Stories about: Innovation

ResistanceOpen: Mapping antibiotic resistance in the US


In April 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a global report highlighting the increase in worldwide antibiotic resistance and warning the public of a “post-antibiotic era“. The WHO report gathered data from 129 member states and found that antimicrobial resistance existed in every region of the globe.

A year prior, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a similar report regarding antibiotic resistance in the U.S. It estimated there are approximately 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria or fungi in the U.S. every year. Both reports represent a major warning: resistance is happening, it is widespread, and it extends to include “last resort” antibiotics.

Over the last 20 years, the rate of resistance to infections has skyrocketed from 10 to 15 percent in the 1990s to 60 percent today. Simultaneously, pharmaceutical companies have stopped investing in the development of antibiotics.  Only 11 new antibiotics were introduced between 1998 and 2014, and the last class of antibiotics in was approved in 1987 — 29 years ago.

Derek MacFadden, MD, a research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, and his project ResistanceOpen, hope to fight the seemingly impending post-antibiotic era. …Read More

Innovative series of surgeries corrects leg length discrepancy in children

leg length discrepancy surgeryPerfect body symmetry is a fallacy, and nearly everyone’s legs are different lengths to some small degree. But when the difference is large enough, it can alter a person’s gait and cause back, hip, knee or ankle problems.

Some people are born with a leg length discrepancy so significant that decisions must be made early to change the course their lives.

George Davies, now 17, was born with a rare disease called Fibular Hemimelia, a rare genetic absence of the fibular bone.  Without treatment, George’s right leg would grow so much slower than his left that it would ultimately be six inches shorter than his left. George’s parents decided to pursue a course of leg-lengthening surgeries and physical therapy to help him one day stand on two legs of the same size.

Learn how George’s treatment affected him, his family and his future on our sister blog, Thriving.

Read about George’s journey to overcome leg length discrepancy.

What’s in a fever? New app casts wide net for data

feverprints asks "what's in a fever?"“Do you have a fever?” Seems like a simple, straightforward question to ask someone.  The answer is either “yes” or “no,” and the criteria are clear-cut.  Right?

Actually, what constitutes a fever is quite subjective, and the diagnostic science is inexact.

Jared Hawkins, MMSc, PhD, the director of Informatics for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA), says that a number of factors — including age, size, and time of day — can influence a person’s “normal” temperature.

In collaboration with the Boston Children’s Autoinflammatory Diseases Clinic, IDHA has designed a free i-Phone application that captures temperature data from the public and applies the crowdsourcing model to science. The app, called “Feverprints,” uses Apple’s ResearchKit to aggregate and analyze the data to answer questions that will advance fever research.

Learn more about this innovation on our sister blog, Vector.

Read Vector’s coverage of Feverprints.

Q+A: What you need to know about bridge-enhanced ACL repair

Screen Shot ACL repairIt’s not uncommon for physicians and patients to refer to ACL surgery as ACL repair. The current standard of care, however, does not repair a torn ACL. The surgeon removes the ends of the torn ACL and replaces the ligament with a tendon graft. It’s ACL reconstruction.

Bridge-enhanced ACL repair (BEAR) is a promising new approach to ACL surgery that uses a protein-enriched sponge to encourage the torn ends of an ACL to reconnect and heal.

Martha Murray, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital orthopedic surgeon, and a team of researchers have spent nearly 25 years developing the BEAR surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a 100-patient clinical trial at Boston Children’s to see if the BEAR surgery is as effective as ACL reconstruction.

Murray answers some questions about her ACL research and the BEAR trial. …Read More

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