In the pipeline: New therapies to manage severe therapy-resistant asthma

Pediatric Asthma - Girl blowing a dandelion

Over seven million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma. Many patients only experience mild, intermittent symptoms and can be treated symptomatically with medicines like Abluterol. Most of the remaining patients can achieve good asthma control by using daily medicines to decrease inflammation in the lung.

However, about 10 percent of children with asthma have difficult-to-treat disease. The challenge is identifying new therapies for these patients so they may live free of daily symptoms or the fear of exacerbations.

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Innovations and advancements: Honoring American Heart Month

We celebrate American Heart Month every February by doing what we do every day: treating a full spectrum of cardiac disorders and creating new ways to improve care.

This month, we also honor our patients, raise awareness around pediatric heart conditions and give thanks to Boston Children’s Heart Center faculty who are committed to finding solutions and serving every patient’s needs — no matter how complex the condition or situation.

Read a selection of five stories from the past year that highlight some of the Heart Center’s recent innovations and advancements. …Read More

Vaping: The new face of nicotine


E-cigarettes. Vapes. E-hookahs. Cigalikes. It’s hard to keep up with the terminology but one thing is certain: teens are using these products at an alarming rate.

According to a 2016 Report of the Surgeon General, the number of high school students who have used e-cigarettes increased 900 percent between 2011 and 2015 — making e-cigarettes the most common type of tobacco product used by teens and young adults.

“These products pose an interesting public health question because they’ve been accepted by some in the public health community as a useful smoking cessation tool,” says Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Levy says that framing e-cigarettes in this way has led to mixed messages — and potential health risks. …Read More

Caring for children by supporting parents

Schuster Supporting ParentsA mother brings her toddler in for a well-child visit. When the pediatrician asks how things are going, and the mother says, everything’s fine. The pediatrician asks whether she’s getting enough support at home, to which she cautiously responds that some days can feel like more than she can handle. 

Delving a little deeper, the pediatrician learns that the mother recently lost her father, is having trouble sleeping and hasn’t been engaging or playing with her child. After the pediatrician determines the mother is not at immediate risk for harming herself or her child, the clinic nurse helps her make an appointment with her primary-care provider.

This scenario — and many others like it — are part of the well-child visit anatomy. Experts say, the traditional 15-to-30-minute appointment is not only an opportunity for pediatric providers to track a child’s growth and development, but also check in with parents and discuss their concerns. …Read More