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Pediatrics, Sports, Stanford News

A Super Bowl surprise at Packard Children’s

A Super Bowl surprise at Packard Children’s

Just in time for the Super Bowl: A sweet story out of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital about a special visit for 18-year old patient/football fan Alex Walter. As writer Samantha Dorman describes on the hospital’s Healthier, Happier Lives Blog:

Last week, as Super Bowl 50 excitement grew, we learned that Alex’s dream was to meet his beloved Denver Broncos, who would be practicing just down the street at Stanford University. On Monday, we posted this to our Facebook page. The goal was to catch the Broncos’ eye. Thousands of fans liked and shared the post, tagging Peyton Manning, the Broncos, local reporters, and anyone else to help spread the word.

By the next morning we made contact with Vernon Davis, former 49er and now Super Bowl-contending Broncos tight-end. The photo also caught the attention of Bay Area news outlets, including KTVU’s (Fox 2) Rob Roth and NBC Bay Area, who called the hospital wanting to talk to Alex. Staff and the hospital school devised a plan to surprise Alex, telling him that two TV stations were going to interview him about wanting to meet a Bronco. And during the interview Vernon Davis would walk in and give Alex the surprise of a lifetime!

It all worked according to plan. Check out our behind-the-scenes video of the surprise.

As outlined in the post, Walters received a heart transplant at Packard Children’s when he was 11 and is now being treated for rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer. The treatments leave him with little energy, but he is, according to his mom, “relentlessly positive.”

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts from January

Grand Roundup: Top posts from January

It’s time to look back at last month’s five-most read stories on Scope. They were:

The real reason why med students only talk about school: In the latest installment of Stanford Medicine Unplugged, second-year medical student Nathaniel Fleming writes about the reason that medical students talk about school so much. He notes that “being able to debrief openly and honestly couldn’t be more important in a profession like medicine.”

The importance of providing patient support in the face of a life-threatening illness: In this first-person piece, Sara Wyen, a survivor raising awareness about the devastating effects of blood clots, shares how her physician helped her heal both physically and emotionally after a scary medical diagnosis.

When Breath Becomes Air: A conversation with Lucy Kalanithi: The memoir “When Breath Becomes Air” was written by Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, MD, who died of lung cancer at the age of 37. In a recent 1:2:1 podcast, Paul’s wife, Stanford physician Lucy Kalanithi, MD, talks about the words that Paul left behind and what life has been like since Paul died last spring.

NBC Dateline to explore the “extraordinary situation” facing one Packard Children’s transplant family: A national news program recently caught up with the Binghams, a family with three children with cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening disease that reduces the heart’s ability to pump normally. Family members have undergone three heart transplants at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, and their youngest son is awaiting a donor heart.

New perspective: Potential multiple sclerosis drug is actually old (and safe and cheap): This post highlights a new study led by Paul Bollyky, MD, PhD, showing that blocking production of a naturally made substance in the body may be beneficial in multiple sclerosis.

And still going strong – the most popular post from the past:

Eating for good blood: Tips for boosting iron levels and hemoglobin: This entry from the Stanford Blood Center discusses hemoglobin levels and offers ways to boost levels prior to blood donation.

In the News, Public Health, Sleep

How to tell if you’re sleep deprived

How to tell if you're sleep deprived

mad cartoonAre you chronically cranky or hungry (or, worse, hangry)? Are you clumsy or prone to nodding off during a show? Those are just a few of the signs that you may be sleep-deprived — signs that are hilariously depicted through a series of TV and movie clips in a fun new Bustle piece. The article caught my attention because it includes comments from Stanford sleep expert Rafael Pelayo, MD, (who explains why being short on z’s can make it difficult to fall asleep at one’s normal bedtime), but I also quite like the wise words of writer Chrissa Hardy:

Functioning isn’t thriving, just as surviving isn’t really living. The bare minimum is never the goal, and sleeping the shortest amount of time in order to get through the following day is no way to present your best self to the world.

In other words, go get some sleep.

Previously: Stanford doc gives teens a crash course on the dangers of sleep deprivationStanford docs discuss all things sleepExploring the effect of sleep loss on health and What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?
Photo by Ben Piddington

Cancer, Events, Stanford News, Women's Health

There’s something about Harry: Harry Connick Jr. sings in support of women’s cancer research

Harry Connick Jr2 - 560

The heavy rain started just as the salad plates were taken away (“How appropriate,” I thought – given the name of the event I was attending), but few people inside the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club in Palo Alto were paying attention to what was happening outside. Most eyes, including those of Stanford President John Hennessy, PhD, and Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the medical school, were instead directed to a small stage at the front of the room holding a sleek black piano, several brass-holding men clad in suits, and Harry Connick Jr.

The acclaimed vocalist/pianist was in Palo Alto for Under One Umbrella, an annual event benefiting the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, and he wowed the crowd with his commanding voice, big smile, and charming personality.

“I wrote this song for my wife, but there are so many attractive people here that you should consider it yours,” he told the largely female audience with a grin before launching into his 2013 song “One Fine Thing.” And later, he jokingly scolded the appreciative crowd when they gave him an enthusiastic standing ovation: “You’re not supposed to act like that at a damn luncheon.”

Moments earlier, Connick had been introduced with great fanfare by Jonathan Berek, MD, director of the center, who called the crooner not only an “internationally celebrated” entertainer but an “active philanthropist” and a “special guy.” (“I’ve never received so many compliments in my life,” Connick later laughed. “I’m going to make him my ringtone.”) And Connick also has a personal connection to what brought the roughly 300 people together on that rainy afternoon: As he shared during a serious moment between songs, his mother died of ovarian cancer when he was 13.

“Man, do we get it,” he said of those who have been affected by cancer. “It’s so nice to be among people who know what it’s all about.”

Connick took a few moments on the stage to call out Berek on his accomplishments – “It’s not often that you’re humbled sitting next to someone,” he said of the pre-performance time they spent together – and the work of others here, which was nicely highlighted in a 8-minute, Berek-produced film shown at the event.

During the piece, Beverly Mitchell, MD, director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, called the women’s cancer center “one of the jewels in our crown.” And Berek, before introducing Connick, noted the “tremendous expansion” of the “innovative and extensive” research programs that has occurred since the first Under One Umbrella event in 2008. (Much of this is, of course, thanks to Under One Umbrella, which has raised more than $26 million over seven years for the center.)

Berek also reminded attendees of the importance of patients – “They are both our benefactors and our inspiration” – but it was evident that most in the room also took inspiration from our researchers and clinicians. “I’m glad I can be a small part of this, but know how honored I am to be among the people who will eradicate” these diseases, Connick told the crowd.

Previously: Country music stars thank Under One Umbrella for supporting Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, Stanford Women’s Cancer Center: Peace of mind and advanced care under one umbrella and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood help fundraising effort for Women’s Cancer Center at Stanford
Photo by Drew Altizer

Scope Announcements

Scope will be back on Tuesday

Scope will be back on Tuesday

Our office is closed today in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Scope will resume publishing tomorrow.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts of 2015

Grand Roundup: Top posts of 2015

Time now to look back at our most popular stories of the year. The most-read posts published in 2015 were:

Kalanthi and childEating for good blood: Tips for boosting iron levels and hemoglobin: This entry from the Stanford Blood Center discusses hemoglobin levels and offers ways to boost levels prior to blood donation.

Stanford neurosurgeon/cancer patient Paul Kalanithi: “I can’t go on. I will go on.”: Paul Kalanithi, MD, who wrote eloquently and movingly about being diagnosed with lung cancer, died of the disease in March. In a 1:2:1 podcast recorded last November, the 37-year-old first-time father reflected on his struggle with mortality, his changing perception of time and the meaning he continued to experience despite his illness.

For this doctor couple, the Super Bowl was about way more than football: Paul Kalanithi and his wife, Lucy, won a trip to the Super Bowl by raising money for lung-cancer research and winning the Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge, sponsored by the Chris Draft Family Foundation.

Sticky situation: How sugar affects our health: In this post, a clinical dietician with Stanford Health Care answers questions on the health risks of consuming too much sugar and offers tips on how to cut back.

ME/CFS/SEID: It goes by many aliases, but its blood-chemistry signature is a giveaway: A multi-institution team published a study in Science Advances showing another physiological basis for a diagnosis of what it now being referred to as systemic exertion intolerance disease: a characteristic pattern, or “signature,” consisting of elevated levels of various circulating immune-signaling substances in the blood.

And still going strong – the most popular post from the past:

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?: Brandon Peters, MD, an adjunct clinical faculty member at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, explains how lack of sleep can negatively affect a person’s well-being in this 2013 Huffington Post piece.

Previously: Grand Roundup: Top 5 posts of 2014
Photo of Paul Kalanithi by Gregg Segal

Podcasts

Most popular 1:2:1 podcasts of 2015

Most popular 1:2:1 podcasts of 2015

As the end of the year approaches, a look back at the 1:2:1 podcasts that you listened to most.

RoncaroloDays are long, years are short: Paul Kalanithi on time: Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, MD, touched many lives by writing and talking openly about disease and mortality before dying of lung cancer last March. This interview is the companion to “Before I go”, a beautiful Stanford Medicine magazine piece he wrote about his changing perception of time.

A conversation with the happiest man on Earth: Molecular biologist-turned-Buddhist monk and best-selling author Matthieu Ricard has been touring to spread his belief that “altruism is the vital thread that can address the main challenges of our time, from economic inequality to environmental sustainability, from life satisfaction to conflict resolution.” While visiting campus last spring, he stopped to talk with 1:2:1 host Costello about altruism, the meaning of happiness, and the power of meditation.

Maria Grazia Roncarolo on fast-tracking stem cell and gene therapy to the clinicMaria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, was recruited to Stanford Medicine in 2014, to lead efforts in fast-tracking stem cell and gene therapy to the clinic and to bring basic-science discoveries to patients. Here, she talks about her work and about Stanford’s Childx, a TED-style conference focused on inspiring innovation in pediatric and maternal health.

Dean Lloyd Minor on his vision for Stanford Medicine: It’s been three years since Lloyd Minor, MD, took the helm as dean of Stanford’s medical school, and he talks about his time here and his plans for the future during this interview. Saying “this is an extraordinarily exciting place to work – a place where it’s easy to get out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm about what lies ahead in the day,” Minor goes on to talk about Stanford Medicine’s vision to lead the biomedical revolution, the promise of precision health, and his commitment to diversity.

How would you like to die? A conversation with Stanford’s VJ PeriyakoilVJ Periyakoil, MD, director of Stanford’s Palliative Care Education and Training, recently launched the Stanford Letter Project, a campaign to empower adults to take the initiative to talk to their doctor about what matters most to them at life’s end. In this podcast, she discusses the project and why it’s so important for patients to tell their doctors and family members about their end-of-life wishes.

Previously: Heart disease, old brains and happiness: Looking back on some of the year’s best 1:2:1 podcasts
Photo of Maria Grazia Roncarolo by Norbert von der Groeben

Stanford News

The best of Stanford Medicine on Instagram

The best of Stanford Medicine on Instagram

Here are some of our favorite recent photos on the @Stanford.Med Instagram page. Follow along to see more.

Previously: Stanford Medicine is on Instagram

Scope Announcements

Scope is taking a holiday break

Scope is taking a holiday break

wintery lights

Happy Holidays from all of us at Scope! We’re taking a holiday break; from now until Jan. 4 we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule.

Photo by Mike McCune

Imaging, Stanford News

An Egyptian mummy’s visit to Stanford, in pictures

An Egyptian mummy's visit to Stanford, in pictures

Earlier this week we introduced you to a very special guest who came to Stanford. Above are photos from when Hatason, a 3,200-year-old Egyptian mummy, stopped by for a CT scan.

More photos of Stanford Medicine events, (non-mummy) people and places can be found on Instagram.

Previously: Stanford radiologists scan Egyptian mummy for clues to its origin and 3,200-year-old woman comes to Stanford
Photos by Norbert von der Groeben

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