March 24, 2015


Don’t miss out on the fun next month at the third annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run. Registration for the event ends at noon Monday, March 30, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already.

Families with children of all abilities are invited to register and participate in the run at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 11 at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

The Family Fun Run will include both a 1K and 3K course. Registered participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Following the run, families can enjoy the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone. The zone will be packed with snacks, special guests and close to 40 attractions.

Join Texas Children’s leaders and thousands of others in the fun and register today for the Family Fun Run. Registration can be completed online at or Remember, the deadline to register is noon Monday, March 30.

Additional information, including training guides, videos and pictures from last year’s event, can be found on the event’s website.

Spread the word and happy running!


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The Department of Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital represents a dedicated team of more than 80 pediatric-focused surgeons representing at least 9 different subspecialties. Another 600 employees help make up the department, which is dedicated to caring for and improving the health of children through patient care, education and research.

The surgical team treats children in and around the greater Houston area via our five Health Centers and two, soon to be three, hospitals. It also sees patients at other hospitals around the country and the globe. Annually, Texas Children’s surgeons perform 25,000 operative cases and 115,000 clinic visits, including 90 fetal procedures and about 20 neurological laser ablations.

“We have a tremendous team here,” said Surgeon-In-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr. “The scope and breadth of expertise, that gets fielded here every single day is amazing.”

Click on the picture to the right to see more fast facts about Surgery.


Growing up can be tough, especially on girls, but there’s one way to make this journey through adolescence easier for moms and daughters – preparation.

“If you equip teens and preteens with the knowledge they need to navigate the changes and challenges that lie ahead, they’ll emerge stronger, healthier, more confident young women,” said Dr. Jennifer Dietrich, Texas Children’s chief of pediatric and adolescent gynecology.

Hosted by experts from Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Girls Elevated is an empowering, interactive one-day event that educates teens about their bodies and helps them cope with peer pressure and self-esteem issues that often occur during puberty.

Girls between the ages of 10 and 18, and their mothers or caregivers, are invited to attend separate, age-appropriate sessions to hear from physicians, law enforcement and other experts on topics girls want and need to know about, from physical development to personal safety to healthy relationships and more.

This year’s keynote speaker, Jamie Schanbaum, will deliver an inspirational talk about overcoming adversity, positive body image and self-esteem, after losing her legs and fingers to bacterial meningitis. Her mission is to prevent others from suffering from this vaccine preventable disease.

Since the event’s launch in 2014, 120 participants attended Girls Elevated. This year, organizers are expecting an even larger crowd of 240.

Girls Elevated will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at the United Way Community Resource Center at 50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX, 77007.

Click here to register online for Girls Elevated 2015! The deadline to register is Friday, April 10.


Have you ever found your fruit bowl teeming with fruit flies that seemed to appear out of nowhere? While pesky at times, these 6-legged, red-eyed insects have endured as a laboratory staple for more than 100 years, helping scientists unlock the genetic causes of human disease.

In a recently published article in the journal Genetics, fruit fly biologists at the Jan and Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’sDrs. Michael Wangler, Shinya Yamamoto and Hugo Bellen – explore the value of fruit fly research and the need for more funding to accelerate biomedical discoveries using the Drosophila fruit fly.

Unlike mouse models, the authors argue that fruit flies are inexpensive to maintain, they grow quickly from embryo to adult in 12 days, and share many similar genes with humans, making the Drosophila a powerful model organism for the study of genetics.

To study human disease in fruit flies, scientists mutate, or disrupt, the same gene that is known or suspected to cause the disease, and then figure out why mutations with this particular gene leads to disease. However, one can also take an unbiased approach and discover new genes.

Inside their laboratory at the NRI, Bellen and his team have performed a large scale forward unbiased genetic screen which allowed them to isolate 165 fruit fly genes that cause neuro-developmental and neuro-degenerative phenotypes when mutated, 90 percent of which have human counterparts. The human counterparts of one third of the genes cause Mendelian disorders. By exploring the remaining two thirds of the genes in patients with rare disease they could identify a few novel human diseases genes, work that they did in collaboration with Drs. Jim Lupski and Richard Gibbs.

A detailed characterization of some of the 165 genes also permitted them to discover novel mechanisms that underlie a variety of known diseases such as the peripheral neuropathy associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (2A) disease, Leigh syndrome and some ataxias, including Spinocerebellar Ataxia 6 and Friedreich ataxia.

“By understanding how a particular gene works in the fruit fly, we can dissect the molecular and genetic events that underlie the pathogenesis of human disease so that effective treatments can be developed in the future,” Bellen said.

“We see fruit fly research as an avenue of tremendous importance,” Wangler said. “Federal agencies need to actively encourage collaborative research between fruit fly researchers and human geneticists and clinicians to make the best possible use of dwindling research dollars to promote public health.”

Click here to read their article titled, “Fruit flies in biomedical research,” in the journal Genetics.


Dr. Sunita Misra, a child neurology resident at Texas Children’s, recently received the 2015 Roger and Mary Brumback Sage Award of Excellences for her study on Dravet Syndrome.

Her award-winning study analyzed the quantity and type of medications that are required to stop prolonged seizures in children with Dravet Sydrome, a severe childhood epilepsy syndrome that causes patients to experience dozens or even hundreds of seizures a day.

In her study, Misra and her team also analyzed the triggers and complications resulting from the long seizures, and how many episodes led to emergency room visits or hospitalizations for prolonged seizures.

The Roger and Mary Brumback Sage Award of Excellences is awarded to the recipient of the best junior member presentation at the annual meeting of the Southern Pediatric Neurology Society.


Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions in the United States, and if untreated, can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and learning. The good news is tooth decay is preventable and that there are at least two opportunities this month at Texas Children’s Hospital where you can find out how to keep your child’s smile clean and healthy.

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, representatives from Texas Children’s Hospital Dental Division hosted two events at Main Campus to educate children and their families about proper dental hygiene.

“We want children and their families to know that dental health and hygiene are important even if you are in the hospital focusing on other issues,” said Pediatric Dentist Esther Yang. “We want to take this opportunity to teach them about these things in a fun, light-hearted way.”

The Dental Division at Texas Children’s Hospital provides a full range of routine and complex dental procedures for pediatric patients. We provide dental treatment to children with special needs or complex medical diagnoses requiring coordination of care between our dental team and their subspecialist.

The Dental Surgery Division also provides dental procedures that are necessary to allow patients to continue their other health care needs or to ensure their annual dental needs are met.

Our dentists work in close concert with many of the surgical and medical divisions at Texas Children’s Hospital, including Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Texas Children’s Heart Center to provide the highest level of patient care. Dental patients may be treated as outpatients, inpatients or in the operating rooms.


Dr. Steve Abrams, Neonatology Fellowship Program Director, congratulates Dr. Sudeepta Basu, third-year fellow, the 20th annual Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds award recipient. The award recognizes third-year fellows in neonatal-perinatal medicine for outstanding teaching, patient care, scientific inquiry and professional integrity.