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Bear Essentials Online - June 2012

Articles in this issue

Children’s National Medical Center is ranked among America’s best pediatric institutions by U.S.News & World Report in all 10 specialties:
• Neonatology
• Cancer
• Heart and Heart Surgery
• Diabetes and Endocrinology
• Neurology and  Neurosurgery
• Respiratory Disorders
• Digestive Disorders
• Orthopaedics
• Urology
• Kidney Disease

Children’s National Ranked Among Best Children’s Hospitals

For the second year in a row, Children’s National Medical Center is ranked among America’s best pediatric institutions by U.S.News & World Report in all 10 specialties. We are one of seven hospitals to rank 30 or above in all 10 specialties. In the areas of neonatology, cancer, and neurology / neurosurgery, Children’s National ranked in the top 10, while being placed in the top 20 in seven specialty areas.

“Children’s National deserves high praise for its accomplishments,” said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Children’s National has a reservoir of dedication and expertise that helps the sickest kids. Our goal at U.S.News is to identify and call attention to pediatric centers like this one.”

Looking at nearly 200 pediatric centers across the country, the U.S.News & World Report rankings weighed a three-part blend of reputation, outcome, and care-related measures such as nursing care, advanced technology, credentialing, and other factors. The hospitals were judged based on a combination of opinions from pediatric specialists about the hospitals they would recommend for the sickest children and data gathered in a survey covering important medical information. The rankings can be found on the U.S.News & World Report website or in the August print edition.

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MR-I Can Do It Program


Children’s Division of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging has launched the “MR-I CAN DO IT” program to help children ages 6 and older undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without sedation. This program was developed in coordination with child life specialists, radiology faculty, anesthesiologists, nurses, and MRI technologists.

In most pediatric imaging facilities, patients under the age of 8 years are automatically scheduled to receive anesthesia sedation to successfully complete a 60 minute or longer MRI exam. Although anesthesia sedation is a safe process and offers many benefits, the MR-I Can Do It program offers patient families additional options for MRI exams.

Patient families receive a wide array of education material and coaching via phone by radiology child life specialists to prepare for the MRI. On the day of the exam, the child life specialists work with the child and family. A special play area in the MRI suite has been created to enhance the child’s understanding of an MRI which includes MRI sounds and a mini MRI scanner which can be used for demonstrations and doll play. Cinemavision movie goggles or music are offered during the MRI to provide distraction and relaxation to the children and reduce anxiety and movement.

The MRI- Can Do It program is offered at both the main hospital Sheikh Zayed campus and Children’s National Imaging in Rockville, Md.

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What is Deformational Plagiocephaly?

Deformational plagiocephaly gets its name from the Greek words plagio, meaning oblique, and cephaly, meaning head. Deformational plagiocephaly results from repeated pressure to one area of the head. For instance, because infants’ craniums have not completely hardened, keeping an infant’s head in a single position for a long time can flatten part of the skull.

What are the symptoms of deformational plagiocephaly? 
Characteristics of deformational plagiocephaly include:

  • Flattening on the back of the head, usually on one side
  • Ear on the affected side displaced forward
  • Minor flattening of the forehead on the opposite side
  • Forehead and cheek on affected side displaced forward
  • Eye on affected side may be open wider
  • In severe cases, lower jaw can be affected with shift of the bite plate

How is deformational plagiocephaly diagnosed? 
It is common for a physician to reach a diagnosis after physical examination and review of the child’s medical history. Surgery is usually unnecessary, as it can be treated with positioning or a helmet. 

What does treatment for deformational plagiocephaly include? 
Specialists recommend treatments based on the severity of the deformational plagiocephaly. One treatment option is to rotate infants’ heads frequently, from the back to the sides, and to not put them on their backs when they are awake. 

In some cases, the plagiocephaly may resolve itself once the baby begins to sit and the skull continues to grow. However, if the deformity is moderate to severe and repositioning is unsuccessful, a physician may recommend a helmet to remold the cranium. Helmets have a hard outer shell, foam lining, and provide a tight, round space into which the head can grow. As the head grows, frequent adjustments are made. 

The Craniofacial Program at Children’s National sees patients with deformational plagiocephaly.

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Clinical Trials at Children’s National

Featured Trials:

Are you concerned about depression in your 7-11 year old? Signs of depression at this age include:

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Crankiness
  • Sadness
Physical Symptoms include:
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
If this sounds like your 7-11 year old, he or she may qualify to participate in a research study for childhood depression. Participants will receive study-related evaluations, laboratory tests, and medication at no cost from doctors who specialize in pediatric depression.

Study coordinator contact:


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If your child is between the ages of 7 and 17years old and has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or exhibits symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as intense irritability, mood swings, or difficulty sleeping, he or she may be eligible to participate in a year-long research trial conducted by the psychiatry department at Children’s National. Study procedures may include a psychological evaluation and medication at no cost.

Study coordinator contact:


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Children's National is conducting a research study to investigate the learning and behavioral patterns of children with congenital heart defects. If your child has a congenital heart defect, is between 4 and 21 years of age, and speaks English, he or she may be eligible. 

Study coordinator contact:
Jacqueline Sanz

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Children’s National is conducting research to learn about working memory skills in children. If your child is healthy, and is between the ages of 8 and 15 years old, he or she may be eligible to participate in this voluntary study. Eligible participants will receive compensation for time and travel. Parents will receive a written report of the study results for their child.

Study coordinator contact:
Madison Berl

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) researchers are looking at sleep patterns and stress levels in infants as they transition into daycare to better understand SIDS.  Researchers are looking for Caucasian infants less than 3 months of age, who are staying home with a parent or going into a licensed daycare. 

Study coordinator contact:
Brandi Joyner

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Children's National is conducting research to see if a home-based computer program can help children with epilepsy learn working memory skills. If your child has epilepsy and is between the ages of 8 and 15 years old, he or she may be eligible to participate in this study. Eligible participants will receive compensation for time and travel. 

Study coordinator contact:
Madison Berl

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Healthy Grilling Recipes

Mango Salsa

Preparation time: 15 minutes


  • 2 medium mangos, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves


  • In a medium bowl, combine mangos, kiwis, vinegar, fresh ginger, and cilantro.
  • If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Serves: 4

Lemony White Bean Bruschetta

Preparation time: 22 minutes


  • 1 8-ounce long loaf of Italian bread
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can (15- to 19-ounce) of white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of coarse ground peppers
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves each cut in half


  • Prepare charcoal fire or preheat gas grill on medium heat.
  • Slice bread diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • From lemon, grate 1/2 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice. In a medium bowl, with fork, lightly mash the beans with the lemon juice and peel, oil, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley.
  • Place bread slices on grill rack and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted on both sides. Rub one side of each toast slice with the cut side of garlic.
  • Just before serving, top garlic-rubbed side of toast with bean mixture.

Serves: 8

Spiced Pork Tenderloins

Preparation time: 20 minutes


  • 2 (about 1 pound each) whole pork tenderloins
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger


  • Prepare charcoal fire or preheat gas grill on medium heat.
  • Cut the tenderloins in half lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  • Open and spread flat.
  • Place each tenderloin between two sheets of saran wrap and with a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut each tenderloin into four pieces.
  • On waxed paper, mix the flour, salt, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Add the pork to spice mixture and turn to coat evenly.
  • Place the pork on the grill. Cover grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides and pork just loses its pink color throughout. Turn the pork over once.

Serves: 8



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Traveling with Children

Summer vacation means spending extra time with the family and traveling with children is not always easy. Whether you get to your destination by plane, train, or automobile, prepare for your trip with these travel tips.

Know before you go

  • Discuss travel rules and emergency contact information with your family.
  • If traveling internationally, ensure you have your children's appropriate legal documents. Passports are required for all children, including infants, for international U.S. travel.
  • Memorize the poison control hotline number: 800-222-1222. This toll-free number will connect you from anywhere in the United States.
  • Have a copy of your child’s prescriptions and a list of his or her medications on hand in case of an emergency.

In a Car

  • Before hitting the road, secure all loose items in the car that may become projectiles during a sudden stop or crash.
  • Travel with your child’s car safety seat and make sure it is properly installed.
  • Use your child’s nap schedule to your advantage. For long car rides, leave an hour or so before his or her nap time so you can maximize the peaceful atmosphere.
  • Never leave a child alone in the car, even if it is a quick run into a rest stop.
  • Bring a small backpack of toys and activities for on-the-road entertainment. Items such as books, coloring books, comfort toys, DVDs, or MP3 players are useful for keeping children occupied on long trips.
  • Use child safety locks while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Messes are bound to happen while traveling with kids. Keep a bag of wipes, hand sanitizer, and disposable bags for dirty diapers nearby.
  • Pack healthy snacks for the road and avoid unhealthy fast food options at rest stops.

On a Plane

  • Riding in a plane is a new experience for most children. Talk to your child about what they will experience from security screenings, to the flight attendants, to possible turbulence.
  • Leave for the airport with plenty of extra time. The stress of being in a rush to catch a flight may add to a child’s uneasiness.
  • Holding a child on an adult’s lap is not the safest option. Whenever possible, buy a child his or her own seat to ensure an approved car seat can be used. Most airlines offer a discount for children younger than age 2.
  • Infants and toddlers on airplanes are safest in a car seat with a harness. Make sure your child’s car seat is labeled “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Keep in mind that car seats are not allowed in exit rows and must be installed at a window seat.
  • Be familiar with Transportation Security Information (TSA) regulations before flying with your children.

For other parenting tips, visit Children’s new “Parent’s Corner” section of our website.

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Parent’s Letter Project


The Parent’s Letter Project lets families of patients at Children’s National share letters of advice and support to parents going through the same thing. “When we were searching for folks with similar experiences we had a difficult time finding anything, so I hope this helps.” Read a letter from a dad whose daughter needed plastic surgery.

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