus and re-tore her lateral meniscus (after tearing both her meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) years before), she knew her senior-year soccer season was at stake.

“It was one of the worst days of my life,” says Krista. “Soccer isn’t just a sport to me, it’s my everything. It made me feel like I belonged to something, and it made me succeed academically because I knew I had to in order to keep playing. My teammates and my coaches were all like members of my family. Not playing was devastating for me.”

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