All Poppy Biagini’s family knew was that something was off about her right eye. Liam Klagges’ family’s first sign that something was wrong was that his eyes didn’t always track properly, and that his left eyelid hung a little lower than his right.
Both children, it turns out, had a tumor called a retinoblastoma. Usually diagnosed in children younger than 5, it’s rare—only about 300 children in the United States are diagnosed with it every year—but grows rapidly from the back of the eye. For that reason, doctors have to start treating it as soon as it’s diagnosed, lest it fill the eye or start invading surrounding tissues.
There are a few different ways of treating retinoblastoma, such as chemotherapy, radiation or enucleation (surgical removal of the eye). But both Poppy and Liam’s families elected to try something different—a procedure called intra-arterial (IA) chemotherapy that delivers treatment right to the tumor. Today, both children still have both eyes because of it. …
In the fall of last year, a young woman named Gerdline walked into Hospital Saint-Nicholas in Saint-Marc, Haiti, carrying her baby son Rolensky. Only four months old, the boy was in a bad way: thin, breathing rapidly and lethargic, with a bluish tinge to his skin.
Little did Gerdline know as she crossed the hospital threshold that Rolensky’s heart was failing—because of a one-in-a-million blood vessel malformation in his brain. Nor did she know that the two of them would soon be on a plane to Boston, where doctors from across Boston Children’s Hospital would come together around her boy to save his heart by fixing his brain. …
Children’s Hospital Boston, in association with Harvard Medical School, just launched an updated version of HealthMap, a web-based global surveillance tool used to monitor infectious diseases and their effect on the populations where outbreaks occur. Co-created by John Brownstein, PhD of Children’s Informatics Program, the webpage is an easy to read site that operates in real time and lets users track current disease outbreaks by pulling data and news stories from over 20,000 sources.
With as many as 150,000 visitors a day, HealthMap has users from all reaches of the medical community. From concerned moms keeping an eye on a rash of new chicken pox cases in their hometown to members of the World Health Organization collecting aggregated data on the pattern of H1N1 outbreaks in rural China, HealthMap is a user-friendly way for people of all backgrounds to quickly assess data and news stories on infectious disease, from anywhere in the world as they are occurring.
PBS’s show, Religion & Ethics, will be airing an episode beginning Friday, April 2, that focuses on how stem cells fit into religion. The episode features Children’s stem cell researcher George Daley, MD, PhD, and Andres Trevino – who recently shared with Thrive his personal story of how stem cells saved his son’s life.