Helping your child understand puberty

We all remember the changes — and awkwardness — of puberty. But helping your child navigate puberty is a whole different matter. For answers, we turned to Boston Children’s Primary Care Alliance physician Caitlyn Hark, MD, at Framingham Pediatrics, and Frances Grimstad, MD, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist in the Division of Gynecology at Boston ... Read More

Genomic ‘fingerprinting’ yields better treatments for pediatric solid cancers

Genomic profiling is increasingly used for solid tumors in adults and for pediatric brain tumors and blood cancers, allowing treatments to be matched to patients’ mutations. But for children with solid tumors, genomic fingerprinting has been elusive, because these cancers are so varied and individually so rare. Therapies therefore remain non-specific: chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation. ... Read More

Optimizing care for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, infant by infant

Preterm newborns with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) can require ongoing mechanical ventilation to support their lungs. But babies with BPD aren’t just newborns with underdeveloped lungs. Each has a unique presentation. And every part of their care is important, with the ultimate goal of enabling them to grow, develop, and go home to their families. The ... Read More

Pregnant mothers who get COVID-19 vaccines are also protecting their babies

Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccination is safe for expectant mothers and can protect them against infection, severe illness, and death from COVID-19. We also know that mothers vaccinated during pregnancy pass coronavirus antibodies to their babies. The latest research — drawing on 30 children’s hospitals in 22 states — now confirms that vaccinating ... Read More

Bringing Xavien home: One family’s journey with bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Xavien Velazquez is getting ready to celebrate his first birthday. It’s a milestone for every child but especially meaningful for this little boy who has spent more than half his life away from home receiving care for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic lung disease characterized by respiratory distress that is most often seen in newborns ... Read More

Widespread recognition of Juneteenth carries the hope of change

For African American and Black employees of Boston Children’s, the mainstream acceptance of Juneteenth is a promising step toward national healing. It was only last year that June 19 — “Juneteenth” for short — became a federal holiday, giving all Americans an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of slavery, the civil rights movement, and race ... Read More

Breaking down barriers: How interpreters can enhance patient care

Sharing medical concerns with clinicians can be hard for anyone — a challenge that’s amplified in patients when English isn’t their first language. The results are troubling: One recent study by Boston Children’s pediatric hospitalist and researcher Alisa Khan, MD, MPH, found that patients and families who have limited English proficiency are three to five ... Read More

Melatonin for kids: Is it effective? Is it safe?

You’ve heard melatonin — an over-the-counter hormone supplement — can help with insomnia. Perhaps your pediatrician has recommended it. But is it really beneficial, and can your child take it safely? A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raises some concerns. It found an alarming six-fold increase in the past ... Read More

Exploiting a vulnerability in an aggressive leukemia

Survival has improved greatly in children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). But a certain form of ALL that occurs mostly in babies is still very lethal, with a survival rate below 50 percent: B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia with rearrangements of the mixed lineage leukemia gene, or MLL B-ALL. “Something about the biology of this type ... Read More

Unstoppable: Cairo’s journey for kidney care began even before birth

Like lots of babies, Cairo Carter was born screaming — and his parents were thrilled. “We just wanted him to scream so we knew he could breathe,” explains his mother, Alaila. The family cried tears of joy and relief, but they understood that the moment was just the first step of a long journey. “We ... Read More

From South Africa to Boston: Kyleigh’s four-year search for good heart health

Kyleigh Kista had three open-heart surgeries in just the first 18 months of her life.  But instead of progressing, her health was rapidly deteriorating by the time she reached 3. Her doctors said there was little else they could do, except make her a candidate for a heart and lung transplant. It was shattering news ... Read More