Making a Difference for Teens

By Lucy Marrero, Ph.D., Psychologist, UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital

For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. With the rising popularity of cellphones and Internet, children are more at risk of falling victim to bullying—a primary reason for youth suicide. A large part of that victimization is happening right at school...

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Multisensory Enviornment Machine

"The Ultimate Distraction Tool"

As Chris Brown, director of the UF Health Child Life Program, and Ron Farb, co-founder of the Climb for Cancer Foundation, set up the multisensory environment machine, the excitement among the pediatric patients is drowned out by the “oohhs” and “aahhs” of the doctors and nurses.

“Can I get a procedure,” one of the patients asks, “I want to be the first to use it!”

The device might seem like a toy – or a massive lava lamp – but in reality, it is a cutting-edge instrument used to ease the fears of patients undergoing medical procedures or other stressors...

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Dr. Srivastava and Dr. Herzog

Getting to Know Dr. Herzog and Dr. Srivastava

This month, the Department of Pediatrics at UF will honor two inaugural Children’s Miracle Network Scholars, Dr. Roland Herzog and Dr. Arun Srivastava, for their substantial contributions to the world of pediatric medicine and research. Get to know these two researchers better, as we learn more about topics like the research they are conducting to their favorite memories at UF Health Shands...

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Dr. Brad Hoffman

A Mark on Hemophilia

People thought Arun Srivastava, Ph.D., and Roland Herzog, Ph.D., were wasting their time studying the adeno-associated virus (AAV). The scientists put everything into researching an agent that does not cause any diseases, results in mild immune responses and was – at the time – considered the most boring virus.

What they discovered, however, was that those same characteristics that made AAV seem boring (it lacks pathogenicity and toxicity, it infects dividing and non-dividing cells of various tissue origins, and it has a very low host immune response and long-term expression) actually made it an ideal candidate for creating viral vectors for gene therapy...

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Brett Palaschak

Living with Hemophilia

If you covered up the green and yellow bruises on Brett Palaschak’s arms, you would never know he was different from any other 22-year-old. The only things that really separates him, he said, are the three 10-minute blood clotting factor infusions he injects into himself each week, as part of his prophylactic treatment regimen. The scheduled infusions provide his blood with the missing clotting factor as a preventative approach used to treat hemophilia.

Roughly 70 percent of hemophiliacs are diagnosed before they turn 1 month old — and one third of those babies are born into a family with no known history of the blood clotting disorder. Brett was just 3 days old when he was diagnosed, and soon after, his mother learned she was a carrier of hemophilia and had passed it to her son...

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Upcoming Events


Play Games, Heal Kids

Help Children’s Miracle Network at UF Health Shands Hospital and join the efforts of thousands of gamers who have band together to save the lives of local kids in a celebration of gaming culture called Extra Life. From console games to board games to even lawn sports, Extra Life gives people who love to play a chance to save lives ...

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Cadillac Invitational Golf Tournament benefiting PALS

Become a sponsor now for the PALS Golf tournament, benefiting PALS at UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital. For the past 13 years, Bosshardt Realty, Inc. has been supporting this tournament, raising funds and awareness for the PALS Program.  The event consists of a golf scramble, lunch, dinner and short program for the golfers and their guests.  We are fortunate ...

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Miracle Balloons

Support the UF Health Shands Children's Hospital Children's Miracle Network by purchasing a $1 Miracle Balloon at participating Great Clips and Long John Silver's locations throughout the month of October.

5 Steps to a Healthier Halloween

This year, consumers are expected to spend an average of $23 per person on Halloween candy, according to the National Retail Federation. If your child is trick-or-treating, there is no way to keep them from the mounds of candy being handed out. But, the good news is you can still keep it a special occasion in your house with some easy boundaries. Here’s how to make those sugar levels a little less spooky and lot healthier.

Full Bellies: Feed your child a substantial, healthy dinner before you head out trick-or-treating. This will help curb candy craves in between houses or when they return home.

Make it an Exercise: Instead of loading your children into a car and driving them around, have the whole family walk to each house. If your house is secluded, drive to a busier area and park.

Portion Control: Make sure your child’s candy bag is small enough to make them feel like they’ve collected enough candy. Providing them with something like a pillow case will make even a large amount look slight.

Make Piles: Have your child go through their candy and make two piles—one for candy they want and one to throw out. After you dispose of unwanted candy, establish rules for the remaining treats. Have them eat one healthy snack for one piece of candy (with a limit, like one piece a day). Or, buy back their candy with money, a toy or a fun trip.

Set the Example: Passing out healthy treats not only eliminates the risk of leftover candy, but it sets an example for your children and your neighbors. Try passing out nutritional snacks like raisins, juice boxes, pretzels, trail mix—or even nonfood items like crayons, stickers or bubbles.