Monday, June 29, 2009

The Latest Umbilical Cord Stem Cell News rom Cyro Cell

The following is both a sponsored post and a sort of public service announcement.
Most people know that it is possible for new parents to save their newborn's umbilical cord blood, in case that cord blood can someday save someone's life. But if you're like me, you're probably a little shaky on the details of cord blood banking.
Today, I visited the Cryo-Cell website to learn a little bit more about cord blood banking. (Cyro-Cell, by the way, is a family umbilical cord blood bank.) I read that cord blood can often be used as an alternative to bone marrow when a stem cell transplant is needed.
I wasn't even very sure what exactly a stem cell transplant was, so I had to do a little more research to find out! A stem cell transplant is often necessary for someone with a disease that causes their bone marrow to quit producing health stem cells. The purpose of a stem cell transplant is to get a person's body to start making healthy white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets again.
Often, the stem cell transplant is done with bone marrow from a healthy donor. But the process required to donate bone marrow is invasive and often painful. Collecting cord blood is more simple, and does not cause pain to the mother or the infant. If the infant ever needs a stem cell transplant in his lifetime, using the blood from his own umbilical cord can work a lot better than a bone marrow transplant. Plus, if the child's sibling ever needs a stem cell transplant, there's at least a twenty-five percent chance that the sibling can also use that umbilical cord blood!
Quite a few families who banked their infant's cord blood with Cryo-Cell have actually had to use the cord blood for their child. The website talks about one young couple that was just starting their family. They already had a two-year-old son, and the mother had just become pregnant with a second child. Then they learned that their little boy had T-cell lymphoma. The little boy started on chemotherapy, but it wasn't working, and doctors told the parents that the child's best chance for life was if he got a stem cell transplant.
Since by then the baby was due soon, the parents decided to save the new baby's cord blood. Fortunately, the cord blood was a match for the toddler! Only thirteen days after the stem cell transplant, the little boy's white cell count started doubling. He was able to leave the hospital twenty-one days after the transplant, and, so far, has never had a relapse.
Other children have used cord blood for stem cell transplants to help treat cerebral palsy, neuroblastama, Ischemic Brain Injury, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes. Most have been given their own cord blood, but many others recieved cord blood from a sibling, and a few even recieved cord blood from an aunt or uncle.
I don't know about you, but all this is extremely interesting to me. Our bodies really are awesome contraptions, aren't they? Its fascinating to think that, at birth, our body provides us with something that may someday save our lives or the lives of our loved ones.
Anyway, if you'd like to get the latest updates from Cyro-Cell about what they are doing, there are two things you can do.
You can join Cyro-Cell on Facebook, where you can get updates on events that Cyro-Cell will be involved in, add your baby's picture to the fan page, and more. Or you can follow Cyro-Cell on Twitter. You'll get updates on their latest discounts and deals. You'll also get updates on stem cell success stories. For instance, I just watched a video there about a teenaged girl who was born legally blind, and who, after receiving injections of umblilcal cord stem cells, has nearly 20/20 vision! Its a true story... it was on the news! The kid is now learning to drive... and her vision is improving every day! Now, you gotta admit, that is a miracle!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lego Therapy For CHildren With Autism

Free money making opportunity

I read an article that may be of interest to anyone who has, or works with, children with autism spectrum disorders.
Children with autism usually have some degree of difficulty with social skills. Just basic communication may be difficult, but even for kids who are able to speak, understanding what to talk about, when, and with whom, can be very hard to learn. Often, kids with autism want very badly to have friends, but just do not know how to make connections with other children.
The problem is, social skills are a very hard group of skills to actually teach to kids. Other children typically pick up social skills naturally, without needing to be formally taught. But for kids with autism, just picking this type of thing up isn't so easy. Some kids with autism go to special groups or classes to practice talking to each other, asking questions, using manners, etc. However, social skills groups and classes can be sort of contrived. And the formal curriculum of social skills taught to kids is often more like super- polite adult social skills, instead of the types of social skills that would help a nine-year-old to make friends on the playground at school.
Now, imagine a different kind of group... a group of children working together, under the guidance of therapists and other trained adult helpers, on a project involving Legos. They are trying to make a type of animated movie, by snapping many different photos of Legos in different positions, and then putting the photos together. All of the kids are interested and involved in the job, and all of them speak to each other and work together to get the job done. When one child seems to withdraw, or seems to be having trouble finding his place in the group, an adult helper gently helps fold the child back into the group.
All of the children in this group have autism. The group is meant to help them learn social skills, in a more natural setting than typical social skills group.
The group, called the Lego Club to the kids but also known as Lego Therapy, was created by Dr. Dan Legoff. While working with kids with autism, especially boys, Legoff (whose Lego-like name is just a coincidence) noticed that the kids he worked with didn't seem to be interested in most of the toys he had in his office. However, they did seem to be interested in Legos! Often, kids would come to their appointments carrying Lego creations they had made at home. Legoff also noticed that, while waiting in the waiting room for their appointments, Lego-loving kids, even those who usually were shy and had trouble initiating conversations, would start talking to each other about Legos.
Legoff did something that I wish more people who worked with kids with autism would do. He took this interest in Legos, and tried to find a way to use it to help the kids. Thats when he created the Lego Club! It The Lego Club is a very structured group, where members have a hierarchy. The children are assigned roles, with the higher roles belonging to kids who have been in the club the longest and worked the hardest. Together, the kids come up with project ideas that involve Legos, and then work together to make them into reality.
The Lego Club is a program of the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health, in Voorhees, New Jersey. As of now, the new Jersey program is probably the only existing Lego Therapy program. Because it is novel, can be expensive, and doesn't have proven results yet, the program hasn't really caught on in other places. But, even if the medical community doesn't embrace Lego Therapy, perhaps parents, teachers, and mentors of children with autism will think about creating their own Lego clubs!

Happy Easter!

Easter Glitter Graphics

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Commercial Break: Win A Home Makeover!

The following is a sponsored post. Please visit our sponsor's site to thank them for helping us to make more contributions to children's organizations!

I always love watching those shows on TV, where people get their homes completely redone. Wouldn't it be cool to get a home makeover? It would be like having a whole new house, without all the hassle of actually moving! Having a home makeover would give me a change to get organized like never before, and it would definitely be a nice change!
Actually, right now all of us have a chance at winning a home makeover from TriScents You just have to convince them, and a bunch of voters, that you really deserve it!
All you have to do is write a short essay (less than 250 words) and a short video (less than two minutes long) about your house and why it needs a makeover. (See official rules for more info on that!)
While you're at the site, you might as well download the coupon offered, so you can try out TriScents for yourself! Maybe the beautiful scents will inspire you to enter to win the home makeover!
What are you waiting for! This is your big chance to get the home makeover you need! Make your quick video, write your short essay, and have fun!

Friday, March 21, 2008

World Down Syndrome Day!

Today is World DOwn Syndrome Day! My nephew Brandon, age 11, wants to say something.
"On Down Syndrome Day many schools do an activity called Mathathon to get money to donate to St. Jude's Research Hospital. For every math problem they do, whoever sponsored you owes you the money that they told you they'd give you for each question. And thats pretty much it!"
(I don't know if the mathathon is really for Down Syndrome day, but my nephew really wanted to mention it!)
For more info about World Down Syndrome Day, check out this website!Sorry I can't write more today... I'm trying to watch all these crazy kids!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day!

Today is a very important day for anyone who has children in their lives. Its Absolutely Incredible Kid Day! Created by Campfire USA, this is a day where adults are encouraged to write letters to the children in their lives, recognizing them for being Absolutely Incredible Kids!
Everyone has at least one Absolutely Incredible Kid in their lives. The kid doesn't actually have to have done something heroic, like rescued a baby from a burning house or singlehandedly started a non-profit organization at the age of eight! In fact, most of the kids in our lives are Absolutely Incredible for lots of little reasons. For instance, a kid who always looks after her little brother, a kid who is living with a disability or medical condition, a kid who works very hard in school, a kid who always makes you laugh, etc!
At the Absolutely Incredible Kid Day site, you can get tips for writing a letter to a kid. The letters don't have to be long and mushy. In fact, since these are kids we're writing too, and they're not usually known for their great attention spans, short and sweet may be the best way to go! Here is an example from the site:
Hello! March 18th [1999] is Incredible Kids Day. And do you know what? I think you are the most incredible, helpful, wonderful kid on the planet!! Whoever knew a ten-year old boy could do so much to help everyone he knows? Whoever knew a ten-year old boy could be so smart? I don’t know, but it’s all in your, my cool little brother! Always helping Kuya when he can’t write out or read his homework, or helping me separate the clothes for the laundry. Also, thanks for always getting the cordless phone when we were all too lazy! Anthony, you were always listening whenever I would tell a story, even though everyone had already stopped listening!! Anthony, you are so funny when you copy The Simpsons! And you’ve come to be such an awesome dancer! You’re even better than me sometimes! WOW! You are so cool! Basically, I’m giving this to you to tell you how special you are: to me, to your Kuya, to family. We love you.


Note: “Kuya” means older brother and “Ate” means older sister in Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines.

You can even download special stationery at the site!
If your kid is more of a techy, you could also email her, text message her, or send her an e-card!

So, what are you waiting for? Today, make sure you let the Absolutely Incredible Kids in your life know how you feel about them!
Have fun!

Commercial Break: The Sedona Method

The following is a sponsored post. Please visit our sponsor's site to thank them for allowing us to make more contributions to children's organizations!
I've noticed that more and more people these days are becoming interested in spiritual enlightenment. What used to be thought of as crazy, new age concepts are now starting to become common place, as people start taking a closer look at their lives and thinking about what is important to them.
Have you ever heard of the Sedona Method? This is a course that teaches people to find happiness and enlightenment by simply letting go of pain and worry. The Method is referred to as the technique to a new earth, because the more people who learn the Method and use it in their lives, our world will change drastically... for the better!
Apparently, one of the secrets to the Sedona Method is that it doesn't try to get people to cover their negative thoughts with positive ones, the way some other methods do. For instance, for a person who lives with depression, some methods might tell the person to just refuse to acknowledge the depression, forcing themselves to think "happy" thoughts. According to the Sedona Method, this doesn't necessarily work, because it is similar to pushing down and denying negative feelings, and the same feelings or issues can surface in other ways. The person convincing themselves they no longer have depression may suddenly start feeling stomach pain or feeling lots of anxiety instead! With the Sedona Method, people are taught to acknowledge and explore the negativity in their lives, get to the bottom of it, and see that it is really just an illusion.
I'm always interested in learning about things like this, so I'm definitely going to check out the Sedona Method! Are you?