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    Embracing change: New discoveries, novel therapies

    Children's Memorial Research Center is poised to lead in innovations that cross boundaries: across institutions, geographic locations and disciplines.

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    Neuromuscular Clinic

    A clinic is born.

    Nancy Kuntz, MD in the Neurology Division and colleagues offer one clinic per month for children with neuromuscular disorders.

    Working with Christine DiDonato, PhD, Kuntz is looking for biomarkers of disease severity in children with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that attacks nerve cells and causes patients to lose motor control over time.

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    CLOCC/Obesity Prevention

    Brief counseling is effective in changing parents’ fruit and vegetable consumption.

    A study conducted by the George Washington University and the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children found that a community social

    marketing campaign on obesity risk factors was effective with parents, but that the effect did not lead to positive behavioral outcomes for their children.

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    Extracting data from electronic medical records reveals treatment outcomes.

    Michael Miller, MD and Marisa Klein-Gitelman, MD, MPH in the Division of Rheumatology led a study to evaluate treatment outcomes in patients with

    juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). This was done using Xenobase, an application permitting analyses of complex relationships from de-identified patient records.

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    A gene for Niemann-Pick type C disease (NP-C) is essential.

    NP-C is a fatal genetic disease in which excessive amounts of cholesterol accumulate in the liver and spleen and excessive amounts of other lipids in the brain.

    The Ahlgren laboratory cloned the zebrafish equivalent of the NP-C gene and determined that the gene is required early for proper cell movements and cholesterol localization and later for cell survival.

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    Medical Imaging

    CT and MRI scans aid in evaluating congenital heart disorders.

    A team of pediatric cardiologists collaborated with radiologists Cynthia Rigsby, MD and Stanley Kim, MD in acquiring

    state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) scans to best evaluate congenital heart disorders.

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    Food Allergies

    Food allergies in children are more common than previously believed.

    Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH in the Division of General Academic Pediatrics and colleagues from the Smith Child Health Research

    Program published data suggesting that one in 13 U.S. children suffers from food allergies, a figure that is double the latest government estimate.

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    Artificial bladder research is moving ahead.

    Earl Cheng, MD and Arun Sharma, PhD collaborate with colleagues at the Feinberg School. They plan to leap forward this year with the addition of Edward Gong, MD.

    His impressive laboratory experience will be the next step to creating the artificial bladder and understanding neuro-vascular concepts vital in the progress to correct congenital abnormalities.

New Discoveries, Novel Therapies