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Boys Town National Research Hospital Receives NIH HEAL Initiative Grant to Address the Opioid Epidemichttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/Grant-to-Research-Opioid-ImpactsBoys Town National Research Hospital Receives NIH HEAL Initiative Grant to Address the Opioid Epidemic2019-10-10T05:00:00Z<p>​​Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha NE,​​ has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $552,000 as part of its Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or the NIH HEAL Initiative. Boys Town Hospital is one of 29 sites that will be taking part in the HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study (HBCD) as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative.  </p><p>The HBCD Study will establish a large cohort of pregnant women from regions of the country that have been significantly affected by the opioid crisis and follow them and their children for at least 10 years. Findings from this cohort will help researchers understand normative childhood brain development as well as the long-term impact of prenatal and postnatal opioid and other drug and environmental exposures. Boys Town Hospital has a long history of working with children and families dealing with sensitive health issues and is uniquely suited to help with this important research. </p><p>Led by James Blair, Ph.D.—Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair in Neurobehavioral Research and Director, Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children—Boys Town Hospital researchers will be investigating the impact of pre-natal exposure to opioids on brain, cognition and hearing development using a variety of imaging, behavioral testing and advanced statistics. According to Dr. Blair, “Children exposed to prenatal and postnatal drug abuse face considerable difficulties. To help these children, we need to understand how this exposure affects brain development. The HBCD study is an unprecedented opportunity to achieve this goal.”</p><p>According to Dr. Blair, “Recent work has told us much about how the first few years of life are a period of exponential brain growth and development. However, the effects of early exposure to opioids on normal infant and child development are unknown.”</p><p>The NIH launched the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The NIH HEAL Initiative has multiple focus areas and aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.</p><p>“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”</p><div><h2>About Boys Town National Research Hospital</h2><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital offers a broad range of hospital and clinic services, backed by 40 years of life-changing research to provide the latest, most innovative care to our patients. The Hospital is internationally recognized as a leader in hearing research and clinical care and is leading research efforts in language and neuroscience to improve the lives of children and families across America.</p>​<br></div>
The Vocal Development Landmarks Interview Helps Clinicians and Families Track Vocal Developmental Milestoneshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/vocal-development-landmarks-interviewThe Vocal Development Landmarks Interview Helps Clinicians and Families Track Vocal Developmental Milestones2019-09-18T05:00:00Z<div class="embed-container">​​​ <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AckEv3CcXtI" width="560" height="330" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div> ​ <p>Monitoring how babies progress through the early stages of vocal development is important for professionals and families, especially when infants have developmental challenges, such as cerebral palsy, hearing loss, down syndrome, cleft palate, or other special needs. It is essential that children who are at risk for speech and language delays are identified as early as possible so interventions can be tailored to minimize developmental risk. Drs. Mary Pat Moller and Sophie Ambrose at Boys Town National Research Hospital, along with Dr. Anne Thomas of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, developed the Vocal Development Landmarks Interview (VDLI) for this purpose. </p><p>They recognized that the best way for professionals to monitor an infants' vocal development is to ask the parents about the child's vocal productions. However, they also realized that a better tool was needed to allow professionals to do that. The VDLI is a parent-report instrument for infants and young children who are not developmentally ready to cooperate with more structured testing [1]. It incorporates what has been learned from years of laboratory-based observations about the orderly stages of vocal development that babies go through and involves parents as the best resource for understanding if their child is meeting these vocal milestones. </p><p>The VDLI design uses a series of digital slides with audio files containing authentic infant vocalizations to ensure parents know exactly what vocal behavior the professional is asking them to report on. The vocal behaviors are also arranged in developmental order, beginning with those typically observed by 6 months of age and ending with those typically observed by 21 months of age.</p><p>According to Dr. Ambrose, “The feedback we've gotten is that the tool really helps both parents and clinicians learn about behaviors to watch for and which behaviors to encourage the development of next in early intervention." She also indicated that clinicians reported wanting a tool that was easy to use with families in homes, which led the team to collaborate with the Technology Core at Boys Town National Research Hospital to create the VDLI as an iOS App that allows for maximum accessibility and portability. For more information on the VDLI, watch the included video in this article or access their recent publication cited below. For help with downloading the app and its related resources, you can contact Dr. Ambrose at sophie.ambrose@boystown.org. </p><h1>References</h1><ol><li>Moeller, M. P., Thomas, A. E., Oleson, J., & Ambrose, S. E. (2019). Validation of a parent report tool for monitoring early vocal stages in infants. <em>Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62</em>(7), 2245–​2257. <a href="https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-S-18-0485&c=E%2c1%2cTyO9MT8ZeqKqTirqyM4xKxHff156PQsvhkojUIsEvKRTjCOZGYRCZtCYAtis0fB9fSOCsaPzhZ99XRXf3PmhDNSRbXQqOfmSbvP7fua6hmyPH2ofJQ%2c%2c&typo=1">https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-S-18-0485</a>​<br></li></ol>​​​​ <br>
Trauma-Informed Care is Critical for Youth Needing Residential Serviceshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/trauma-informed-care-critical-for-youthTrauma-Informed Care is Critical for Youth Needing Residential Services2019-08-26T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​​​​​Repeated exposure to trauma is extremely common for youth that end up in residential programs. Exposure to trauma changes these kids, <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/news/abuse-maltreatment-affect-brain-development"> even altering their brain development [1], </a>in ways that affect their responses to many aspects of their environment, including how they will respond to those people who are attempting to help them. In some cases, this means that attempts to treat kids unintentionally ends up traumatizing them further.</p><p>Boys Town, however, uses a trauma-informed car​e model that takes past trauma exposure into account in order to prevent the treatment from causing additional trauma. Additionally, Boys Town developed a screening instrument to identify possible symptoms youth may have related to past trauma [2]. Boys Town clinicians use this information to determine the supports and services youth need to help them heal. While this approach is widely accepted as the recommended approach for improving care in residential programs, research is also needed to support existing practices and to help us further improve how we take care of at-risk kids.</p><p>To help understand the benefits of our trauma-informed model, researchers at Boys Town, led by Patrick Tyler, Ph.D., recently conducted a study examining records for 1,096 youth from 9 to 18 years old who received Boys Town services. Their goals were to assess how trauma was associated with behavioral incidents, as well as the effects of trauma on psychological health at intake and when youth discharged from our program. [3]</p><p>Among the discoveries from their study, the researchers found that trauma symptoms were the best predictor of emotional problems and self-injury. Additionally, girls had higher rates of self-injurious behaviors than boys, whereas boys had higher rates of conduct problems at intake than girls in this study. Younger children also had higher rates of disruptive behavior compared to older children.</p><p>This study also showed that boys and girls who were grouped into either high or low trauma categories responded favorably to the trauma-informed program. Overall decreases were observed in disruptive and self-injurious incidents while in care, as well as conduct and emotional problems from intake to discharge for all of the groups. However, youth whom clinicians identified as having lower levels of trauma did have greater decreases in emotional problems.</p><p>A primary goal of Dr. Tyler’s team for this study was to determine how well the trauma-informed model has been working for youth that receive Boys Town services. Future studies will build on this by looking at best practices for incorporating trauma screening and assessment into the admission process in order to plan and provide the most effective care for our youth. Research is currently ongoing to identify strategies that can help youth with higher levels of trauma make even greater improvement.</p><h2>References<br></h2><ol><li>Blair K.S., Aloi J., Crum K., et. al. (2019) <em>Association of Different Types of Childhood Maltreatment With Emotional Responding and Response Control Among Youths</em> 2019 <strong>2</strong>(5). JAMA Netw Open.</li><li>Tyler, P.M., Mason, W.A., Chmelka, M.B., et. al. (2019) <em>Psychometrics of a Brief Trauma Symptom Screen for Youth in residential care</em> Journal of Traumatic Stress. doi: 10.1002/jts.22442. </li><li>Tyler P.M., Patwardan I., Ringle J.L., et. al., (2019) <em> <a href="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_docs/Trauma-Informed_Group_Homes_Tyler_et_al._2019.pdf"> Youth Needs at Intake into Trauma-Informed Group Homes ​and Response to Services: An Examination of Trauma Exposure, Symptoms, and Clinical Impression​</a>.</em> doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12364. Am J Community Psychol</li><ol></ol></ol>
Boys Town National Research Hospital and Shriners Healthcare for Children Collaborate through Telehealth and Outreach Clinic Location; First in Nebraskahttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-shriners-collaborationBoys Town National Research Hospital and Shriners Healthcare for Children Collaborate through Telehealth and Outreach Clinic Location; First in Nebraska2019-08-08T05:00:00Z<p>​​Boys Town National Research Hospital announces a collaboration with Shriners Healthcare for Children of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to help provide greater access to orthopaedic care for children across Nebraska and surrounding areas.</p><p>There are currently more than 500 patients from Nebraska who travel to Minneapolis on a regular basis to be seen at Shriners Healthcare for Children — Twin Cities. The goal of this collaboration is to make care provided by Shriners Healthcare for Children's specialty pediatric orthopaedic more convenient for these families and to provide additional access services to them through the wide range of expertise available at Boys Town National Research Hospital.  </p><p>This collaboration includes several initiatives:</p><ul><li><strong>Telehealth</strong> – Boys Town Hospital is a new telehealth location for Shriners Healthcare, and will provide an opportunity for patients in Nebraska and beyond to receive consultations from physicians at Twin Cities Shriners Healthcare, without the added travel to Minneapolis. </li><li><strong>Regular outreach clinics</strong> – Shriners Healthcare will hold outreach clinics located at Boys Town Hospital. At these clinics, pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, nurses, pediatric orthotic and prosthetic (POPS) staff, and support staff from Shriners Healthcare will travel to Boys Town Hospital to provide face-to-face care to patients. The staff at Boys Town Hospital will provide support and additional care for patients, particularly radiology services, if needed.<br> <br></li></ul><p>“We are excited and energized by this opportunity to work closely together to provide care for more children. Each organization has unique capabilities that when joined in collaboration allow us to reach and serve more children across the Nebraska region. Our missions are very much aligned," said Charles Lobeck, Shriners Healthcare for Children — Twin Cities Administrator.​<br><br></p><p><strong>BTNRH & Shriners Healthcare for Children cont. </strong></p><p> </p><p>“This alignment with Shriners Healthcare on orthopaedic services is another example of our hospital being a community resource for Omaha and the surrounding area," said Edward Kolb, M.D., MBA, Director and Chief Medical Officer at Boys Town National Research Hospital. “More children and families will have greater access to care and when that happens, we all win." </p><p>Shriners Healthcare for Children has been treating children from Nebraska since it opened in 1923.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>About Shriners Healthcare for Children:</strong> </p><p><em>The primary mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children is to help children who need specialized medical care - wherever they may live. Although our locations are primarily in North America, our compassionate health care system has treated children from more than 150 countries, and conducts more than 100 medical outreach clinics outside of the U.S. every year. Our highly-skilled medical teams treat children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other complex health care needs. To learn more, please visit </em><a href="http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/"><em>www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. </em></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>About Boys Town National Research Hospital:</strong></p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital offers a broad range of hospital and clinic services, backed by 40 years of life-changing research to provide the latest, most innovative care to our patients. The Hospital is internationally recognized as a leader in hearing research and clinical care and is leading research efforts in language and neuroscience to improve the lives of children and families across America. ​<br></p><p><br></p>
Functional Brain Imaging Shows How Maltreatment Affects Brain Developmenthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/abuse-maltreatment-affect-brain-developmentFunctional Brain Imaging Shows How Maltreatment Affects Brain Development2019-06-20T05:00:00Z<p>Boys Town is recognized as a world leader in caring for kids in trouble, many of whom have been subjected to childhood trauma. Boys Town National Research Hospital is also home to research investigating the impacts of maltreatment on developing brains. Karina Blair, Ph.D. and her team at Boys Town Hospital recently published a paper titled, <em>Association of Different Types of Childhood Maltreatment</em><em> </em> <em>With</em><em> Emotional Responding and Response Control Among Youths</em> [1] that examines some of these issues. </p><p style="text-align:left;">Specifically, the authors looked at measures of brain function and behavior for 116 young people from 10–18 years of age who reported and rated their personal experiences with different types of abuse and neglect. The children and adolescents were either enrolled in Boys Town programs or from the surrounding community, and their families gave consent to the study with the option to withdraw at any time. The kids' brain activity was monitored while they performed a number counting task in the presence of distracting emotional images. This allowed Dr. Blair to determine the association of different forms of maltreatment on brain systems critical for task performance as well as emotional responding.  </p><p style="text-align:left;">The main findings of this study were the association of abuse, rather than neglect—at least, within this group of participants—with both difficulties with response control and heightened emotional responding.  Moreover, physical abuse was particularly associated with heightened threat responding. Sexual abuse was associated with a cascade of difficulties that were present even after the influence of other forms of maltreatment was statistically accounted for (Figure 1). </p> <img src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/brainMRI.png" alt="Brain MRI" /> <p> <strong>Figure 1. The anterior cingulate region of the brain is importantly involved in emotional processing and shows overly increased responding in kids who have suffered sexual abuse. </strong>The colored areas in this image show the regions showing greater responding in kids who have suffered sexual abuse relative to those who have not.  The “hotter" the color, the more overly responding the region. </p><p style="text-align:left;"> </p><p style="text-align:left;">These findings are important because we know these kids need help. They may find themselves in dangerous situations and sometimes legal trouble.  We need to understand exactly what problems they face. Understanding their brain level-difficulties are part of the picture.  Moreover, the findings of this work suggest that maltreatment may have different impacts according to the form of maltreatment.  Indeed, sexual abuse may be associated with particularly severe brain-level difficulties.  Potential findings such as these may become the basis for assessing treatment success at the level of the individual. For a much more detailed description of their findings <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2734074" target="_blank"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">see the article in JAMA Network Open</span></a> [1]. </p> <p>References </p><ol><li>Blair KS1, Aloi J2, Crum K3, Meffert, et. al. (2019) <em>Association of Different Types of Childhood Maltreatment </em> <em>With</em><em> Emotional Responding</em><em> </em> <em>and Response Control Among Youths</em>, 2019 <strong>2</strong>(5). JAMA Netw Open.  </li></ol>
Discussing the Neuroscience of Kids Facing Adult Justice Systemhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/discussing-the-neuroscience-of-kids-facing-adult-justice-systemDiscussing the Neuroscience of Kids Facing Adult Justice System2019-06-12T05:00:00Z<p>The adult criminal justice system is often charged with determining the appropriate response to young children who have done bad things. However, these young child offenders are often also victims of abuse, pre-natal drug exposure and neglect. Trauma may change the brain's response to stressful situations and alter the child's ability to control unwanted behaviors. Courts must weigh these circumstances when considering whether the child should be charged as an adult.</p><p>Boys Town researchers are working to understand typical brain development as well as how this may be altered by stress using behavioral assessment tools and functional neuroimaging. In addition, for more than 100 years, Boys Town has been helping at risk youth and their families to change outcomes for the better. This combined experience puts us in an ideal position to provide judges with information relevant to their decisions about what to do with kids who end up in their courtrooms.</p><p>In partnership with the National Courts and Science Institute, Boys Town recently hosted a Neuroscience and the Law Workshop. Led by James Blair, Ph.D., Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair for Neurobehavioral Research at Boys Town National Research Hospital, the judges were given an overview of current science on brain development and childhood trauma. In addition, judges and Boys Town staff held round table discussions covering case examples and how current knowledge may be applicable to judicial decision making. The judges were given a tour of facilities and technologies they may hear about in cases, and what those technologies can and cannot tell us about developing brains and mental health.</p><p>Advocating for youth, including those who end up in the criminal justice system but might be better served by therapy and intervention, is part of Boys Town's mission to help at risk youth. We appreciate the participation of the judges and hope that this meeting will be a model for future workshops as new discoveries are made.</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5sXkqRfThlk?rel=0" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>​
Findings on Safe Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential Testing in Children https://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/findings-on-safe-vestibular-evoked-myogenic-potential-testing-in-childrenFindings on Safe Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential Testing in Children 2019-06-11T05:00:00Z<p>The vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) test is something you may encounter if you or a family member are experiencing issues with balance or dizziness. The VEMP is a non-invasive test that uses short, intense sound stimuli to produce a muscle reflex in the eye or neck muscles. The muscle reflex is recorded with surface electrodes that attach to the skin over the muscle. The test specifically informs clinicians about the health of vestibular components of the balance system—the utricle and saccule organs of the inner ear (Figure 1).<br></p><p style="text-align:center;"> <img class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="inner-ear-v2.jpg" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/inner-ear-v2.jpg" style="margin:auto;width:340px;height:268px;" />  </p> <strong style="font-size:0.87em;">Figure 1. Diagram of the inner ear. </strong> <span style="font-size:0.87em;">The inner ear in humans contains the auditory and balance systems. The utricle, saccule and semi-circular canals are central components of the balance system and process information about the head's position and movement in space. The cochlea is a central component of the auditory system.</span> <div> <span style="font-size:12.25px;"><br></span><span style="font-size:0.87em;"></span> <p>In children, VEMP responses are correlated with development of standing, walking, and posture control [1, 2]. Children with impaired vestibular function are more likely to achieve these milestones at a later age [3], and can benefit from rehabilitation.</p><p>While the VEMP test is used with children, most of what we know about the test is from research and clinical experience with adults. It is not uncommon for doctors to need to rely information from adults for pediatric procedures but, because children are physically different, this can come with risks. For the VEMP test, there is some risk that the intensity of sound stimuli used for testing in adults is too loud in children and can damage the specialized cells in the ear that are crucial for hearing in children. It's also possible that children will respond better to different frequencies of sound than adults.</p><p>Understanding how the balance system works and develops is the focus of Kristen Janky, Ph.D, in her Vestibular and Balance Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital. In a recent paper, Janky and Amanda Rodriguez explored optimum conditions for completing VEMP testing in children and young adults. They found that young children, ages 4–9, required significantly lower sound levels to elicit normal VEMP responses compared to adolescents or young adults. However, they found that there were no differences in response to the standard 500 Hz and 750 Hz frequencies that are used in testing [4].</p><p> <strong>TABLE 1. Mean (SD) VEMP thresholds at 500 Hz and 750 Hz for adults, adolescents, and children.</strong></p><table class="ms-rteTable-default" width="100%" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:20%;"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:20%;"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>500 Hz</strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:20%;">​</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:20%;"> <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>750 Hz</strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:20%;">​</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> </td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Mean <br>(dB SPL)</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Standard Deviation<br> (dB SPL)</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Mean <br>(dB SPL)</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Standard Deviation<br> (dB SPL)</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Cervical VEMP Threshold<br> Response (dB SPL)</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Adults</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>111.5</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>3.25</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>112</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>2.61</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Adolescents</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">107.5</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">4.85</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">109.5</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">3.68</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Children</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>106</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>4.63</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>106</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>3.91</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Ocular VEMP Threshold Response (dB SPL)</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong> </strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Adults</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>116</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>3.94</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>117</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>3.49</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Adolescents</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">112.5</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">4.81</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">114.5</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">2.83</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Children</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>111.1</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>4.10</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>112.2</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"> <strong>4.17</strong></td></tr></tbody></table><p> <em>Bold values represent significant differences. Children showed lower cervical and ocular VEMP thresholds compared to adults.</em></p><p>This research will help children by providing guidelines for safe VEMP testing in children, and keeping children's ears safe from possible injury. Experienced audiologists will already be careful with the ears of their young patients, but this knowledge will give them a better testing range, and information about what is normal responsiveness. For additional experiments, details and the authors' conclusions check out their paper, <em>Air-Conducted Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential Testing in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: Thresholds, Frequency Tuning, and Effects of Sound Exposure</em>.</p><p>Thanks to the research volunteers for this study. Our volunteers included 10 children, ages 4–9, 10 adolescents, ages 10–19, and 10 young adults, ages 20–29.</p><h2>References<br></h2><ol><li>Wiener-Vacher, S.R., F. Toupet, and P. Narcy, <em>Canal and otolith vestibulo-ocular reflexes to vertical and off vertical axis rotations in children learning to walk.</em> Acta Otolaryngol, 1996. <strong>116</strong>(5): p. 657-65.</li><li>Wang, S.J., W.S. Hsieh, and Y.H. Young, <em>Development of ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials in small children.</em> Laryngoscope, 2013. <strong>123</strong>(2): p. 512-7.</li><li>Inoue, A., et al., <em>Effect of vestibular dysfunction on the development of gross motor function in children with profound hearing loss.</em> Audiol Neurootol, 2013. <strong>18</strong>(3): p. 143-51.</li><li>Rodriguez, A.I., M.L.A. Thomas, and K.L. Janky, <em>Air-Conducted Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential Testing in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: Thresholds, Frequency Tuning, and Effects of Sound Exposure.</em> Ear Hear, 2019. <strong>40</strong>(1): p. 192-203.</li></ol></div>
Changing the Way America Cares for Children with Asthmahttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/changing-the-way-america-cares-for-children-with-asthmaChanging the Way America Cares for Children with Asthma2019-05-06T05:00:00Z<p>Kevin Murphy, M.D., Allergist and Pediatric Pulmonologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, gave the keynote presentation at the American Lung Association’s Richard Cushing, M.D., Memorial Medical Lecture in Minneapolis on May 7, 2019. His presentation, <em>A New Era in Asthma Management in Preschool Children</em>, focused on the updated guidelines for uncontrollable asthma in children called the Pediatric Asthma Yard Stick, which he co-authored and co-developed with nine physicians and researchers across the country in 2018.</p><p>“It’s an honor to be selected among my peers to present at the Richard Cushing Memorial Lecture,” said Dr. Murphy. “This was a wonderful opportunity to share the new guidelines in asthma care to an influential group of physicians and providers who will help disseminate this information and provide the latest, most innovative care for children with uncontrollable asthma.” </p><p>The lecture is an invitation-only event for pulmonary and allergy physicians and healthcare professionals in the asthma community. Keynote speakers are experts chosen based on their contributions to the field of allergy and asthma. </p><p>Dr. Richard Cushing is known for founding Camp Superkids, a week-long camp to help build self-esteem and confidence in kids with asthma while educating them and their families on how to better manage their disease. The camp first opened in Minnesota and has since expanded to Nebraska and South Dakota.</p><p>Dr. Murphy was president of the American Lung Association – Nebraska Chapter and was involved in the Nebraska Camp Superkids. He is nationally recognized for contributions to the Pediatric Asthma Yard Stick and for his position as the lead author of the TRACK tool, which is used to assess asthma control in children under 5 years of age. The TRACK tool has been translated in several languages for global accessibility. </p><p>We congratulate Dr. Murphy on his recognition as an expert in pediatric asthma and for his ongoing commitment to help change the way America cares for children and families. </p>
Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery Expansionhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/pediatric-surgery-expansionPediatric General and Thoracic Surgery Expansion2019-05-01T05:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town National Research Hospital is growing! We have expanded the care you have come to know and trust to include higher levels of hospital care for kids. We are pleased to introduce <a href="/services/hospital-care/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery">Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery</a> and welcome four board certified pediatric general surgeons.</p><p>Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery specializes in the diagnosis, preoperative, operative and postoperative management of general to highly-specialized surgical problems in infants, children and adolescents. </p><p>"We're pleased to announce the addition of pediatric general and thoracic surgery at Boys Town National Research Hospital," said Edward Kolb, M.D., MBA, Director and Chief Medical Officer at Boys Town National Research Hospital. "Pediatric general and thoracic surgery complements our existing pediatric specialty and surgical care and will help us care for even more children and families."</p><p>Pediatric general surgeons have extra years of training specifically in children's surgery and additional certifications ​to care for the unique needs of a growing child. </p><p>Click below to learn more about the new service and meet our surgeons. </p><p class="has-text-centered"> <a href="/services/hospital-care/pediatric-general-thoracic-surgery" class="button is-primary has-text-weight-semibold">Pediatric General and ​Thoracic Surgery</a></p>
NIH awards $11 Million Grant to Boys Town National Research Hospital to Study Communication and Perception in Childrenhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/nih-grant-awarded-communication-researchNIH awards $11 Million Grant to Boys Town National Research Hospital to Study Communication and Perception in Children2019-04-16T05:00:00Z<p>Boys Town National Research Hospital has received an $11 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). </p><p>The five-year Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant is set to expand the range of existing, highly successful research programs at the Boys Town National Research Hospital and tackle more complex issues that directly address the problems encountered by children with hearing loss.</p><p>Core research programs covered by the grant will investigate issues related to: </p><ul><li>Speech understanding for young listeners with cochlear implants</li><li>Diagnosis and outcomes for children with otitis media, an inflammatory condition of the inner ear</li><li>Strategies used by children to overcome working memory limitations</li></ul><p>Related projects that will receive funding cover multiple labs and include, examining the impact of hearing loss in real-world environments like classrooms, the contributions of bottom-up and top-down processing in children learning English as a second language, how visual and auditory information work together in speech and language learning, and the consequences for visual processing of vestibular deficits associated with hearing loss.</p><p>Lori Leibold, Ph.D., is the primary investigator on the grant and Director of the Center for Hearing Research. Dr. Leibold notes that, "Our goal is to become the national leader for research on speech, language, hearing, and cognitive development in ​children with communication disorders. We believe we are close to achieving this goal, in large part due to this NIH award that has allowed us to grow our research program and provide the resources these young investigators need to be successful."</p><p>This is the second round of COBRE grant funding for Boys Town Hospital. The first $11.3 million grant was awarded in 2014 and has contributed to Boys Town Hospital recruiting several world-class senior scientists, hosting more than 60 experts from around the country for research talks, sparking many new collaborations. The 2014 grant also established a state-of-the-art Auditory-Visual Core facility that supports research using techniques such as augmented and virtual reality.</p><p>"Scientists and other professionals supported by this grant are the next generation in the 40-year legacy of Boys Town Research," states Director of Research, Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., who also notes that "this additional five years of support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is recognition for the high-impact translational research that our scientists do every day. Their research has the potential to improve the lives of people with hearing and communication problems."</p><p>The new COBRE grant award will have lasting impacts on research in Nebraska and the surrounding region by providing mentoring and resources for the young investigators needed to sustain a thriving research community. The grant also includes a strategic sustainability and development plan for core facilities that expand the technical capabilities of individual labs at Boys Town National Research Hospital and collaborating institutions. The benefits of this grant will be far reaching for Boys Town and for Nebraska, supporting our scientific community and high-skill jobs in Omaha and beyond.​</p>
Chatterjee Group Study Published in Nature Scientific Reportshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/understanding-pitch-with-cochlear-implants-studyChatterjee Group Study Published in Nature Scientific Reports2019-02-08T06:00:00Z<p>​Monita Chatterjee, Ph.D., Director of Auditory Prostheses and Perception lab, recently co-authored an article published in Nature Scientific Reports. Dr. Chatterjee worked with collaborators in Canada, Taiwan and San Francisco to test children with cochlear implants on their ability to differentiate pitch inflections.<br></p><p>One downside of cochlear implants is that they don't adequately transmit pitch information, which can be problematic in languages where tone is crucial to comprehension.</p><p>In tone languages such as Mandarin Chinese, the lexical tone (pitch inflections within spoken syllables) can define a word. For example, the same word spoken with a rising or falling pitch might have very different meanings. Dr. Chatterjee's group set out to determine if native Mandarin-speaking children with cochlear implants have a greater sensitivity to changes in pitch compared to English-speaking children with cochlear implants. They hypothesized that immersion in a tone-language environment from birth would help the Mandarin-speaking children to process pitch changes better than English-speaking children in the US.</p><p>"Even for children who are implanted early, the adaptability of their brains to catch the differences in pitch is very limited," Dr. Chatterjee said. "It's a major device limitation."</p><p>Dr. Chatterjee and her collaborators tested 97 children in Taiwan and 97 children in the US on two pitch perception tasks. Each test group had both normal hearing children and children with cochlear implants.</p><p>"Compared to children speaking English in the US, children with normal hearing in Taiwan who speak a Mandarin showed an advantage in both tasks," Dr. Chatterjee said. "Children with cochlear implants who spoke Mandarin showed large deficits in both tasks, which was expected, but even they showed the tone-language advantage in labeling the changes in pitch."</p><p>Results of the study have concluded that the demands of a tonal language have helped Mandarin-speaking children with cochlear implants develop a better ability to determine pitch changes. While their ability is limited and the sound quality is still highly degraded, the results suggest that the natural training provided by one's native language can substantially affect young brains' ability to perceive sounds.</p><p> <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-36393-1">The full report can be read here.</a></p><p>According to their website, Nature Scientific Reports is a weekly international publication for peer-reviewed research in scientific and technological fields. The research is published based on originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions.<br></p><p> <br> </p>
Chatterjee Article Awarded as 2018 Technical Area Pickhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/musician-advantage-effect-studyChatterjee Article Awarded as 2018 Technical Area Pick2018-11-21T06:00:00Z<p>​The "musician advantage effect" is an auditory phenomenon used to explain how musicians can sometimes achieve better speech recognition in noisy backgrounds than non-musicians. A recent article co-authored by Monita Chatterjee, Ph.D., Director of the Auditory Prostheses and Perception Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital, titled <a href="https://asa.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1121/1.5005496"><em>Similar abilities of musicians and non-musicians to segregate voices by fundamental frequency</em></a><em> </em>was selected as the Technical Area Pick for Psychological and Physiological Acoustics. The article was chosen among all the articles from the same technical field published in the past year in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA).</p><p>It is not known what causes the "musician advantage", but one hypothesis is that it arises from better pitch processing by musicians, which might allow them to better track the target talker's voice and separate it out from competing talkers or background noise. The authors conducted a series of studies with musicians and non-musicians to test this hypothesis.</p><p>In these studies, they tested listeners' ability to detect target voices embedded in competing backgrounds. In addition, listeners heard a beeping tone with the same pitch as the target voice, presented before they heard the speech and designed to focus the listener's attention specifically to the target voice. In another case, the pitch of the tone was designed to deliberately mislead the listeners. If musicians benefit from pitch processing, they should show a stronger response to these helpful or confusing tones than non-musicians. The results confirmed the musician advantage, but did not show the predicted effects of manipulating the pitch cues. The authors concluded that the musicians' advantage in hearing speech in background noise does not in fact stem from a better ability to process the target speaker's voice pitch.</p><p>Dr. Chatterjee is the principal investigator and lab director of the <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/HearingResearch/Pages/AuditoryProsthesesAndPerceptionLaboratory.aspx">Auditory Prostheses and Perception Laboratory</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital. She also co-directs the Technology Core, as part of the <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/COBRE/Pages/default.aspx">Center for Perception and Communication in Children</a>. The primary goal of her research is to understand basic mechanisms underlying auditory and speech perception by individuals with normal hearing, hearing loss, and cochlear implants. Experiments include psychophysical measures of listeners' sensitivity to subtle differences between sounds, measures of listeners' sensitivity to speech intonation and lexical tone recognition, and the processing of degraded speech by the normal and impaired auditory system.<br></p><p><br></p>
Pediatric Physician To Lead Boys Town National Research Hospitalhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/leadership-announcement-edward-kolbPediatric Physician To Lead Boys Town National Research Hospital2018-11-06T06:00:00Z<p>​​Boys Town National Research Hospital has a new leader but the focus of the hospital remains – provide great patient care to families. On November 1,<sup> </sup>Edward Kolb, MD, MBA, will assume leadership responsibilities as Executive Vice President of Health Care at Boys Town and Director and Chief Medical Officer of Boys Town National Research Hospital and Medical Clinics.</p><p>Dr. Kolb is board certified in Pediatrics and board certified in Anesthesiology with a subspecialty certification in Pediatric Anesthesiology. In addition to his leadership position, Dr. Kolb will continue to serve with the first title he earned many years ago – physician.</p><p>“It's all about the patients," said Dr. Kolb. “It's important to me to stay involved with the day-to-day practice of medicine because everything we do at Boys Town Hospital is about providing the best patient care."</p><p>Dr. Kolb has been a key member of Boys Town Hospital's executive leadership team since 2006, when he first joined the hospital as Medical Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital – West. Dr. Kolb vows to continue the hospital's commitment of pursuing innovative patient care and translating research to change the way America cares for children and families.</p><p>I want to continue and expand on what we have done really well for the past 40 years, and that is to deliver hope and healing to the families we serve," said Dr. Kolb. “We have a great team here at Boys Town National Research Hospital and I'm proud to be a part of it."</p><p>Dr. Kolb earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, having served on the executive board for the Nebraska Chapter of AAP from 2008-2010.<br></p><p><br></p>
Renovation at Boys Town Hospital Downtown Medical Campushttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/downtown-hospital-renovationRenovation at Boys Town Hospital Downtown Medical Campus2018-09-04T05:00:00Z<p>​​We are updating our hospital and clinics to provide better access to care for you and your family. <br></p><h2>Construction at Boys Town National Research Hospital Downtown</h2><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital and Medical Clinics have been serving patients and their families at 30th and​ California Streets for more than 40 years. We are remodeling our downtown hospital to better accommodate our patients and their families with: </p><ul><li>Additional patient parking</li><li>Convenient front door access for pick-up and drop-off</li><li>All medical clinics right inside the main entrance</li><li>Expanded clinic space and all new patient exam rooms<br></li><li>Adult primary care services now offered at this location<br></li></ul><p class="has-text-centered"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/hospital-rendering.jpg" alt="Hospital rendering" /> <br></p>​<br>
Understanding Brain Responses of Alcohol and Cannabis Abuse Disorders in Adolescentshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/understanding-brain-responses-of-alcohol-and-cannabis-abuse-disorders-in-adolescentsUnderstanding Brain Responses of Alcohol and Cannabis Abuse Disorders in Adolescents2018-08-15T05:00:00Z<p>​​​Across the country, many adolescents struggle with alcohol and cannabis abuse. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notes that alcohol use among teens is decreasing, still 3 out of 5 high school students have reported having a drink within the past 30 days, and 23% of high school seniors have used marijuana within the last month. Brain-imaging work by scientists at <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/CenterNeurobehavResearch/Pages/default.aspx">Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research</a> indicate that abuse of alcohol and cannabis can have lasting negative effects on a child's or teen's brain development.</p><p>Executive attention and response control are critical for impulse control.  They rely on regions at the front of the brain like dorsolateral frontal cortex and dorsomedial frontal cortex.  A recent study at Boys Town National Research Hospital shows a difference in function in these regions among youth with alcohol and cannabis substance abuse disorders. This study published in <em>Neuroimage Clinical</em>, titled, "Adolescents show differential dysfunctions related to Alcohol and Cannabis Use Disorder severity in emotion and executive attention neuro-circuitries." Adolescents reporting more severe substance abuse disorder symptoms, particularly those associated with alcohol abuse, show problems using these brain areas during response control.  This likely leads to further difficulties.  If these regions are not working well, an individual is less likely to control his/her impulses and may be more likely to abuse substances in the future. Behavior also generally becomes more impulsive.</p><p>Joseph Aloi, Ph.D., a research student at the Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research, led the study that investigated the brain's executive attention and response control systems in youth with varying levels of alcohol and cannabis use problems.  The study used an MRI machine to measure youths' brain responses during a type of response control task and then related this information to their levels of alcohol and cannabis problems. </p><p>The findings from the study are important for several reasons.  First, they show that substance abuse problems in adolescents are associated with demonstrable brain level-difficulties, which may require intervention to improve function.  Second, the findings reinforce the importance of considering a person's substance abuse history.  Brain-level difficulties associated with alcohol abuse disorder may require specific intervention strategies.  Third, the data suggests that we might assess substance abuse treatment success, not only by abstinence, but also whether these brain-level difficulties have been reduced.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This work is a first step in our goal to improve the care of children with substance abuse. By better understanding how substance abuse affects brain function, Boys Town scientists can develop better interventions and treatments to help more children.  To follow the progress of this work, please see our website at boystownhospital.org/research. <br></p><p><br></p>
Research Helps Target Behavioral Interventions for Aggressive Youthhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/behavioral-interventions-aggressive-youthResearch Helps Target Behavioral Interventions for Aggressive Youth2018-08-09T05:00:00Z<p>​​​Across the county, many adolescents struggle with disruptive behavior ranging from aggression or rage toward others to outbursts in the classroom. These behaviors appear similar, but a recent brain-imaging study at Boys Town National Research Hospital suggests a youth's prior exposure to abuse or neglect may impact the way that youth emotionally responds to the pain of others. </p><p>"If you could not empathize with another's pain or distress, you would be less concerned by hurting another individual," said <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/Faculty/Pages/Blair-James.aspx" data-ytta-id="-">James Blair, Ph.D.</a>, Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair in Neurobehavioral Research at Boys Town National Research Hospital. "Empathy can act as a barrier against aggressive behavior."</p><p>The study, published in <em>Psychological Medicine</em>, is titled "Moderation of prior exposure to trauma on the inverse relationship between callous-unemotional traits and amygdala responses to fearful expressions: an exploratory study."</p><p>Previous research by Blair showed many adolescents with disruptive behavior have problems expressing empathy and guilt, which means they have difficulty emotionally responding to the distress of others. This background led researchers at Boys Town Hospital to explore the relationship of past traumatic experiences, such as abuse and neglect, with emotional responses, such as empathy and guilt.<br></p><p> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/Faculty/Pages/Harma-Meffert.aspx" data-ytta-id="-">Harma Meffert, Ph.D.</a>, scientist at the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/neurobehavioral" data-ytta-id="-">Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research</a>, led a study that investigated how the amygdala (brain region central to empathy) responds to distress in others in youth with varying levels of prior trauma. The study used an MRI machine to measure youths' brain responses to fearful expressions in others.  The youth also filled out a questionnaire and received a psychological interview on prior traumatic events (abuse and neglect).<br></p><p>The study indicated that not everyone showing the behavioral signs of reduced empathy/guilt also shows the brain signs of reduced empathy/guilt.  In particular, youth that are exposed to significant prior trauma do not show the brain signs of reduced empathy/guilt, despite similar behavioral signs of reduced empathy/guilt.<br> </p><p>The findings revealed results that may help map new behavioral interventions.  </p><ol><li>The data suggests that not all youth with disruptive disorder face the same difficulty – and therefore need different interventions.  </li><li>The data reinforced the importance of considering an individual's trauma history. As other work by this Boys Town research team is beginning to show, trauma has a very negative impact on brain development. </li><li>The data indicates that behavioral symptoms alone may not be sufficient to accurately guide treatment decisions. </li></ol><p style="text-align:justify;">Currently, all youth with problems in expressing empathy and guilt receive the same interventions. Mental health assessments mostly rely on observed behaviors and information the patient and their family share with the clinician. This makes it difficult to tell apart an individual who is aggressive because they are prone to rage and another individual who uses aggression, including anger outbursts, to achieve their goals.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The work by Boys Town Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children is a first step in our goal to improve the care of children with emotional and behavioral problems by developing better assessments in order to find the best interventions for each child individually. <br></p>
Christopher Conway, Ph.D. joins Language Research Team at Boys Town National Research Hospitalhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/conway-language-researchChristopher Conway, Ph.D. joins Language Research Team at Boys Town National Research Hospital2018-08-03T05:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town Hospital continues to expand its communication research to include language learning and development for all children. The Hospital's Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning is pleased to announce Christopher Conway, Ph.D., will be joining the team on August 8.<br></p><p>Having spent his career in the academic setting, most recently as an Associate Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University, Dr. Conway will lead the Brain, Learning, and Language Laboratory, focusing on the brain's ability to process speech and language.</p><p>"I'm very excited to be able to focus full-time on research," said Dr. Conway. "Our research will help us understand the processes and mechanisms of language acquisition and will have a real impact on helping children who experience a language delay or have a communication disorder."</p><p>Dr. Conway and his research team will be working on many initial studies including neuromodulation – directly stimulating brain networks to help facilitate children's language learning.</p><p>"There is some research to suggest that such neuromodulation techniques can help stimulate plasticity in the brain, allowing it to be more adaptive and better able to learn complex patterns of information in the environment," said Dr. Conway. "Our lab will have such neuromodulation capabilities and will allow us to start investigating the possible benefits this could have on the brain's ability to learn language and other complex domains."<br></p><p><br></p>
Announcing First Endowed Research Chair at Boys Town National Research Hospitalhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/endowed-research-chairAnnouncing First Endowed Research Chair at Boys Town National Research Hospital2018-01-16T06:00:00Z<p>​Boys Town National Research Hospital has received a gift of $2 million to establish the Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair for the Center of Neurobehavioral Research, to support and expand efforts to improve the lives of children with behavioral and mental health problems.</p><p>This is the first endowed research chair at Boys Town Hospital. It has been created as part of the organization's ongoing commitment to enhance translational pediatric neuroscience research – meaning discoveries found by researchers in the lab are directly applied to improve outcomes in behavioral healthcare. </p><p> "We are truly grateful for Susan and George's deep understanding and compassion toward helping children in need of behavioral and mental health care, and for their generous contribution that will help sustain neuroscience research at Boys Town Hospital for many years to come," said John Arch, Hospital Director and Executive Vice President of Health Care at Boys Town.  "I am pleased to announce Dr. James Blair will be appointed to the Susan and George Haddix Endowed Chair for Neurobehavioral Research."</p><p>Dr. Blair, Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children, joined Boys Town Hospital in August 2016, after 12 years at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is internationally recognized for his contributions toward better understanding conduct disorders in children and adolescents by using brain imaging technology to study behavioral traits.</p><p>"I am honored to be appointed to this prestigious position and grateful that the need for this research is being recognized," said Blair. "Our work is just beginning. What we uncover today can be applied to new studies tomorrow, in hopes that one day we will know how to help all children who have behavioral and mental health problems."</p><p>Childhood behavioral and mental health problems, if left untreated, have profound implications for the individuals as well as society. The goal of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research is to understand what is physiologically happening in the brain of a troubled child so that the right interventions can be applied for that individual child. This research moves beyond mere observation of behaviors to developing scientific ways of diagnosing and treating problems like depression, anxiety, aggression and ADHD.</p><p>"I was excited to hear of the neuroscience research at Boys Town Hospital," said Susan Haddix. "To me, the real problem is that we expect a troubled child to function the same as a child without behavioral concerns. This research is going to look deeper into understanding why children are having these problems. Then, one at a time, we will know how to help each child and family, and in doing so, make a real change."</p><p>Susan has been actively working to help troubled children and adolescents in the Omaha community for more than 20 years. She has been a long-time volunteer with Child Saving Institute and currently serves on their Board of Directors. She also has been serving on the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board for 20 years and was recently appointed to serve on their newly formed Probation Review Board. This spring, Susan will join the Boys Town National Board of Trustees, serving on the national youth care committee.</p><p>George Haddix, Ph.D., has been a prominent leader in computer engineering and software, having served as CEO for PKWare Inc., Applied Communications, CSG Systems International and US West.</p><p>The new era of neurobehavioral research couples George's interest in science and technology with Susan's passion to help children and families.</p><p> "We're proud to help this new endeavor at Boys Town Hospital," said Haddix. "This research is ground-breaking and shows great promise that the emotional and behavioral problems that stem from childhood neglect and abuse don't have to be a lifetime diagnosis. We can make a difference and change the future for these vulnerable children."</p><p>As benefactors of the first endowed research chair at Boys Town Hospital, Susan and George Haddix hope to influence others to give. Ongoing support will help Boys Town Hospital continue to lead the charge in neurobehavioral research and improve the lives of children with behavioral and mental health disorders. </p>
Neuroscientist Expands Research To Study PTSDhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/neuroscientist-studies-ptsdNeuroscientist Expands Research To Study PTSD2017-10-24T05:00:00Z<p> Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder that effects an estimated 21 million Americans, including many adolescents. Of those 21 million cases, it is estimated that 30% of patients do not respond to treatment. PTSD can be challenging to treat, as its biology is not fully understood. </p><p>Stuart White, Ph.D., Director of the Decision-Making Program, is hoping to change that. </p><p>Dr. White has received a four-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the interaction between the neural and hormonal mechanisms implicated in children with PTSD in order to improve treatment methods. Current treatment strategies for pediatric PTSD do not consider the role of testosterone. </p><p>Utilizing the hospital's functional MRI, Dr. White will be analyzing both healthy adolescent patients and those with PTSD from within the Boys Town Residential Program. Both groups of youth will complete tasks in the fMRI designed to assess brain responses to threats in the environment and observe neural processes associated with emotion regulation. Each child will complete a series of tasks, which will either raise or not raise their testosterone level.  </p><p>"We know that PTSD involves changes in hormonal and neural responses, but we don't really understand how these systems work together," said White. "Better understanding the way different biological systems contribute to PTSD will give us more and better ways to help these youth."</p><p>Understanding the biological processes behind PTSD will be useful for cognitive behavioral therapies and different pharmacological treatments. </p><p>"There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle," said White. "This work will be an important step towards making sure that clinicians have all the tools to help youth with ​PTSD that we can give them." ​​</p><div class="embed-container"><iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y6USNpICfsw" frameborder="0"></iframe>​​</div>
Boys Town National Research Hospital Expands Communication Research to Help more Childrenhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/language-communication-researchBoys Town National Research Hospital Expands Communication Research to Help more Children2017-08-10T05:00:00Z<p>​For more than 40 years, Boys Town National Research Hospital has been internationally recognized for hearing research, education and clinical care. Starting this August, Boys Town Hospital is expanding its communication research to include language learning and development for all children. The Hospital's Center for Childhood Deafness program has been renamed Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning to reflect the new focus that will help more children and families.<br></p><p>Leading the charge is Karla McGregor, Ph.D., newly appointed senior scientist and director of the Word Learning Lab. McGregor joins Boys Town Hospital this August, after spending 12 years at the University of Iowa as a Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders.<br></p><p>“We are excited to welcome Dr. Karla McGregor to Boys Town Hospital," said John Arch, Hospital Director and Executive Vice President of Health Care at Boys Town. “Her experience and expertise in speech pathology will help guide the hospital's expansion of translational research in language development."​<br></p><p>McGregor was previously the director of the Word Learning Lab at the University of Iowa. The research of the Word Learning Lab focuses on how individuals learn, remember and use words, and how these functions can be supported for those who have developmental language disorders.<br></p><p>The work began at the University of Iowa and will continue at its original location and at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning when McGregor arrives at Boys Town Hospital.<br></p><p>“I want to spend some time listening to the clinicians at the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning to learn about the work they do and their visions for the future," McGregor said. “It's important to me to connect the clinical and research mission in ways that are meaningful and exciting to both parties."<br></p><p>Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning Director, Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D, shares McGregor's excitement in seeing the research go beyond deafness and address the needs of hearing children with developmental language disorders.<br></p><p>“I have long recognized that to serve children with hearing loss we must pay considerable attention to the theories and methods of child language researchers like Dr. McGregor," Moeller said. “I see this as a rare and special opportunity to collaborate with a giant in our field."<br></p><p>McGregor finished at the University of Iowa at the end of June and will begin work in the Word Learning Lab in August. Upon arrival, McGregor will be working with Moeller and Cathy Carotta, Ed.D., Associate Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning, to learn the administrative processes and procedures. McGregor will assume acting director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language and Learning in August 2018.<br></p><p>“As we grow our research programs, we are able to better serve our mission and change the way America cares for children, families and communities," said Arch.  <br><br></p><p><a href="http://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/health/boys-town-national-research-hospital-to-expand-focus-on-communication/article_030caf38-4abb-53a7-a6f3-53701f73c41a.html">Read the full article</a> <br></p><p><br></p>
Daniel Rasetshwane Awarded Great Plains IDeA-CTR Scholars Granthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/daniel-rasetshwane-awarded-grantDaniel Rasetshwane Awarded Great Plains IDeA-CTR Scholars Grant2017-07-21T05:00:00Z<p>​Daniel Rasetshwane, Ph.D., Director of the Auditory Signal Processing <br>Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital, has been awarded the Great Plains Institutional Development Award for Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) Scholars Program grant.</p><p>This program is administered through an National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) grant to the Great Plains IDeA-Clinical Translational Research (CTR) Network. The network is a collaborative effort between nine institutions in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Kansas designed to reach medically underserved populations and transform health delivery and outcomes in the Great Plains region.  Institutions in the network include University of Nebraska Medical Center, Boys Town National Research Hospital, University of Kansas Medical Center, North Dakota State University, University of North Dakota, University of South Dakota, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.</p><p>One of the primary goals of the program is to develop successful clinical and translational research (CTR) investigators. To achieve this goal, selected Scholars are provided with the protected time and seed grant funding to develop competitive CTR projects for submission to the NIH.  The award provides partial salary support and up to $50,000 annually to support preliminary research efforts for up to four years. This competitive Request for Application ( RFA) received an overwhelming response in which four scholars were chosen.</p><p>Dr. Rasetshwane's project focuses on a physiologically-based and technically rigorous approach to treating hearing loss. Rasetshwane states, “Many people with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids choose not to use them because of limited benefit and poor sound quality. We have developed a fitting algorithm that utilizes categorical loudness scaling data and a signal-processing algorithm that restores suppression (referred to as the suppression hearing aid), and evaluation of both algorithms resulted in promising outcomes. Ultimately, we believe that work from our laboratory will lead to improved quality in hearing aids and patient satisfaction with their use."<br><br>To learn more about the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network and our educational and funding opportunities, visit <a href="https://gpctr.unmc.edu/">https://gpctr.unmc.edu</a> or call our office at 402-552-2260.<br></p><p><br></p>
Research Aims to Improve Speech Perception Testing for Spanish Speaking Childrenhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/speech-perception-testing-spanish-speaking-childrenResearch Aims to Improve Speech Perception Testing for Spanish Speaking Children2017-06-27T05:00:00Z<p>​Speech perception testing is a critically important tool for assessing children's auditory skills, determining candidacy for sensory devices, and guiding language intervention. A large number of children in the US are raised in Spanish-speaking households (>15%), but speech perception testing is typically performed in English or omitted altogether, due to a lack of appropriate test materials and a shortage of Spanish-speaking audiologists. Moreover, speech perception testing is typically performed in quiet or in relatively steady state noise despite the prevalence of complex and time varying sounds in children's real-world listening environments. The proposed work will develop an easy-to-administer clinical test of speech perception, allowing audiologists (regardless of their language proficiency) to appropriately evaluate Spanish- and English-speaking children in both noise and two-talker backgrounds.</p><h2><strong>Specific Aims</strong></h2><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li> <strong><em>Aim 1: Refine test materials and streamline procedures</em></strong></li><li><strong><em>Aim 2: Establish reliability and validity across listener age and hearing status</em></strong></li><li><strong><em>Aim 3: Evaluate procedures in a clinical setting</em></strong></li></ul><p><strong>IMPACT:</strong> The research team assembled to carry out the proposed work includes expertise in basic hearing science, auditory development, speech perception, clinical research, bilingualism, biostatistics, language assessment, and audiology, ensuring the final produce will be a clinical instrument that is both rigorous and practical. The end result is expected to improve our ability to evaluate and thus treat hearing loss in children. </p><p><strong><em>Speech perception testing is one of the most important clinical tools we have for evaluating children's communication abilities.</em></strong><strong> </strong><strong><em>The current failure to comprehensively evaluate speech perception in bilingual children is a significant public health problem that restricts our ability to differentially diagnose auditory disorders, monitor performance over time, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in this population. </em></strong>Assessment and intervention resources for pediatric audiologists have fallen behind the rapidly changing demographics in the US. We are under both ethical and legal obligation to address this service gap: the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act specifies that children be assessed in their native language whenever feasible (<a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/News/Pages/Speech-Perception-Spanish-Speaking-Children.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ENREF_56">US Department of Education, 1997</a>).</p><p><strong><em>There is growing consensus that speech recognition performance in a complex speech masker is a better predictor of children's functional listening skills than performance in steady noise or multi-talker babble. </em></strong>Speech perception tests are typically administered in quiet, in relatively steady-state noise, or in multi-talker babble. Informational masking is widely believed to reflect a failure of higher-order auditory processes such as sound source segregation and selective attention; thus, inclusion of a complex speech masker provides an opportunity to tap into the perceptual and cognitive processes that underlie speech understanding in real-world environments containing complex and time-varying sounds (e.g., Hillock-Dunn et al. 2014). </p><h2><strong>Innovation</strong></h2><p><strong><em>The proposed work will yield a scientifically rigorous and clinically efficient test of children's English and Spanish speech perception. </em></strong><strong><em>The development of this speech perception tool takes into account the fact that most audiologists in the US are not fluent in Spanish.</em></strong>  The proposed clinical tool offers an innovative solution for audiologists with limited Spanish proficiency. Specifically, the audiologist administering the test does not need to speak the test language to obtain a valid score. The development of the present tool avoids these problems by using recorded materials for task instruction and stimulus familiarization, and asking children to respond by pointing to the picture associated with the target word. This general approach has been used with some success in the past to evaluate bilingual children's speech perception in quiet (e.g., Comstock and Martin, 1984); the present work is novel in that it evaluates<em>masked </em>speech perception with English and Spanish stimuli that are rigorously controlled and balanced across languages</p><p><strong><em>The proposed test will allow pediatric audiologists, for the first time, to characterize </em></strong><strong><em>speech-in-noise performance as well as functional hearing</em></strong><strong><em> in a two-talker masker.</em></strong> Completion of this work will yield a speech perception tool used to measure performance in the presence of speech-shaped noise or two-talker speech.</p><p><strong><em>Our approach of adapting masker level and using a closed-set response extends the range of ages and auditory abilities of children than can be tested using the same clinical test. </em></strong>Several features of the proposed speech perception measure facilitate its use with children spanning a wide range of ages and auditory skills. Closed-set word recognition reduces the impact of working memory and linguistic familiarity, which can impact sentence recognition (<a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/News/Pages/Speech-Perception-Spanish-Speaking-Children.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ENREF_32">e.g., memory or linguistic familiarity; Klem et al., 2015</a>). Limiting the set of alternative responses makes the task relatively easy (<a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/News/Pages/Speech-Perception-Spanish-Speaking-Children.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ENREF_43">Miller et al., 1951</a>), such that all but the most severely impaired children can perform the task in quiet, whereas adapting the masker level prevents ceiling effects in the best performers. The forced-choice, picture-pointing response eliminates scoring errors associated with speech production problems or non-native accents (<a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/News/Pages/Speech-Perception-Spanish-Speaking-Children.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ENREF_49">Ross and Lerman, 1970</a>;<a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/News/Pages/Speech-Perception-Spanish-Speaking-Children.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design#_ENREF_48">Rimikis et al., 2013</a>), and this type of task has been used successfully for evaluating monolingual English-speaking children as young as 4 years of age. <br></p><p><br></p>
Center for Neurobehavioral Research Awarded Granthttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/neurobehavioral-research-awarded-grantCenter for Neurobehavioral Research Awarded Grant2017-05-27T05:00:00Z<h2><strong>​Identification of neural and endocrinological biomarkers in posttraumatic stress disorder</strong></h2><p><a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/Faculty/Pages/Stuart-White.aspx">Dr. Stuart White, Ph.D.</a> has been awarded a Research Career Program grant from the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. White is the Director of the Decision-Making Research Program at Boys Town National Research Hospital's <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/CenterNeurobehavResearch/Pages/default.aspx">Center for Neurobehavioral Research</a>. The grant, totaling over $450,000 over 4 years, will examine the relationship between hormone levels and neural functioning in youth with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).</p><p>PTSD is associated with disruption in emotional response to threat cues and in emotion regulation, as well as increased levels of testosterone. Increased testosterone is associated with increased emotional response to threat cues in the environment and decreases in emotion regulation. However, the way in which the interactions between testosterone and neural functioning might contribute to PTSD is unclear.</p><p>The grant will fund Dr. White, an expert in neural dysfunction underpinning mental illness, to develop skills in hormone research sufficient to address this question. Upon completion of the grant, Dr. White will be well positioned to expand this approach to understanding other mental health and behavioral problems faced by youth, including youth served by the Boys Town Family Home Program and In-Home Family Services.<br></p><p><br></p>
Residential Treatment Center Expansionhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/residential-treatment-center-expansionResidential Treatment Center Expansion2017-05-22T05:00:00Z<p>More than 100 people were present for the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 18. Guided tours were available to guests to see the updated modern bedrooms, playrooms and amenities for children 5-18 with severe behavioral and mental health problems. The expanded 80-bed facility, located at 14092 Boys Town Hospital Road, will welcome youth at the end of May.</p><p>The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured short speeches by members of administration who played a critical role in bringing this expansion project to fruition. Speakers included John Arch, Executive Vice President of Healthcare; Pat Connell, Vice President of Behavioral Health; Douglas Spellman, M.D., Medical Director, Boys Town Behavioral Health Services; and Father Steven Boes, Executive Director of Boys Town.</p><p>The Omaha World Herald <a href="http://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/boys-town-national-research-hospital-unveils-expansion-of-its-residential/article_9005f7a5-84fa-5424-b79c-d4fcc4bfb0ac.html" target="_blank">reports on the $16 million renovation</a>.</p><p>KETV Channel 7 <a href="http://www.ketv.com/article/new-residential-treatment-center-opens-at-boys-town/9875804" target="_blank">attended the ribbon-cutting and shared the story</a> with viewers.</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vS3wGA58r_8?rel=0" frameborder="0" width="640" height="360"></iframe> </div>​<br>
Travis Teetor, M.D., Awarded Young Physician of the Yearhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/travis-teetor-young-physician-of-the-yearTravis Teetor, M.D., Awarded Young Physician of the Year2016-10-17T05:00:00Z<p>On September 16, Travis Teetor, M.D., Anesthesiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, was named the 2016 Nebraska Medical Association's (NMA) Young Physician of the Year. Dr. Teetor was nominated and awarded for his medical contributions to the practice of medicine in Nebraska communities.  </p><p>Nominated by the Metro Omaha Medical Society, Dr. ​Teetor's active presence started during his early training years and he continues to be an advocating force by sharing his knowledge of medicine and public health with patients, peers and community health organizations.</p><p>Dr. Teetor regularly meets with senators and state legislative members to review regulatory and legislative health care issues and has worked on the implementation of dental anesthesia training protocols. These training protocols are instrumental in setting examples on how to work as a team in an interdisciplinary fashion with other health care providers. He attends medical events in the community, recently attending the Metro Omaha Medical Society Early Career Physicians group. He has authored an article about advocating and advancing the medical profession in Physician's Bulletin, a publication for all Omaha-area physicians.</p><p>In the past, he has served as the president of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's (UNMC) House Officer Association. Currently, Dr. Teetor serves on the Nebraska State Board of Health. He also serves on the NMA Legislative Committee, the NMA Specialty and Subspecialty Societies Committee, is on the board of directors of the Metro Omaha Medical Society, is president-elect for the Nebraska Society of Anesthesiologists and serves as a volunteer mentor for the Metro Omaha Medical Society student mentoring event.</p><p>Dr. Teetor obtained his Bachelor of Science in Education with degrees in both Exercise Science and Athletic Training from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He graduated medical school and completed his residency training at UNMC and is board certified in both anesthesiology and pediatric anesthesiology.</p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital congratulates Dr. Teetor on his deserving recognition as Young Physician of the Year.  </p>
Telepractice Study for Cochlear Implants Aimed at Extending Access to Carehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/telepractice-study-for-cochlear-implantsTelepractice Study for Cochlear Implants Aimed at Extending Access to Care2016-10-03T05:00:00Z<p>​​​​​​​Because cochlear implants are a specialty, implant centers are few and sparsely located. Cochlear implant programming, testing and follow-up require frequent visits and substantial time commitments from patients and their families. Many families must travel long distances to reach their clinic appointment, which can be costly and often results in missed time from school and work. And, if a child is unable or unwilling to engage in the programming process, additional appointments would be necessary. </p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital researcher, <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/Faculty/Pages/MichelleHughes.aspx" target="_blank">Michelle Hughes, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/research/hearing-speech-perception/auditory-prostheses-perception" target="_blank">Cochlear Implant Research Laboratory</a>, is studying the effectiveness of remote cochlear implant service delivery.</p><p>“Our research on remote cochlear implant service delivery will hopefully provide an avenue for increased access to clinical services and better outcomes for all cochlear implant recipients, especially for children who are still developing listening skills,” said Dr. Hughes. </p><p>Dr. Hughes and her team are currently conducting three studies that make up the research project, <i>Telepractice for Cochlear Implants</i>. The studies focus on how to effectively deliver a range of cochlear implant services through remote technology for individuals in varying geographical locations. </p><p>The first study focuses on validating the use of telepractice for pediatric-specific hearing testing procedures that are used to program the cochlear implant. Remote programming of cochlear implant sound processors for adults has been validated in earlier studies, but test methods for young children are much more challenging. Young children do not understand the concepts of soft and loud, nor do they have the language to tell the audiologist about what they hear through the implant. </p><p>Because of this barrier, audiologists use behavioral conditioning methods in a clinic setting that either engage the child with games or reinforce certain behaviors that indicate when they hear a sound. This method requires two clinicians – one who is manipulating the cochlear implant programming software and one who is engaging the child and watching for responses. Recreating the behavioral conditioning for a remote setting adds to the complexity of the task because both clinicians must coordinate communication and timing efforts. Lapses or delays during remote testing may alter results.</p><p>Two other studies in this project are examining ways to test speech understanding with the implant in a remote setting and evaluating outcomes of aural rehabilitation conducted in person versus remotely via videoconferencing. </p><p>“While we still have more work to do, our recent research shows promising results that we believe will greatly expand access to specialized cochlear implant services,” said Dr. Hughes.</p><p>Dr. Hughes’s research team includes Sangsook Choi, Ph.D., Sara Robinson, M.A., CCC-SLP, and Alexis Mills. The Telepractice for Cochlear Implant research project is part of a $212,500 per-year five-year grant funded by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). </p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q7zIPkgka5g" frameborder="0"></iframe>​ </div>​​ ​
Kathryn Beauchaine Becomes an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Fellowhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/kathryn-beauchaine-asha-fellowKathryn Beauchaine Becomes an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Fellow2016-09-30T05:00:00Z<p>​Kathryn L. Beauchaine, B.S., M.A., CCC-A, Clinical Coordinator in Audiology at Boys Town National Research Hospital, was elected as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).<br></p><p>The recognition is one of the highest forms of acknowledgement ASHA bestows, honoring an individual's professional and scientific accomplishments. Every year, only 10 to 12 professionals are chosen by colleagues, marking a lifetime achievement in the field of audiology.</p><p>Beauchaine's contributions include research and publications contributing to the educational knowledge for state Speech-Language-Hearing Associations and national organizations. She has given more than 65 professional presentations and through her collaborations with other professionals in the scientific field, she has co-authored 59 published articles and has appeared in Tier 1 journals, nationally.</p><p>Allan O. Diefendorf, Ph.D., FASHA, and Professor Emeritus at the Indiana University School of Medicine, recently explained why Beauchaine was deserving of this distinguished achievement.</p><p>“Kathy and I are contemporaries and because of our mutual clinical and research interests, we have enjoyed working together over the past 15 years," said Dr. Diefendorf. “Through my collaborations and time with her at events, I've seen her continued national leadership shine. She has a reputation for delivering what her audiences have come to expect from a seasoned authority with experience and knowledge. Based not only on scholarly pursuits, but through thoughtful studies and laboratory research, she has shown how much she truly cares about the advancements toward the field of audiology."</p><p>Beauchaine first started at Boys Town Hospital as a student in the spring of 1979. After an internship with the Mayo Clinic, she returned as an employee and has been an integral part of the audiology team for 37 years. She dedicates her time to working on the daily operations of the audiology clinics, provides quality patient care and participates in hearing research projects. She has served on committees and working groups including ASHA, Nebraska Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>“I love being a part of the Boys Town mission and incorporating my love of audiology and research to the change that helps communities across the world," said Beauchaine. “I am honored to join the dedicated Fellows of ASHA and will continue collaboration with my wonderful colleagues and friends!"</p><p>Her work with pediatric audiology has impacted and accelerated service provision to many infants, young children and families. Congratulations to Kathy Beauchaine on her Fellowship Award!<br></p><p><br></p>
Michael Gorga, Ph.D. Earns High Honor for His Impact on Audiology Researchhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/michael-gorga-honored-for-audiology-researchMichael Gorga, Ph.D. Earns High Honor for His Impact on Audiology Research2016-09-22T05:00:00Z<p>​On March 3, 2016, Michael Gorga, Ph.D., Director of the Human Sensory Physiology Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital, gave the Carhart Memorial Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Auditory Society.  T his lecture, named after the "father of audiology," Raymond Carhart, is considered the most prestigious lecture in audiology.</p><p>During his lecture, Michael presented a sampling of 35 years of high-impact translational research from his laboratory.  Work from his group has had major influences on the implementation of universal newborn hearing screening and the identification and quantification of hearing loss in infants, young children and patients with developmental disabilities who are unable to provide voluntary responses to sound. In addition, Michael has contributed to research that has increased our understanding of auditory function in both individuals with normal hearing and those with hearing loss. </p><p>Michael began working at Boys Town Hospital i n 1981, spending much of his early career focused on directing clinical services.  This direct clinical experience led to his observations of the inadequacies of assessment tools and the need for translational research to improve the services provided to patients. To address this important clinical issue, Michael sought and received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIDCD), which has been continuous for the past 20 years. </p><p>With support from the NIH and Boys Town Hospital, Michael has been able to lead a creative and productive research program.  He has produced over 130 publications in archival, refereed and scientific journals, which is the second-highest level of published research in the history of Boys Town Hospital.  Michael frequently acknowledges the contributions of his colleagues at Boys Town Hospital have made to his success.  He considers himself fortunate to have had so many smart colleagues throughout his career.  This group includes co-investigators, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.  Michael readily admits that without the help of these individuals and the environment at Boys Town Hospital, any success he has had would have been greatly diminished. </p><p>As Michael's career winds down, he looks back fondly on his work experiences and is thankful for the opportunities he has had to contribute to the body of knowledge related to the identification and diagnosis of hearing loss.  He considers his invitation to give the Carhart Memorial Lecture a wonderful recognition and a fitting capstone to a career well-spent.   Those who have worked with him can't help but agree.</p><p> "Michael deserves this award not only because he has done good work, but because he has mentored a lot of scientists, including me," said Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Audiology. "If you just look at the people who have worked with him - students and postdocs – they have gone on to be very successful in their own right. He has that academic family tree that shows he not only did a lot of great work himself, but he enabled other people to do really amazing work as well."</p><p>Michael Gorga epitomizes translational science. Boys Town National Research Hospital thanks Michael for his contributions to the mission and the impact he had on the field of audiology and congratulates him for his accomplishments locally, nationally and internationally, as recognized by this prestigious award. <br></p><p><br></p>
Brain Imaging Research Aims to Improve Outcomes for Children with Behavioral and Mental Health Problemshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/brain-imaging-research-behavioral-and-mental-healthBrain Imaging Research Aims to Improve Outcomes for Children with Behavioral and Mental Health Problems2016-09-06T05:00:00Z<p>A new era of childhood behavioral health is underway at Boys Town. Boys Town National Research Hospital and Boys Town Youth Care Services are collaborating in neuroscience research in the hopes of understanding what is physically and biologically happening in the brain of a troubled child.</p><p>Many of the children who come to Boys Town have serious mental health problems such as mood disorders, problems with impulse control, self-harm and aggression. The goal of this research is to improve behavioral assessment, distinguish individual types of cognitive difficulties and identify novel, evidence-based interventions to increase positive outcomes for all children with behavioral and mental health problems.</p><p>Boys Town has assembled some of the brightest minds in cognitive neuroscience including James Blair, Ph.D., as Director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children. Dr. Blair joins Boys Town after 12 years at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he served as Chief of the Unit on Affective Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Blair is internationally known for his significant insights into conduct disorders in children and adolescents and his talent in using brain imaging technology to study behavior traits.</p><p>“Dr. Blair's expertise in conduct disorder research fits directly into our strategic goals and our mission to help more children and families," said John Arch, Executive Vice President of Healthcare and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital. “The future of behavioral health care will be guided by a greater understanding of brain activity and biology. This pairing will lead to better, more effective treatments for all children with behavioral and mental health problems."</p><p>Dr. Blair brings a team of highly-regarded neuroscientists from his previous research laboratory: Stuart White, Ph.D.; Karina Blair, Ph.D. and Harma Meffert, Ph.D. The team is conducting research studies focused on mood and anxiety disorders, disruptive disorders, substance abuse and web and computer-based therapeutics.</p><p>“Boys Town offers a unique environment with access to cutting-edge neuroscientific techniques and a population of youth facing the sorts of difficulties that have been largely neglected by researchers," said Dr. Blair. “Given that Boys Town is spread across the country, our discoveries can be translated to a broad base of clinicians faster and more efficiently, getting the best intervention methods to more children who need help."</p><p>To enable the work of Dr. Blair and his team, Boys Town Hospital has purchased the latest functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) technology that offers a safe, noninvasive way to better understand the functioning of the brain. The fMRI uses magnets, not radiation, to take real-time pictures to determine well a child's brain is functioning. Photos are taken before and after interventions to help researchers determine the best evidence-based solution for a child.</p><p>“Two children may show very similar defiant or problematic behaviors, but for very different reasons," said Dr. Blair. “Our research will help develop assessment tools that will uncover the cause of children's difficulties so we can more precisely target the intervention to really help the individual child."</p><p>Boys Town is on the leading edge of this work that will change the way America will care for children with behavioral and mental health disorders.<br></p><p style="text-align:center;"> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWncEc3np4c"><strong>Watch Video Overview: Center for Neurobehavioral Research</strong></a></p><p style="text-align:center;"> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/knowledgeCenter/Videos/Pages/3T-MRIandPatientCaringSuite.aspx"><strong>Watch Video Overview: 3T MRI and Patient Caring ​Suite</strong></a></p><p>To schedule an interview with James Blair, Ph.D., or to request photos or b-roll of the research, contact:</p><p>Colin Crawford<br>Video Producer and Media Coordinator<br> 531-355-6624<br><a href="mailto:Colin.Crawford@boystown.org">Colin.Crawford@boystown.org</a></p>
12-Year-Old Boys Town Hospital Volunteer is a Hero to Manyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/12-year-old-hero-to-many12-Year-Old Boys Town Hospital Volunteer is a Hero to Many2016-07-15T05:00:00Z<p>​​Femi Tevoedjre, daughter of Awissi Anigbe, health information representative at Boys Town National Research Hospital, finds strength in helping others.</p><p>Diagnosed with a congenital heart disease called Restrictive Cardiomyopathy at only 10-years-old, Femi bravely underwent surgery and received a heart transplant. Part of her routine during rehabilitation consisted of drawing several pints of blood in order to track her progress. Always a curious individual, Femi realized giving blood could make a big difference.</p><p>Although Femi was too young to donate blood herself, she collaborated with the Red Cross and with the support of her family and Glad Tidings Church, she started a blood drive to spread awareness and help others understand the importance of giving blood. In 2015, her first blood drive impacted more than 65 lives! This year, she plans to help even more with her second blood drive, which will be held on July 23, 2016 at Glad Tidings Church from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.</p><p>When she’s not helping to save lives, Femi enjoys learning at school, reading scary novels, playing volleyball, creating art with her family and friends and volunteering at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Femi has helped with the Memorial Day Run and will volunteer at the upcoming Healthy Kids Carnival in August. At only 12-years-old, Femi has lived the Boys Town mission to help more children and families.​</p>
Advancing Hearing Research with Virtual Reality Technologyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/advancing-hearing-research-virtual-reality-technologyAdvancing Hearing Research with Virtual Reality Technology2016-06-15T05:00:00Z<p>​It’s cool, modern and a lot of fun to instantly transpose your sight and mind to believing you are in another location. That’s the technology behind virtual reality. So what does visual stimulation have to do with hearing research? </p><p>The researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital are leveraging virtual reality technology to create the illusion that research subjects are in specific environments, such as classrooms or cafeterias, when really they are in a controlled environment. </p><p>“Virtual reality allows my lab to match the visual space with the audio space for participants,” explains Dawna Lewis, Ph.D., Director of the Listening and Learning Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital. “For example, desks, chairs, books on the bookshelves and blackboards across the room are all visible and match the environment we want to represent. The participants may also see reflections of light, like a sun ray coming from the window or a light dancing on the surface of a desk. It feels very realistic.” </p><p>Dr. Lewis is studying how to improve communication access for children with mild hearing loss, in complex listening environments. With a simulated classroom environment, including audio-visual cues and background noise, she is able to conduct a controlled experiment and track the difficulties that children with hearing loss are having with hearing and understanding speech at school and in other noisy environments. </p><p>This research is important because about five percent or 3 million school-age children in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. Previous research shows that children with hearing loss often do not perform as well as their normal hearing peers in academic settings. </p><p>In previous ​studies, a classroom was simulated by surrounding participants with five different television screens and having the subjects turn to each screen when an auditory-visual cue was given. </p><p>“This is a big step from our previous study,” said Timothy Vallier, M.M., research systems analyst and virtual reality software developer. “By taking away the distraction of the room looking different from how it sounds, we may see a higher performance from the subjects in this virtual environment.”</p><p>The virtual reality research will help identify why children with mild hearing loss perform the way they do in noisy environments and hopefully lead to further understanding of the accommodations that will benefit learning for these children across their educational lifespan. </p><p>“Virtual reality opens current and future experimental possibilities and has the potential to influence audiological and educational strategies,” explains Dr. Lewis. “We hope we can use the technology to help children and families within our community as well as worldwide.”</p><p>Utilizing this kind of technology has fellow Boys Town scientists excited for what the future holds – new research, new findings and more ways to help children, families and communities. </p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcOhffPsd-0?rel=0" frameborder="0" id="widget2"></iframe> </div>​​
Dawna Lewis, Ph.D., Studies Effects in Children with Mild Bilateral and Unilateral Hearing Loss in Complex Listening Environmentshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/hearing-loss-in-complex-listening-environmentsDawna Lewis, Ph.D., Studies Effects in Children with Mild Bilateral and Unilateral Hearing Loss in Complex Listening Environments2016-06-06T05:00:00Z<p>​​</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">New studies at Boys Town National Research Hospital are using simulation environments to examine auditory skills in elementary age children with mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss and how these skills relate to understanding speech in everyday situations such as classrooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias.</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">“In complex listening environments, children with mild hearing loss may have difficulty concentrating due to factors including multiple talkers, new information being taught and multiple sources of background noises,” said <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/Faculty/Pages/DawnaLewis.aspx" target="_blank" style="color:#4db3d0;text-decoration-line:underline;">Dawna Lewis</a>, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Director of the <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/HearingResearch/Pages/ListeningandLearningLab.aspx" target="_blank" style="color:#4db3d0;text-decoration-line:underline;">Listening and Learning Laboratory</a>. “Research conducted in the 1980s and 1990s found these children were failing at a rate 10 times higher than their peers with normal hearing. The purpose of the work being done in my lab is to examine which factors may be affecting listening for an estimated three million children with these types of hearing loss.”</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">The Listening and Learning Laboratory is equipped with technology that allows simulation of acoustic environments that are similar to those that children experience in a real-world school setting. For example, gymnasiums, cafeterias and classrooms have hard surfaces that create reverberation as well as have multiple talkers from many directions and at varying voice levels. Dr. Lewis and her staff are able to simulate the acoustics of the settings they want to test while maintaining experimental control.</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">“Children should have the best environment for learning,” said Dr. Lewis. “Elementary classrooms are typically the noisiest. While classrooms in middle and high school years may have lower levels of background noise, the material being learned becomes more complex. By focusing on elementary age children in our current studies, we hope to be able to find strategies and technology that will help them process new information they are learning across all grade levels.”</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">The study is one of five labs covered by an $11.3 million, five-year Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant, awarded to the hospital by the National Institutes of Health to develop a Center for Perception and Communication in children.</p><p style="margin-top:0.357em;margin-bottom:0.929em;color:#333333;font-family:tahoma, arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;">Tessa McDermott, B.S. and Andrew Dergan, B.S. currently work as research assistants in the lab. Tim Vallier, M.M., a systems analyst, provides support through the Technical Core. Sara Robinson, M.A. and Sarah Al-Salim, Au.D., provide speech-language and audiological support through the Clinical Measurement Core. Boys Town Hospital collaborators include Judy Kopun, M.A., Lori Leibold, Ph.D., Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., and Nicholas Smith, Ph.D. Outside collaborators include Kendra Schmid, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center and Bruce Tomblin, Ph.D., University of Iowa.​​​<br></p><p><br></p>
New Research Studies to Help Children with Mild Hearing Loss in Complex Listening Environmentshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/mild-hearing-loss-complex-listening-environmentsNew Research Studies to Help Children with Mild Hearing Loss in Complex Listening Environments2016-05-17T05:00:00Z<p>New studies at Boys Town National Research Hospital are using simulation environments to examine auditory skills in elementary age children with mild bilateral or unilateral hearing loss and how these skills relate to understanding speech in everyday situations such as classrooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias.</p><p>“In complex listening environments, children with mild hearing loss may have difficulty concentrating due to factors including multiple talkers, new information being taught and multiple sources of background noises," said <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/Faculty/Pages/DawnaLewis.aspx">Dawna Lewis, Ph.D.</a>, Principal Investigator and Director of the <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/HearingResearch/Pages/ListeningandLearningLab.aspx">Listening and Learning Laboratory</a>. “Research conducted in the 1980s and 1990s found these children were failing at a rate 10 times higher than their peers with normal hearing. The purpose of the work being done in my lab is to examine which factors may be affecting listening for an estimated three million children with these types of hearing loss."</p><p>The Listening and Learning Laboratory is equipped with technology that allows simulation of acoustic environments that are similar to those that children experience in a real-world school setting. For example, gymnasiums, cafeterias and classrooms have hard surfaces that create reverberation as well as have multiple talkers from many directions and at varying voice levels. Dr. Lewis and her staff are able to simulate the acoustics of the settings they want to test while maintaining experimental control.</p><p>“Children should have the best environment for learning," said Dr. Lewis. “Elementary classrooms are typically the noisiest. While classrooms in middle and high school years may have lower levels of background noise, the material being learned becomes more complex. By focusing on elementary age children in our current studies, we hope to be able to find strategies and technology that will help them process new information they are learning across all grade levels."</p><p>The study is one of five labs covered by an $11.3 million, five-year Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant, awarded to the hospital by the National Institutes of Health to develop a Center for Perception and Communication in children.</p><p style="text-align:center;"> <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/knowledgeCenter/Videos/Pages/Understanding-Speech-in-Complex-Listening-Environments.aspx" target="_blank">Watch Video Overview: Understanding Speech in Complex Listening Environments</a></p><p>To schedule an interview with Dawna Lewis, Ph.D., or to ​request B-roll of the research, contact:</p><p>Colin Crawford<br>Video Producer and Media Coordinator <br> 531-355-6624<br><a href="mailto:Colin.Crawford@boystown.org">Colin.Crawford@boystown.org</a> </p>
Boys Town National Research Hospital Study to be Honored at American Auditory Society Annual Meetinghttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/study-honored-at-american-auditory-societyBoys Town National Research Hospital Study to be Honored at American Auditory Society Annual Meeting2016-03-25T05:00:00Z<p>​​For decades, Boys Town National Research Hospital has been working to change the way America cares for kids. We know the progress we have made – we see it in the lives of our patients and the work of our colleagues every day. Now another organization is recognizing the work that is being done by our researchers.</p><p>The first weekend of March in Scottsdale, AZ., representatives from Boys Town Hospital attended the American Auditory Society ​(AAS) Annual Meeting, where they were honored for their work with children who are hard of hearing in a study conducted over a five year period.</p><p>In 2008, Boys Town Hospital researchers in audiology and child language development began working with researchers at The University of Iowa and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The team designed and facilitated a multi-site longitudinal study to examine the outcomes of children, ages 0-6, with hearing aids and the factors that affect these outcomes.</p><p>In 2015, the results for this study, Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss (OCHL), was released, and the research began receiving international attention. The co-principal investigators are Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D. of Boys Town Hospital and J. Bruce Tomblin, Ph.D., emeritus professor at the University of Iowa. A nine-article supplement volume in the professional journal <em>Ear and Hearing</em> was entirely devoted to OCHL and, the journal editors awarded this OCHL supplement volume a special recognition award to be presented to Moeller and Tomblin and the research team at the AAS meeting.</p><p>Additional Boys Town Hospital personnel who contributed to OCHL are Sophie Ambrose, Ph.D.; Ryan McCreery, Ph.D.; Merry Spratford and Lauren Unflat-Berry.</p><p>McCreery, Spratford and Pat Stelmachowicz, Ph.D., attended the AAS meeting and had the opportunity to be recognized on stage with Moeller when the award was announced. In addition, McCreery gave a podium presentation on sentence recognition in noise and reverberation for children with hearing aids. Both he and Spratford presented several poster sessions from Boys Town Hospital research including “Vocabulary Facilitates Speech Perception in Children with Hearing Aids,” “Relationships of Cognitive Abilities to Spectro-Temporal Ripple Detection,” “Does Sentence Predictability Influence Word Identification in School-Age Children?” and “Teacher & Student Perceptions of Student Classroom Listening Ability.”</p><p>Boys Town Hospital is proud of the work being done in the research labs here in Omaha. Their hard work will lead to improved services for children and adults around the country.</p><div class="embed-container"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eXIF97g8CC0?rel=0" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div>​<br>
Learning to Hear: Understanding Speech in Noise from Infancy to Adolescencehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/understanding-speech-in-noiseLearning to Hear: Understanding Speech in Noise from Infancy to Adolescence2016-01-18T06:00:00Z<p><a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/Faculty/Pages/Lori-Leibold.aspx">Lori Leibold, Ph.D.</a>, Director of the Center for Hearing Research and <a href="http://hospital.boystown.org/research/HearingResearch/Pages/Human-Auditory-Development-Lab.aspx">Human Auditory Development Laboratory</a> at Boys Town National Research Hospital will be presenting <em>Learning to Hear: Understanding Speech in Noise from Infancy to Adolescence</em> on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Marshall Ballroom South (Marriott Wardman Park) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.</p><p>Dr. Leibold's presentation will focus on research showing that children have more difficulty than adults when listening to speech in the presence of competing background sounds, particularly when the background sounds are also speech. One surprising finding from Dr. Leibold's program of research is that the ability to hear and understand speech in the presence of other people talking remains immature into the adolescent years. The lecture will focus on studying how extensive listening experience and neural maturation are required for children to master the perceptual skills required to hear and understand speech in noisy environments.</p><p>This study impacts all children with hearing loss because children spend the majority of their days in environments that include multiple people talking at the same time. While these environments are challenging for children who are typically developing, emerging new findings indicate that hearing loss exacerbates the difficulties all children have in noisy environments.</p><p>Dr. Leibold will be one of three speakers during the presentation, <em>I Can't Hear Myself Think! Noise and the Developing Brain from Infancy to Adulthood</em>. Other speakers include Amir Lahav, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Rochelle Newman, Professor and Chair in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, and Associate Director of the new Maryland Language Science Center at the University of Maryland. For more information, ​visit <a href="https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2016/webprogram/Session12139.html">AAAS.org</a>.</p>
Boys Town Residential Treatment Center Celebrates 20 Yearshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/boys-town-residential-treatment-center-celebrates-20-yearsBoys Town Residential Treatment Center Celebrates 20 Years2015-12-23T06:00:00Z<p>On December 26, 1995, Boys Town National Research Hospital introduced the Residential Treatment Center and began giving the best gift Boys Town could think of for youth with severe mental and behavioral health problems – the gift of a second chance.</p><p>In the early 1990s, Boys Town's leaders began to notice America's need for a unique behavioral health service to help youth who were not successful in the programs being offered at the time. Calling on the organization's years of experience with youth care and medical care, the team formed a new model that focused on medically-directed behavioral health treatment.</p><p>Under the direction of Child Adolescent Psychiatrist, Douglas Spellman, M.D., the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center opened its doors to youth who continued to struggle, despite placement in foster homes and psychiatric hospitals. Since then, the Residential Treatment Center has changed the lives of more than 37,000 youth from 41 states and eight countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ireland, England, Germany and Iraq.</p><p>Part of the nationally-recognized Boys Town Integrated Continuum of Care®, the goal of the Residential Treatment Center is to help children gain the self-assurance and academic and social skills they need to succeed in life.</p><p>“This is the place where children with backgrounds of abuse, aggression and unstable homes can get the treatment they need and find hope in their lives," Dr. Spellman said. “We give them a safe and secure environment where they can begin to make positive changes to learn better self-control and social skills."</p><p>What began as a 20-bed facility at the downtown Boys Town Hospital grew to a 54-bed center operating at both medical campuses and will shortly be a single 78-bed facility located on Boys Town Campus in West Omaha. The new center not only keeps all youth and residential care resources at one location, but also provides a state-of-the-art facility that focuses on bright, comfortable settings for youth to begin healing.</p><p>From the Center's inception, Boys Town Hospital developed a medically-directed treatment environment backed by evidence-based intervention methods. Children exposed to significant trauma, abuse and neglect may experience serious mental health problems such as mood disorders, problems with impulse control, self-harm and aggression. Thanks to neurobehavioral research, like that of the Center for Neurobehavioral Research in Children at Boys Town Hospital, mental health and behavioral experts now have a better understanding of how these early life experiences alter brain development and function. The Residential Treatment Center utilizes this knowledge to develop better intervention methods. As more research uncovers new and better ways to manage and treat children with behavioral and mental health problems, Boys Town Hospital will be at the forefront – changing the way America cares for kids.</p><p>The children who come to the Boys Town Residential Treatment Center receive a safe and beautiful temporary home, a second chance and the knowledge that there is a group of people at Boys Town Hospital who believe that they are good kids with a valuable future.</p><p>In a speech in 2013, former youth Karly Harrison spoke fondly of the organization that she said helped her change her life. “I try to represent the Boys Town name as best I can and give back in the same way that they gave to me," Harrison said. With each healthy outcome, Boys Town gives the community a strong, confident citizen with the tools to make a difference – a gift that truly keeps on ​giving.</p>
Cochlear Implants and Voice Emotion Recognition: A conversation with Dr. Monita Chatterjeehttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/cochlear-implants-and-voice-emotion-recognitionCochlear Implants and Voice Emotion Recognition: A conversation with Dr. Monita Chatterjee2015-10-30T05:00:00Z<p>Cochlear implants have helped many individuals with hearing loss understand speech and other sounds since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved cochlear implant devices for adults in 1985 and for children in 1990. Monita Chatterjee, Ph.D., Director of the Auditory Prostheses and Perception Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital was recently interviewed for a weekly podcast by Science, one of the premiere scientific journals in the United States.</p><p>“Although the technology is constantly evolving, individuals wearing cochlear implants still have difficulty perceiving changes in pitch or frequency of a speaker's voice, which makes it hard to recognize conveyed emotions or the speaker's mood," said Dr. Chatterjee.</p><p>One aspect of her lab's NIH-funded research focuses on the study of how well children with cochlear implants can convey and detect voice emotion with their devices.</p><p>“With children who have hearing loss and are listening through a cochlear implant, we wonder if their social development relates to their ability to recognize or communicate voice emotion," said Dr. Chatterjee. “There is some published work suggesting that cochlear-implanted children have self-perceived quality of life is related to their voice emotion identification performance. Research is limited and no definite answers are available yet."</p><p>In a recent study published in Hearing Research, Dr. Chatterjee's team at Boys Town Hospital and her collaborators at Johns Hopkins University compared voice emotion recognition by individuals with cochlear implants and normal hearing listeners. Using simple emotion-neutral sentences spoken in five different emotions – happy, sad, angry, scared and neutral – they asked listeners to identify the emotion associated with each utterance.</p><p>The cochlear implanted children showed large variations in performance but on average performed about as well as adults with cochlear implants. The key difference between these two groups were the cochlear-implanted adults who had hearing at birth and had learned spoken language normally through acoustic hearing, and the children with cochlear implants who had very little or no exposure to sounds at birth and had learned spoken language through the implant itself. The two groups showed similar performance underscores showing the benefit received by the children from their devices. Both groups of implant users, however, performed significantly worse than normal hearing children and adults.</p><p>In the same study, children and adults with normal hearing listened to the same sentences but processed digitally through a noise vocoder, which simulated information transmitted by a cochlear implant. Normal hearing listeners' performance declined as sounds were progressively degraded, with the children showing much poorer emotion recognition than adults in the degraded condition.</p><p>Results showed normal hearing children who were younger, struggled significantly more with the simulated cochlear implanted speech than older children, even though they all did very well with the natural speech sounds. The children had never heard vocoded speech before and had no prior experience with distorted speech. On the other hand, the children with cochlear implants had long periods of experience with their devices and clearly benefited from it.</p><p>These tests show how important it is for the brain to be accustomed to the input sound, especially for younger children. Brains of young children are still developing and the auditory and language systems continue to develop well into the adolescent years. Dr. Chatterjee and her team speculate that their work has implications for peer-to-peer and other social communication, especially at a younger age, which may play an important role in quality of life and social development.</p><p>“Hearing with cochlear implants or listening to degraded sounds takes a lot of cognitive effort, and there's more and more interest in the area as we realize the reason cochlear implants work, is that the brain is amazing and does a lot of reconstruction and repair from incoming degraded signals," said Dr. Chatterjee. “The results we found show a huge variation in the performance by these children and adults with cochlear implants – some children with cochlear implants did quite poorly although others did really well in voice emotion recognition, and it really shows how far we have yet to go in cochlear implant research."</p><p>While the success of cochlear implants and the availability of the device (children as young as 12 months of age can receive cochlear implants) is a miracle in itself for the medical world, the mission now is to improve the technology in order to optimize hearing and speech communication for patients. In ongoing analyses of children's speech, Dr. Chatterjee's team is finding that children with cochlear implants make smaller acoustic contrasts between “happy" and “sad" emotions than their normal hearing peers. Dr. Chatterjee and her team recently presented their research at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Pittsburgh, PA.</p><p>“There's been a lot of discussion in the medical world and it seems like the ability to transmit high-quality voice pitch information to the listener will be part of the next big leap in cochlear implant research," said Dr. Chatterjee. “Understanding more about how the brain processes voice pitch information transmitted by cochlear implants is a key step and we hope by sharing our knowledge and continuing to learn more from our own and other labs' research, we can contribute to the global effort in this area."</p><p>The Cochlear Implant Center at Boys Town National Research Hospital has provided cochlear implants to more than 500 children and adults with moderate to profound hearing loss and has more than 600 patients from across the country.</p><p>Listen to Dr. Chatterjee's full podcast interview on <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6240/1274.2.full" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Sciencemag.org</span></a>, published on June 12, 2015.</p>
National Study finds Providing Well-Fit Hearing Aids in Infancy Helps Many Hard of Hearing Children Develop Optimal Speech and Language Skillshttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/hearing-aids-help-develop-speech-skillsNational Study finds Providing Well-Fit Hearing Aids in Infancy Helps Many Hard of Hearing Children Develop Optimal Speech and Language Skills2015-10-30T05:00:00Z<p>​On October 27, 2015, findings from a national study called Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss were published in a special supplement volume of the journal, <a href="http://journals.lww.com/ear-hearing/toc/2015/11001" data-ytta-id="-"><em>Ear and Hearing</em></a>. Results include the discovery that many hard of hearing children who receive optimal, early services are able to “catch up or significantly close the gaps with their hearing peers," according to Bruce Tomblin, Ph.D., an emeritus professor in the University of Iowa's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.</p><p>“Hearing well is crucial to developing speech and language skills, building social connections and succeeding in life," says Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., director of the Center for Childhood Deafness and the language development laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><p>Moeller and Tomblin have been co-principal investigators on this longitudinal research collaboration with the University of Iowa, Boys Town National Research Hospital and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2008.</p><p>Other main takeaways from the study include: hearing aid provision in early infancy results in better early language outcomes, but children who were fit later showed the ability to resolve early language delays after hearing aids were used for an extended period; consistent daily hearing aid use provides some protection against language delay and supports auditory development; the richness of parents' or caregiver's talk with the child positively influences children's language abilities.</p><p>Moeller says that this study empowers parents, health care providers, and educators with the empirical support to put protections in place that may help children with hearing loss succeed in all facets of their lives.</p><p>“Protection arises from properly fit hearing aids that are used consistently and from providing a rich language environment around the child," Moeller says, “as well as making sure the families who need additional support and knowledge receive it."</p><p>Researchers at Boys Town National Research Hospital conducted the early research that led to the development of universal newborn hearing screening, which is now a nationally mandated screening for all babies born in the U.S. Universal newborn hearing screening programs have led to identification of hearing loss during infancy, but research on the impact of early intervention on the development of children who are hard of hearing has not been conducted on a large scale.</p><p>“The work in the supplement issue was designed to respond to a major gap in research on hard of hearing children. The largest study ever done in the U.S. was in the 1980s and it only had 40 hard of hearing children," said Moeller. “Previous studies did not specifically explore the impact of interventions (like hearing aids) on children's speech and language growth over time."</p><p>Over five years, the Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss study collected data from 317 children who are hard of hearing and 117 children with normal hearing, from 17 states. With a few exceptions, children in the study had permanent, bilateral hearing losses, ​and all but a few children were fitted with hearing aids.</p><p>This is the first study of its kind in the United States to identify a large group of young children who are hard of hearing and follow their language development for several years.</p><p>The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health–National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD-DC009560).</p><h2> <a href="https://www.boystownhospital.org/knowledge-center/new-study-of-mild-to-moderate-hearing-loss" data-ytta-id="-">Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss Video</a></h2><p> <strong>To schedule an interview with Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., contact: </strong><br>Brooke Wittrock<br>Marketing and Communication, Boys Town National Research Hospital<br>531-355-6640 or 531-355-4645<br><a href="mailto:Brooke.Wittrock@boystown.org" data-ytta-id="-">Brooke.Wittrock@boystown.org</a></p><p> <strong>To schedule an interview with Bruce Tomblin, Ph.D., contact: </strong><br>Lois J. Gray<br>Office of Strategic Communication, University of Iowa<br>319-384-0077 or 319-430-3740 <br><a href="mailto:lois-gray@uiowa.edu" data-ytta-id="-">lois-gray@uiowa.edu</a></p>
Boys Town Hospital is Home to some of the Best Doctors in Americahttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/best-doctors-in-americaBoys Town Hospital is Home to some of the Best Doctors in America2014-09-11T05:00:00Z<p>​​There are hundreds of thousands of physicians in the U.S., and only a small number receive the title of Best Doctors in America<sup>®</sup>. Boys Town physicians put patients first and hold themselves to the highest medical standards on a daily basis. So it's no surprise that nine Boys Town National Research Hospital physicians earned a position in this elite group for 2014.</p><p>Congratulations,</p><div class="columns is-multiline has-text-centered"><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/richard-kang" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/KangRichard.jpg" alt="Richard Kang" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">D. Richard ​Kang, M.D.</span><br> Ear, Nose & Throat Institute</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DoeJohn.jpg" alt="no available portrait" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Rodney P. Lusk, M.D.</span><br> Ear, Nose & Throat Institute</span></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/jon-vanderhoof" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/VanderhoofJon.jpg" alt="Vanderhoof" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Jon A. Vanderhoof, M.D.</span><br> Pediatric Gastroenterology</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/kevin-murphy" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/MurphyKevin.jpg" alt="Kevin Murphy" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Kevin R. Murphy, M.D.</span><br> Allergy, Asthma & Pediatric Pulmonology</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/mark-domet" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/DometMark.jpg" alt="Mark Domet" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Mark J. Domet, M.D.</span><br> Boys Town Pediatrics</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/charles-sprague" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/SpragueCharles.jpg" alt="Charles Sprague" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Charles J. Sprague, M.D.</span><br> Boys Town Pediatrics</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/nancy-vandersluis" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/VanderSluisNancy.jpg" alt="Nancy VanderSluis" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Nancy L. VanderSluis, M.D.</span><br> Boys Town Pediatrics</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/vicki-herrman" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/HerrmanVicki.jpg" alt="Vicki Herrman" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Vicki A. Hermann, M.D.</span><br> Boys Town Pediatrics</span></a></div><div class="column is-4"> <a href="/physicians/robert-schwab" data-ytta-id="-"> <img class="custom-is-rounded" src="https://assets.boystown.org/hosp_peds_images/SchwabRobert.jpg" alt="Robert Schwab" /> <span class="is-block"> <span class="is-size-4 has-text-primary">Robert J. Schwab, M.D.</span><br> Internal Medicine</span></a></div></div><p>These doctors have been picked by top physicians who were asked who they would refer their loved ones to for medical assistance ​if they could not provide it themselves. Thank you all for representing Boys Town National Research Hospital as a team of excellence among your peers.</p>​<br>
Mary Pat Moeller to Receive Highest Career Honorhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/mary-pat-moeller-receives-career-honorMary Pat Moeller to Receive Highest Career Honor2013-10-24T05:00:00Z<p>Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness at Boys Town National Research Hospital will be presented with the Honors of the Association award, which is the highest career achievement award given by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association's (ASHA), on November 15, 2013 at the ASHA National Convention in Chicago, IL.</p><p>"I am humbled, honored, and a bit overwhelmed to be receiving this prestigious award," said Dr. Moeller. "It is special to be recognized by my peers for doing work that I love. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the field, and I am grateful to my family and colleagues who have supported me throughout these endeavors."</p><p>Dr. Moeller has been selected to receive the Honors of the Association for her distinguished career accomplishments and contributions in early intervention and translational research involving children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families.</p><p>"Dr. Moeller's research has had a profound impact on early intervention strategies for children who are deaf or hard of hearing," said John Arch, Executive Vice President of Boys Town Health Care and Director of Boys Town National Research Hospital. "Her concept that interventions should be family-centered along with her ability to illustrate the power of parent/child interactions has had an international influence on early intervention strategies and outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families."</p><p>In 1981, before federal legislation mandated early intervention, Dr. Moeller was already making enormous strides on the local level. In collaboration with colleagues in the Omaha Public Schools, she designed an innovative intervention program called Diagnostic Early Intervention Project. Every newly-identified child who was deaf or hard of hearing was placed in the program for an intensive period of diagnostic intervention to determine the best placement and options for the child and family. This was an early effort to use best evidence to guide the course of intervention.</p><p>1990 was the start of a 10 year information dissemination effort to foster collaboration among researchers, clinicians, educators and parents in childhood deafness and child language. Through a National Institutes of Health Research and Training grant, Dr. Moeller developed a series of scholarly meetings called "Issues in Language and Deafness," in addition to Pediatric Audiology conferences and several sets of research conference proceedings.</p><p>"These programs provided a platform for discussion on early identification of hearing loss," said Walt Jesteadt, Director of Research at Boys Town National Research Hospital.</p><p>The 10 year conferences were distinguished, inventive, and noted as having "the greatest impact on the field," stated nominator John Bernthal, Ph.D., Director/Chair and Professor of Special Education and Communications Disorders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.</p><p>Nationally, Dr. Moeller has collaborated or consulted with several organizations: The National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (Utah State University), Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Coalition Promoting Family-centered Early Development of Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. Focusing on family-centered early intervention, Dr. Moeller in collaboration with Brenda Schick, Ph.D., Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder, developed a series of <em>Read with Me</em> and <em>Sign with Me</em> DVDs and curriculum materials to guide parents in stimulating early language skills in their children.</p><p>Babyhearing.org was created in 2000, from a NIDCD grant awarded to Dr. Moeller, to address the need to educate families on newborn hearing screening and follow up. To this day it continues to be the only comprehensive web site for parents of newly diagnosed children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The site, available in both English and Spanish, is accessed world-wide and offers answers to practical questions parents may have about hearing loss, the latest advances in hearing aid technology, resources available in their community, parenting tips, and insights from other parents of deaf or hard of hearing children.</p><p>As a result of newborn hearing screening, children with mild to severe hearing losses (hard of hearing) are identified in infancy, which is much earlier in the past. This presents an opportunity to prevent communication delays, but there is very little research evidence documenting whether early intervention is making a difference for these children and their families. For the past five years, Dr. Moeller has collaborated with the University of Iowa and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill on an $8.9 million NIH multi-center grant to study the effects of educational programs and audiological services on the outcomes of children who are hard of hearing.</p><p>Dr. Moeller's work has reached global influence. She has spoken at conferences in Dubai, Italy, China, New Zealand, South Africa, England, and Holland among others. In Austria, she led an international consensus conference that resulted in the publication of best practice guidelines in early intervention for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.</p><p>During the ASHA award ceremony, colleagues and members will watch a video celebrating Dr. Moeller's career as she walks across the stage to receive the Honors of the Association award. Sophie Ambrose, PhD, Senior Research Associate at Boys Town National Research Hospital describes the award similar to "receiving an Oscar in our field."</p><p>Congratulations Dr. Moeller on this significant national honor and your remarkable work to help children and ​families.<br></p>
Boys Town Audiologist to Receive National Honor for Researchhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/audiologist-to-receive-national-honorBoys Town Audiologist to Receive National Honor for Research2013-10-21T05:00:00Z<h2><strong>​​​​​Ryan McCreery, Ph.D. Receives National Ho nor for Research</strong><br></h2><p><em>November 15, 2013</em><br></p><p>Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Audiology, will receive the Award for Early Career Contributions in Research from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) at the national convention on November 15, 2013, in Chicago, IL.</p><p>Dr. McCreery was nominated by Patricia Stelmachowicz, Ph.D., former Director of Boys Town Audiology and Hearing Amplification Research Lab and Mary Pat Moeller, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Childhood Deafness, for his career accomplishments in hearing research and clinical audiology.</p><p>"This is truly an honor," said Dr. McCreery. "Boys Town National Research Hospital is the best institution in which to pursue my life work in hearing research. I am thankful to be here among world-class scientists and clinicians, who encourage me every day to do what I love."</p><p>The Early Career Contributions in Research Award is awarded to individuals who demonstrate significant scientific accomplishments within five years of receiving a doctoral degree. Dr. McCreery is the sole honoree for 2013.</p><p>Dr. McCreery earned his Ph.D. in 2011, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His initial research at Boys Town Hospital confirmed the inaccuracy of using the same standardized measure of audibility for both children and adults. His innovative research pointed to the need for child-specific measures and was published in the <em>Journal of Acoustical Society of America</em>.</p><p>Dr. McCreery's current research, <em>Optimizing Speech Recognition in Children with Hearing Loss</em>, examines performance differences between children with normal hearing and children with hearing loss, in order to develop strategies to improve speech, language and psychosocial outcomes for children with hearing loss.</p><p>"I believe that Dr. McCreery's innovative lines of investigation will change the ways we optimize amplification in infants and children with hearing loss, said Dr. Stelmachowicz. "His work has great significance from both theoretical and clinical perspective."</p><p>Dr. McCreery has published 11 peer-reviewed papers and 9 additions manuscripts related to pediatric Audiology since 2009. In addition, he has successful competed for grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD/NIH). This award recognizes his exemplary record in research, publishing and grantsmanship.</p><p>"Ryan McCreery has made stellar contributions to the scientific evidence in pediatric audiology," said Dr. Moeller. "He is an exceptional researcher and well-deserving of this great, national honor."<br></p><p><br></p>
Boys Town Scientists Provide Key Pre-Clinical Evidence for Treating Usher Syndrome with Gene Therapyhttps://www.boystownpediatrics.org/news/treating-usher-syndrome-with-gene-therapyBoys Town Scientists Provide Key Pre-Clinical Evidence for Treating Usher Syndrome with Gene Therapy2011-10-03T05:00:00Z<p>A team of scientists from Boys Town National Research Hospital, in collaboration with Oxford BioMedica, have received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the first treatment ever developed for Usher Syndrome.</p><p>Boys Town scientists Dominic Cosgrove, Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Usher Syndrome; Marisa Zallocchi, Ph.D., and You-Wei Peng, M.D., Ph.D, conducted the pre-clinical research of the investigational drug UshStat®, giving evidence for FDA approval.</p><p>Usher Syndrome results in deafness at birth associated with delayed onset and progressive blindness. The newly approved treatment involves the introduction of a functioning copy of the defective gene into retinal cells. The treatment is aimed at the most common of the most severe clinical sub-type of Usher syndrome (USH1B), which has early onset and rapid progression of retinal disease. The disorder affects about 1 in 30,000 people in the United States and Europe.</p><p>The clinical trial will involve up to 18 patients with Usher syndrome type 1B and will be performed at Oregon Health and Science University's Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon. The study will be led by Professor Richard Weleber and will evaluate safety, tolerability, and aspects of the biological activity of the treatment. Based on the pre-clinical data, it is anticipated that a single application of UshStat® to the retina could provide long term or potentially permanent stabilization of vision. Clinical trials may be initiated by the end of 2011.</p><p>Boys Town National Research Hospital has been a leader in research on Usher syndrome for 25 years and played an important role in isolation of the gene mutation for Usher type 1B that may now be corrected by gene therapy. </p><p>This research has been supported by the Foundation Fighting Blindness (a public charity), the National Institutes of Health and the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Development Fund. This is the third program for retinal gene therapy developed by Oxford BioMedica to enter clinical development under the PhaseI/II collaborative agreement signed with Sanofi in April of ​2009.</p>