Guest Post by Dr. Megan Moreno
When a Stomachache is More Than a Stomachache
A few months into my adolescent medicine fellowship, I saw a patient with a fairly routine complaint: abdominal pain. But Tammy, the young woman in question, stuck with me, because of what she identified as the cause of her pain: an act of bullying, a few weeks before, on MySpace. Not so routine after all.
In 2006, when I first wondered aloud if other teens and young adults had experiences similar to Tammy’s, many people were unsure what social media really was, let alone if it was permanent or pervasive. Almost no one believed it could affect a person’s emotional or physical well-being.
Tammy’s visit illuminated the connection between social media and health. Her visit was one of the main reasons why I started the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team, or SMAHRT, in 2008 at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
SMAHRT is dedicated to providing robust research on teens. We are taking a close look at social media patterns in teens like Tammy, who are sometimes a target of what we now readily identify as “cyberbullying,” as well as teens who have never struggled with social media, and all of those in between. Read full post »
Guest Post: by Dr. Laura Burkhart
When I was 16 years old I wanted to get my nose pierced. After the surprised initial reaction from my dad of “why would you ever want to voluntarily put a hole in your body?!”, we had a really respectful and honest conversation. What I remember the most was that he was open to my point of view, even though the idea of a body piercing wasn’t his favorite. Kind of like when I’d begged for a puppy; part of the deal was that I had to take complete care and responsibility for it. While I had other piercings after this, my memory of this piercing is a positive one. It was one of the first thought out “adult” conversations I had with my dad about something we didn’t agree on, because of his willingness to hear me out. This memory could have easily been one of teen rebellion and anger had I been simply told “No because I said so”. I share this story so hopefully inspire the kind of open conversation I had with my dad if your teen asks about body piercing. Read full post »
I’ve had the privilege of working with truly amazing families. I am always in awe of how much parents love their children. That love doesn’t diminish as babies grown into children and children grow into teens. Seattle Children’s Hospital holds parents in high regard as well. We value your input and need your help to continue to improve the care we provide.
In the Division of Adolescent Medicine, we’re placing a call to ask for parents who have received care in our clinic to help us continue to advance the services we provide. This is an opportunity for parents from the Adolescent Clinic to be involved in an advisory panel.
The panel position is a 2 year commitment and in that time you will be able to participate with clinicians in developing and reviewing educational materials for the clinic, as well as helping to review the curriculum for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) fellowship. LEAH is a grant offered to only a few institutions around the nation that trains people from a variety of disciplines (such as Medicine, Social Work, Psychology, Nutrition, Nursing, and Health Administration) to become leaders in adolescent health.
The position is open to any parent who has an adolescent who has been a patient in the Seattle Children’s Hospital inpatient or outpatient clinic settings.
Interested candidates can email: ADOLEAHPAC@seattlechildrens.org
Thank you in advance for considering this position!
Seattle Children’s Hospital has amazing researchers looking at a variety of pediatric health concerns from concussion prevention to internet use. The Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) lead by Dr. Megan Moreno includes people with a passion for looking at the health of adolescents as it relates to online and social media use. In 2014, this team held the first SMAHRT Conference and I was fortunate enough to attend. We discussed blogging, tweeting, social media sites, had an ‘appy hour’ where instead of ‘happy hour’ we spent the hour getting to know each other.
I’m excited to announce that the SMAHRT Conference is back! This year it will be held June 28-29, 2016 with topics including:
- How community organizations use social media to connect to teens
- How social media is addressed in school curricula
- How social media is used in research for recruitment, screening or intervention
- Hot topics:
- Problematic Internet Use
Everyone is welcome to attend! This includes parents, teens, media, health educators, researchers, medical providers, and community members.
Register online at:
2016 SMAHRT Conference flyer 3.24
Recently a friend described how she’d had ‘the talk’ with her teen son. She felt it was time to sit down and talk specifically about relationships (including sex) because her son has a girlfriend and they spend a lot of time together. Our conversation about her experience was entertaining and enlightening. She described how it was awkward for her, but she knew she needed to get her concerns out in the open. She also recognized that ‘the talk’ is really just the start of an ongoing dialogue about relationships and intimacy. Here were some of our take away tips for parents of teens who may be reluctant to talk about sex, feelings, and romantic encounters. Read full post »
Guest Post by Dr. Laura Burkhart
“Mom, Dad can I get a tattoo?”
It’s the question your teen may have already asked. Or maybe they haven’t yet, but your waiting for the day they will. In the past tattoos might have been seen as a rebellious sign of those looking for a counter culture marker to set themselves apart from mainstream society. However, the art of tattooing has over time begun to merge with the norm and it isn’t uncommon to see a spectrum of people show off their ink. However, just because permanent body art has become more common, it is not without risks. In this post I will go through the art of tattooing and scarification so you can start an open conversation with your teen. Read full post »
Every day as parents we juggle multiple demands. Teens are learning the process of balancing responsibilities, nurturing relationships, and making time for self care. This is no easy feat! In the 21st century, we have smart phones and tablets, voicemail and email, social media sites and instant messaging. Our friends, colleagues and co-workers can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are all accustomed to both receiving and providing instant responses. I know that personally, if I receive a text from a friend, I feel obligated to respond as soon as possible! How do we balance the demands of day to day life with time for self care? This is the question that has prompted me to think about incorporating more ‘mindfulness’ into my life. Read full post »
Guest Post by Dr. Emily Gallagher
At Seattle Children’s Hospital we have families coming from around the Pacific Northwest for a wide array of illness, disorders, and needs. In the Craniofacial Center, children with disorders of the head and face receive ongoing care, often from birth through adolescence. These disorders are often related to birth defects or genetic syndromes. The Craniofacial Center houses a specific clinic for patients with a genetic disorder called “22q11.2-related disorder”. This is a common genetic syndrome caused by differences in the amount of DNA in this area, usually missing (deletion) or additional (duplication) genetic material. 22q is characterized by varied physical issues that may affect many different parts of the body (such as heart abnormalities, cleft palate, or speech disorders), as well as developmental delay.
In pediatrics, we often focus on the development of infants and young children with disability. However, as they age into the teen years, needs are sometimes missed. I asked a colleague for information on some of the needs she sees in her adolescent patients with developmental delay. Read full post »
Guest Post by Dr. Raina Vachhani
What’s all the fuss about vitamin D?
The short answer is that our bodies are built to make vitamin D using sunlight, and for us folks living up north, that isn’t really happening during the winter.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that our bodies use to help us absorb the calcium we eat, which we need to help make strong bones. Without vitamin D, calcium levels can drop, causing long-term effects on the strength of bones. The teens and twenties are the most critical time to build strong, healthy bones in order to avoid having weak bones and a risk of bone fractures later in life.
There is a lot of exciting research going on to figure out what other roles vitamin D might play. Some scientists think that low vitamin D levels could be related to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, infections, and neurological diseases, though most of these links haven’t been proven yet. The reality is that most people have no symptoms to indicate to them (or their doctors) that their level of vitamin D is low. Read full post »
Substance use among adolescents is not a new concern for parents, but with recreational marijuana use being legal for people ages 21 and older in Washington, the changes to laws around marijuana over the past few years have led many parents to ask questions about how to talk with their teens about substance use. Should I tell my teen I’ve used before? How do I keep my teen from abusing drugs? Is it ok for teens to use occasionally? Are drugs really all that harmful? If a drug is legal, does that mean it’s safe? My teen is using, when should I be worried? Read full post »