CHOC Research Institute Makes a Mark


CHOC Research Institute Associate Ryan Roberts is working with a team of scientists to identify specific genetic markers for Sickle Cell Disease  and Thalassemia .

By carefully studying the genetic origins of pediatric disease, he is helping to pioneer new screenings and treatments for red cell abnormalities.

To learn more about The CHOC Research Institute, click here.

Our Research Institute is REALLY Cool

Watch as the Director of CHOC Research Institute Brent Dethlefs shows off some of the “cool” equipment we’ve got in our state-of-the-art research labs here at the hospital.

Scientists at the CHOC Research Institute use cryogenic freezers to store donated cord blood and bone marrow to be used for transplants in patients with oncology or hematology-related disease.

Want to know something else that’s pretty cool? Our seven cryogenic freezers are named after the seven dwarfs. That’s right—we rely on Sleepy, Happy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Sneezy and Grumpy to support these life-saving treatment options.

Watch the video and meet “Bashful.”

National Children’s Study Underway in Orange County

University of California, Irvine, in partnership with CHOC Children’s, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County and the Orange County Health Care Agency, was selected to conduct the National Children’s Study – the largest and most comprehensive long-term study of environmental effects on child development and health.

Since last October, more than 20 babies have been born into Orange County families recruited to participate in the National Children’s Study, which will follow more than 100,000 U.S. children from birth to age 21.

CHOC researchers expect to attend 250 births a year for the next five years, said Brent Dethlefs, director of the CHOC Research Institute. Biological samples will be collected for the duration of the study.

Researchers will also assess environmental factors to examine the effect on birth defects and pregnancy-related problems; behavior, learning and mental health disorders; asthma, obesity, among others. The study is expected to help form the basis of child health guidance, interventions and policy for generations to come.

To learn more about this exciting study, please click here:

Bailey is our champion, that’s for sure.

Bailey Spoonhower, 9, was treated at CHOC for, and beat, a rare type of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. He had some advice for kids that feel nervous about coming to the hospital.

Children’s Miracle Network and Walmart have named Bailey the Champion for California. To read more about our efforts with Children’s Miracle Network, click here.

Pertussis: What Parents Should Know


Pertussis has certainly been getting a lot of press lately, but what exactly is it? Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, and young infants are particularly vulnerable. It’s transmitted through close respiratory contact with someone who is infected.

Some of the first symptoms in adults and children include, a runny nose, sneezing, a mild, dry cough, and slight fever.

As of June 30th, in California there have been 1,337 cases of pertussis reported in 2010, including five infant deaths – in what seems to be the worst year of pertussis that our state has seen in more than 50 years.

To protect our community against the current epidemic levels of whooping cough, experts at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated.

In addition to the typical series of childhood pertussis immunizations, CDPH now recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (T-dap). Adults who have contact with children under the age of 12 months, particularly new moms, are among those recommended to get the T-dap.

Please visit the Orange County Health Care Agency website for the most up-to-date recommendations and vaccine availability for you and your family.

Get Serious About Playtime

For kids, free time used to mean playtime. They’d come home from school, grab a snack and bolt out the door to run around with friends. In the summer, they’d play all day.

But now, a lot of kids stay home and watch TV, play video games, go online, or talk on cell phones. All the while, they stuff themselves with goodies they don’t burn off in “free play.”

Since the late 1970s, children’s playtime has fallen 25 percent and their outdoor activities have dropped 50 percent, says the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Children watch an average of three hours of television a day, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Add time spent on TV with time on the computer and with video games, the average time each day that children are sedentary rises to 5-1/2 hours, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A serious problem
Pediatricians say less free play and less physical education in school fuel childhood obesity. The percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled in 30 years.

It may seem frivolous, but playing “is an essential activity for a kid to grow up,” says Gil Fuld, M.D., an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesman.

Benefits of exercise
In addition to helping keep weight under control, exercise helps young bodies become stronger. It also lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes, and may keep blood pressure and cholesterol at a normal level. Children who get daily exercise sleep better and are less likely to let daily stresses affect them.

Children should participate in physical activities that build endurance, strength and flexibility. How much exercise is enough? Children 2 and older should get an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day, according to 2005 guidelines on diet and exercise from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One of the best ways to encourage your kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time they watch TV, use the computer or play video games. The AAP recommends no more than one to two hours of media time a day for children 2 years and older.

Share what you and your family are doing to encourage playtime or exercise. Post your comments below!

CHOC Children’s Celebrates Starlight Fun Center Donation

On July 10, CHOC Children’s had the privilege of hosting approximately 50 members of the Major League Baseball (MLB) organization, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Angels baseball for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of a “Starlight Fun Center” donation to CHOC.  The event was held during the exciting 2010 All-Star Game week. The big game, of course, was held at nearby Angels Stadium of Anaheim.

Patients mingled with future MLB players including Mike Trout, Luis Jimenez and Zack Britton, made crafts and played with the Starlight Fun Center. The Angels Strike Force girls and various team mascots joined in on the fun. CHOC is incredibly grateful for the mobile entertainment unit containing a gaming system, DVD player and flat screen that will provide countless hours of fun for our patients.

A child’s need to play is more than just fun and games. Through play, children learn about the world, expand their minds and stimulate their imagination. The Starlight Fun Center mobile entertainment system helps us create a happy and positive patient experience. As a distraction tool, it will help patients forget about their pain through fun play at bed side, before surgery or when in isolation rooms.

We thank the MLB, Angels baseball and Starlight Children’s Foundation for making such a generous and beneficial donation to CHOC Children’s!

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