WW_JohnGlennThe recently deceased John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was a hero to many, but who inspired him? In 1992, Glenn met the then 8-year old Ashley Justice at Dayton Children’s Medical Center where she became one of the first children in the area to receive a cochlear implant, according to a Dayton Children’s news release. Glenn, Senator of Ohio at the time, was in the same when her implant was turned on, and for the first time in her life, she could hear. “He was almost as excited as Ashley,” recounted Vicki Glambrone, former VP at Dayton Children’s in the release. The experience had a lasting impact on him which led to further visits, an introduction of his wife Annie to Ashley and a passion for pediatric medicine. Ashley continues to inspire by sharing her experience with others and serves as a reminder that astronauts can have heroes too.

The next generation of opioid addiction

opioid_baby_190x127.jpgWhen a pregnant mother becomes addicted to heroin or pain pills, so, too, does the baby who’s growing inside of her. Such instances of “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” as it’s called, are on the rise, and rural areas are being disproportionately affected by this trend, according to a new study, published this week in JAMA Pediatrics. Rural area mothers are often more likely to be poor and rely on public insurance such as Medicaid, the New York Times reports. The problem could be worse in those areas for various reasons, including avoidance of help for addiction before they’re pregnant, and a lack of access to medication-assisted treatments to address their opioid dependence. Addressing this problem proactively, before pregnancy, is crucial, the Times reports, as it places a considerable financial strain on hospitals and other providers—$1.5 billion in 2013 to treat babies with the syndrome, nearly double the cost of care in 2009. “When you’re getting to a point of having a substantial proportion of mothers taking opioids and babies at risk for opioid withdrawal, it becomes a strain on the regional system,” Alison Holmes, associate professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth’s school of medicine, tells the publication.

Anesthesia may damage infant brains, says FDA

WW_child_anesthesiaThe Food and Drug administration says that recurring or long-lasting use of general anesthesia or sedation drugs can affect infants’ developing brains, The Washington Post reports. Children 3 years old or younger are susceptible, the agency says, including pregnant women in their third trimester. The FDA called for a “drug-safety communication” to notify health-care providers, parents and pregnant women about the risks of using the drugs continually or for more than three hours at a time. It also asked manufacturers to add warning labels to their products. While frequent exposure could be impactful, a one-time or minimal use of anesthesia in young children is probably OK, the FDA said.

This is your brain on running

WW_runnersSome hate it, and some love it, but there isn’t much room in between. But, runners, it turns out, have greater functional brain connectivity than those who enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience finds. The study involved University of Arizona researchers comparing MRI brain scans of young adult cross country runners to young adults who don’t exercise regularly. They found different areas in the brain were more connected in runners, compared to those who don’t run, including areas of the brain associated with cognitive functions, such as decision-making. “One of the key questions that these results raise is whether what we’re seeing in young adults — in terms of the connectivity differences — imparts some benefit later in life,” said Gene Alexander, UA psychology professor, and co-designer of the study, in a University of Arizona press release.