News about hospitals and health institutions serving families in and around Los Angeles.

Health News

tide pod challenge

Putting the Tide Pod Challenge in Perspective

You’ve certainly heard about internet “challenges” where people – especially teens – film themselves doing everything from harmless fun like pretending to be a mannequin to dangerous things like eating laundry detergent pods.   These and even more frightening challenges (the “Blue Whale” purportedly challenges participants to commit suicide) easily make headlines, but Brian Prestwich, M.D., lead physician in the Family Medicine department at UCLA Health Century City and father of...

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Doc Talk: Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Cold and flu season is upon us. Margaret Khoury, M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist and the regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program, says we never know how long or severe the season will be, but that Australia – which has its flu season during our summer – has reported an early start to the season and twice as many cases of flu as they had...

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L.A. pediatrician

A New Way to Find Top Pediatricians

Parents looking for top-notch L.A. pediatricians can now consult the CHLA Health Network, a group of general pediatricians throughout Los Angeles who have affiliated with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The idea behind the network, officially announced in May, is to standardize the quality of care among these practices and give parents direct access to CHLA’s specialized care at the hospital’s main campus and partner hospitals – Providence Holy Cross Medical...

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Spring and Mold Are In the Air

Our winter of beautiful rain might have ended the drought and turned our hillsides green, but it also means an increase in pollen and mold. Both can cause breathing trouble and put children's health at risk – especially for those with allergies. “One of the biggest offending environment is carpet,” says Eli Nussbaum, M.D, professor of pediatrics and UC Irvine School of Medicine and medical director of the Pediatric Pulmonary...

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National Study Looks at Adolescent Brains

If you’ve got tweens or teens, no doubt you’ve wondered what’s going on in their heads. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC and UCLA are now part of a 10-year nationwide study of 10,000 kids that aims to find out. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study will follow participants from ages 10 to 20, collecting brain-imaging data, genetic information and information about kids’ cognitive development and environmental exposures. Brain development...

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congenital heart defects

Women With Congenital Heart Defects Can Become Moms

For generations, doctors told women who were born with complex congenital heart defects that the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery would be too difficult for them, and that they should not have babies. That mindset has shifted. New recommendations for health care providers, published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation,” offer a road map to helping women with congenital heart disease have successful pregnancies. “There is a burgeoning...

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peanut allergy

Understanding New Peanut Allergy Guidelines

In January, the U.S. National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines about babies and peanuts. Parents were previously advised to avoid giving children foods containing peanuts until age 3 to keep them from developing peanut allergy, but are now encouraged in some cases to give peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months. Dr. Maria Garcia-Lloret, a pediatric allergist at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, helps us unpack the new guidelines....

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air quality

This Mom Wants to Clear the Air

Lizette Hernandez takes clean air personally. She has rushed her son, Kimani, to the hospital in the middle of the night because he couldn’t breathe. And she works to keep his asthma controlled with medication and nebulizer treatments. “Kids are among the most vulnerable to air pollution,” says Hernandez, who is Southern California lead organizer for the Sierra Club’s My Generation program. Studies show pollution impacts children’s lungs, brain development...

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8 Tips for Talking to Kids About Alzheimer’s

Learning that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be quite overwhelming. If you’re a parent and have to talk to your child about the disease, those feelings are likely exacerbated. This reality, while harsh, is one that affects millions of families. While we often think of Alzheimer’s as an illness that solely affects the patient diagnosed with the disease, the fact is, it affects the whole family. According to the Alzheimer’s...

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Ace Your Next Well-child Checkup

Before they turn 3, kids are supposed to have 10 well-child visits with a pediatrician (apart from those inevitable visits for childhood illnesses). These should offer a chance to address the many questions parents of young children face, but time with the pediatrician is often less than 15 minutes – hardly enough time to cover even the basics. To make the most of that time, be prepared. Before your child’s...

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Eyeing Digital Device Safety

Nearly 64 percent of parents spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. And if we’d put down our smart phones and tablets long enough, we would notice that our kids are right behind us, with 65 percent connected two hours a day or more. Those figures are from a recent report by The Vision Council, a vision care industry group. The report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital...

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There’s Still Time For Flu Shots

Even as L.A. County officials reported the first deaths of the 2015-16 flu season in mid-January, health experts reminded families that it isn’t too late to protect themselves by getting a flu shot. Both of the deaths occurred in people – a man in his 40s and a woman in her 90s – with pre-existing health problems, but pregnant women and very young children are also especially vulnerable. “Even though...

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CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

Planning a “babymoon” cruise to the Caribbean or a Mexican getaway? Take note of a CDC travel alert that is especially directed at pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant traveling to countries where Zika virus has become a threat: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly...

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Wellness, Didi Hirsch

Local Center Wins Grant For Disaster Distress Helpline

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center, one of only three in the U.S. with 24-hour English- and Spanish-speaking crisis counselors, won a highly competitive federal grant to continue operating the national Disaster Distress Helpline. The free, confidential helpline provides 24-hour crisis support services for people struggling emotionally because of natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, drought and incidents of mass violence. The...

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Tips For Health Insurance Open Enrollment

If you dread your health insurance plan’s open enrollment period, with its fine print to read and new plans to ponder, Elizabeth Abbott can tell you why. “The reason it’s hard is that you know it’s important,” says Abbott, director of the California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA). “This is a decision that has consequences for you and your family.” You shouldn’t put this decision off until the last...

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Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies. Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on...

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This Service Brings Healing To Your Home

Renee Dua is a doctor – and a busy L.A. mom of two. And after an exceptionally long night in a hospital emergency room with her infant, to receive medical attention for something that any pediatrician could have handled, she’d had enough. “We spent eight hours of our day sitting there,” Dua says. So in mid-February she founded Heal, a service that brings doctors to see patients at home. All...

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New Tool Let’s Swimmers Know If Beach Water is Safe

The unusual rainstorm over the weekend means lots of water washing through L.A. storm drains and down to the ocean, where the bacteria and pollution the storm water brings with it makes the water unsafe for swimming. Currently, local health agencies use laboratory analyses of water samples collected at the beach to determine if it is safe for recreational use. Unfortunately, it takes 24-48 hours to collect the samples, transport...

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Providence Tarzana Medical Center Partners with CHLA on Valley Pediatric Care

When Kelli Brodie’s son Conrad was born March 30 at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Conrad didn’t get to stay at the hospital for long. The infant was born with an intestinal defect and had to be immediately transported to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – almost 20 miles away – for lifesaving specialty care. There is no children’s hospital in the area served by Providence Tarzana pediatrics – a region of...

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In-Home, Post-Natal Newborn Service Launches In Southern California

Orange County Mom Creates Non-Medical Post-Natal Newborn Service “Uccellino” to Assist New Parents with Newborn Care in the Comfort of their Own Home Newborn babies typically don’t come with instruction manuals, but thanks to a new service created by the personal experiences of an Orange County mom, “motherly” advice and support can now be just a phone call or home visit away. Uccellino, which in Italian means “little bird,” is...

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L.A. Kids to Attend Juvenile Diabetes Conference

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is sending four young students from the Los Angeles area to Washington, D.C. July 13-15 for the JDRF Children’s Congress. As California delegates, they will address members of Congress to lobby for continuing research into a cure for for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Jackson Blair, 7, Madeleine Redmond, 10, Clair Haslett, 11, and Grace walker, 17 will join children ages 4 to 17 from across...

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Cleaner Air Improves Children’s Health

The air in Southern California has gotten cleaner during the past 20 years, and kids’ lungs have gotten healthier, says a new report from a 20-year study involving more than 2,000 children in five local communities. The USC Children’s Health Study tracked air quality in the L.A. basin and measured the lung development three groups of kids ages 11-15 living in Long Beach, Mira Loma, Riverside, San Dimas and Upland....

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Breaking the Sound Barrier for Children Born Deaf

Almost immediately after she was born, it became apparent that Angelica Lopez was deaf. Her parents, Julie and Santos, learned sign language and started making the heartbreaking, but necessary, adjustments to their daughter's special needs. Last summer, they learned of a device called an auditory brainstem implant (ABI), still in the testing phase, that might help recover Angelica’s hearing. Hearing aids and cochlear implants cannot help children like Angelica, because...

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UCLA Researchers Hope to Make Earlier Autism Detection Possible

Early detection is the key to helping children on the autism spectrum realize their full potential. Experts tend to agree that autism can be reliably diagnosed at age 3, when symptoms are present. Infants’ behavior is much more limited, making earlier detection a challenge, but researchers at UCLA are hoping to learn enough to change that. By studying behavior along with brain differences that could signal communication delays, they hope...

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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Studying Tummy Troubles and Autism

Research has shown that children on the autism spectrum experience more, and more severe, stomach problems such as constipation and bloating than other children their age do. If your child is one of them, you might be interested in a study being conducted by the special needs researchers at the Boone Fetter Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Because the discomfort from these gastrointestinal issues can make school and social...

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Cedars-Sinai Employs New Technology to Help Preemies Gain Weight, Sleep Better

Cedars-Sinai is using new devices to personalize the nutritional supplements of the smallest babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, part of the Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Center. Doctors have begun using a device known as the Pea Pod to measure the body composition of these infants, improving the children's health. Resembling a mini MRI machine, the Pea Pod uses air displacement to calculate the percentage of each infant’s...

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Toxic Stress and Children’s Health

Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., shows her audience of healthcare workers, therapists and community activists a photo of a bear on the screen behind her to make her point. Encountering a bear in the woods – or other serious threat – makes the human brain pump powerful stress hormones and divert blood to the large muscles of the arms and legs so we can either fight or run away. It’s supposed...

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A special Halloween for Babies in the Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Volunteers were working hard on the days leading up to Halloween to ensure a festive celebration for the babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center. In what has become an annual tradition, volunteers from Good Beginnings and some nurses in the Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center created adorable costumes, all handmade, for the tiny babies who were spending their first Halloween in the...

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Costco Donates $10 Million to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Making the largest single corporate gift Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has ever received, Costco Wholesale Corporation has made a $10 million philanthropic commitment to support the pediatric medical facility. In honor of this gift, the second floor of the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion, home to the hospital’s Heart Institute, will be named the Costco Wholesale Floor. "Costco Wholesale has been a significant partner in our mission to...

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Superheroes Wash Windows, Lift Spirits At Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA

A team of very special “grime fighters” turned out Aug. 13 to tidy up at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. And the results were just super. Building window washers dressed as Batman, Captain America, Spiderman and Wonder Woman – all from the hospital’s window-washing vendor, Sunland Window Cleaning – descended on their cleaning platform from the hospital roof down to the fifth-floor outdoor Chase Child Life terrace, where they joined pediatric...

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Pediatric Obesity Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Receives $1.5 Million Grant

The EMPOWER Weight Management Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – dedicated to helping young patients struggling with significant weight issues, and their families – has received $1.5 million from the UniHealth Foundation to help expand clinic hours and community outreach activities. EMPOWER stands for Energy Management for Personalized Weight Reduction, and the clinic is part of the Diabetes and Obesity program at CHLA. EMPOWER gives patients access to a...

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