Not the easy way out

By James D. Geiger, MD

Childhood obesity is such a serious issue that First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let’s Move campaign. While the campaign is doing a great job of drawing attention to the issue and encouraging children and teenagers to be more active, for many severely obese adolescents, getting up and moving is not the only answer. But, is weight-loss surgery the right answer?

Here at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center, we’ve always taken a comprehensive approach to treating childhood obesity. Our MPOWER (Michigan Pediatric Outpatient Weight Evaluation & Reduction) program brings together a team of healthcare providers (physicians, dietitian, psychologist, social worker, exercise physiologist and physician assistant) to evaluate and treat obese adolescents.

For some patients, treatment includes weight-loss surgery, but that’s not the easy way out. Continue reading

Over 1000 artists add a personal touch to new hospital

Over a thousand people were involved in decorating the walls of the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. Sure, that team includes professional designers – but it also includes more than a few five-year-olds, moms and dads, and community leaders, too!

Back in 2008, Mott partnered with with Detroit-based Pewabic Pottery to enable patients, family members, employees and donors to paint tiles for the new children’s hospital.

When the installation of tiles is completed, about 1,600 tiles will cover the welcome desks on each level of the new hospital, and in the clinics. Continue reading

Looking deeper, learning more

Samantha Provenzano visits with Big Bird inside the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital eight months after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Doctors evaluating then-6-year-old Samantha’s hearing problems found something else – a tumor in her brain.  Now she’s back on track after surgery, finishing first grade this spring and sporting a colorful set of hearing aids.

Like most 7-year-olds, Samantha Provenzano is always on the move.

She loves rollerblading, riding her bike, playing baseball and practicing Tae Kwon Do with her younger sister, Gabriella.

Anyone meeting the Livonia first grader may find it hard to believe that about a year ago, surgeons at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital removed a tumor from her brain. Continue reading

Can a genetic test predict your child’s success in athletics?

Genetic testing is not a new concept for many people.  From predicting disease risk to determining whether a person is a carrier of a specific gene, genetic testing is an important part of healthcare.  More and more, though, genetic testing is also being used for other things.

Dr. Beth Tarini, a pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, recently published a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) about some of the issues surrounding genetic testing to predict athletic performance in children.

What are these tests, and what is Dr. Tarini’s message to parents considering this type of genetic test for their child?  Watch the video below to find out!

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What parents should know about the new car seat guidelines

My daughter had just turned 1 when I spent a month working on the trauma service during my Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship.  She was not yet 20 pounds so I still had her in a rear-facing car seat.  I asked one of the head trauma surgeons when he would recommend I turn my daughter around so she was facing forward in the car.  His response surprised me.  He said, “If I could, I would ride rear-facing in a 5-point harness.”

Thinking about it some, it makes sense.  If you are in a front end crash, your car comes to a stop and you keep moving forward until you come in contact with your seat belt.  If you are not wearing a seat belt you will stop against the interior of the car, or worse yet something outside of the vehicle.  When children are riding in a rear-facing seat, the force of stopping in a crash is spread out over the whole surface of their back – not just the points where their body contacts the straps.

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Gamers Outreach brings their ‘A’ game to Mott

Video game charity donates two gaming systems, carts to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital patient Kyle Sexton plays a video game using one of the Gamers Outreach Foundation's GO Karts. It was Kyle's first time using the Go Kart.

Kyle Nicholson escapes from his seventh floor room in the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital through an Xbox.

Nicholson, of Shelby Township, Mich., is battling leukemia and has been at Mott for about four weeks. He says the video game system recently stationed in his room – along with his favorite game, “Madden NFL 11,” – helps him pass the time.

“The screen is very nice,” he says. “It gives me something to do instead of just watch TV all day.”

The Xbox helping to take Nicholson’s mind off of treatment is located on one of two portable video game kiosks donated to Mott by the Gamers Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit charity organization that uses video games to help others.

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