It was an extremely busy week in the OHSU press office last week…but not for the right reasons.
We didn’t announce a big science breakthrough or escort press to one of our big holiday celebrations for pediatric patients. Press both called and came to OHSU Hospital as we were the medical center that treated the teenage injured in last week tragic shooting at Clackamas Town Center. Then, just three days later, the phones started ringing endlessly once more as reporters called to search for answers following the tragic events in Connecticut.
Many parents struggle with a big decision in the wake of such incidents: What do we tell our kids and how much info do we share?
Thankfully, several OHSU experts helped us answer this tough question last week. Here were a few tips shared by Doernbecher child psychiatrist Dr. Ajit Jetmalani:
Parents should be aware of their own reactions to these tragedies and attempt to refrain from alarming their children through verbal or non-verbal cues. Children often become concerned about their own safety or the safety of their families upon hearing of tragedies like the ones that occurred this week.
Children often take their parents lead as to how to react. Every child’s reaction is unique to his or her personality, developmental stage and experiences. Create a sense of openness to discussion but avoid pressuring children to talk.
It is important to make sure children understand the events that took place are rare occurrences and that children remain quite safe and secure.
Parents should monitor their children’s time watching TV and make sure they are not overly exposed to tragedies such as these. News reports are too fast for kids to absorb. In addition, children process this type of information much differently than adults and think of the personal impacts more often than adults do.
The Portland Tribune’s story provides more guidance to parents who could use it.
There’s a new landmark on the OHSU campus…one that recognizes an outstanding group of people.
This week, OHSU installed a new memorial to recognize those who donated their remains to OHSU’s body donation.
This incredible generosity helps train Oregon’s future physicians and it also aids health research.
The monument was installed just prior to an annual memorial service for those who donated, both students and families attend.
Here’s what is inscribed on the granite marker :
It’s a pretty remarkable event.
Here are a few more photos of the monument below:
OHSU Body Donation Program
At this current point in our history, we can’t prevent or cure Alzheimer’s…but can we predict it?
Thanks to some high-tech gadgets, some dedicated OHSU researchers and several volunteer research subjects, it just might be possible.
In yesterday’s Oregonian, we read about these ongoing efforts:
Research at the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology, or ORCATECH, a program at OHSU, indicates sensors, smartphones, computer links and other technology hold great promise for maintaining older adults’ quality of life. Technology can monitor health, track changes, remind elders to take medication, encourage social interaction, enable video-link doctor appointments and allow concerned family members to check on their parents.
The full article can be found here.
OHSU’s researchers hope these efforts might allow physicians to respond quickly after decline is detected in its early stages.
It’s a pretty fascinating line of study. For those who want to learn more, a few resources:
OHSU’s The C. Rex and Ruth H. Layton Aging & Alzheimer’s Disease Center
CBS NEWS – Slowed walking speed may be early predictor of Alzheimer’s decline
CNN New research offers tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers
There was an interesting story in the news last week about a recommendation to provide AIDS testing to most Americans between the ages of 15 and 64.
More info from USA Today:
The draft recommendation, issued Monday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is far broader than its last recommendation in 2005, which called for screening only those at high risk.
“We really need to find the people who are infected and get them on therapy,” says John Bartlett, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore who wasn’t involved in the new guidelines. “It will make their lives better. And once they’re on treatment, they’re no longer spreading the virus.”
OHSU’s Dr. Roger Chou led the review team that made the recommendation. Today he appeared on the OPB show Think Out Loud to talk about the recommendation. You can listen to the segment here.
Oregonians will hear about an inspiring story from Astoria in both print and TV news reports this week.
The story involves high school student Jennifer Mandujano. Today Jennifer, her friends and family delivered two carloads for toys for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital patients. The delivery followed a toy drive that involved her entire community.
Jennifer, who has witnessed serious disease first hand, wanted to do something special for kids who will spend the holiday season in the hospital.
Below are a few photos from today’s moving event.
On behalf of all of us at OHSU and Doernbecher, thank you Jennifer and thank you Astoria.
This year marks OHSU’s 125th year of existence.
While OHSU is mainly known for its missions of healing, teaching, discovery and outreach, there are some other fascinating stories up here on Marquam Hill.
For instance, how did we end up here?
Portland Monthly magazine recently produced a video that explains how we got here in the first place…and what happened in the 12 plus decades since it all began.
Watch it if you have the time. I think it’s well worth it.
Here’s a story that’s getting a lot of press as of late:
Researchers report that they found a wide range of disease-causing bacteria, fungus and mold on pacifiers that young children had been using.
They added that pacifiers can often grow a slimy coating of bacteria — called a biofilm — that actually alters the normal bacteria in a baby or toddler’s mouth. That biofilm can spur inflammation and potentially increase the risk of developing gastrointestinal problems such as colic or even ear infections.
While this article may be a bit alarming – especially for all of you new parents out there – OHSU safety expert Dr. Ben Hoffman, who was also interviewed, puts the information into perspective:
“The majority of things you’re going to find on a pacifier are things we’ll find on our clothes, normal human flora,” said Hoffman. “It’s not a reason to demonize pacifiers if people find them useful.”
Dr. Hoffman directs the safety center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. It’s a great resource for parents old and new. The center offers car seat safety tips, information on household safety and much more.
Go ahead and pay their Web site a visit.
OHSU is proud to host a remarkable speaker this week.
TED speaker and biotech expert Juan Enriquez will be in Portland this Wednesday to discuss his vision of the future.
More details here
If you haven’t heard of Juan Enriquez, I urge you to watch this:
Hope to see you Wednesday.
OHSU was excited to take part in a big announcement today.
The organizers of the nationally-known Hood to Coast relay race are kicking off a new run. It’s a half-marathon that will begin and end at OHSU. The name: The Better Half Marathon.
The name hints at the race’s support for womens’ wellness.
More details about the race can be found at the race website which launched earlier today.
OHSU's Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov
Today, OHSU is announcing a major step in making gene therapy a reality for families facing gene-linked diseases passed from mother to child via cell mitochondria.
The research is summarized in this press release:
The procedure was specifically developed to prevent diseases related to gene defects in the cell mitochondria. Mitalipov’s previous work was published in the August 2009 edition of Nature. In the current study, Mitalipov, in collaboration with Paula Amato, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU Center for Women’s Health, demonstrated efficacy of this therapy in human gametes and embryos.
“Cell mitochondria contain genetic material just like the cell nucleus and these genes are passed from mother to infant,” explained Mitalipov. “When certain mutations in mitochondrial DNA are present, a child can be born with severe conditions, including diabetes, deafness, eye disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, dementia and several other neurological diseases. Because mitochondrial-based genetic diseases are passed from one generation to the next, the risk of disease is often quite clear. The goal of this research is to develop a therapy to prevent transmission of these disease-causing gene mutations.”
Dr. Mitalipov explains the work further in this interview:
Here are a few of the initial news stories on the breakthrough
THE INDEPENDENT (UK) – Breakthrough: Scientists produce early-stage embryos by transferring genes between unfertilised human eggs, in bid to eliminate inherited mitochondrial diseases
ASSOCIATED PRESS – Oregon scientists make embryos with 2 women, 1 man
NBC – New technique replaces diseased DNA, but would give kids two mothers
WALL STREET JOURNAL – DNA Technique Shows Promise Against Mitochondrial Disease
THE TELEGRAPH (UK) – ‘Three parent embryos’ created from human eggs
YAHOO NEWS – IN LAB, PROGRESS IN FIXING A SOURCE OF GENETIC DISEASE