Children's Neurosurgeon on Translational Research, A Heroic Mom — And Febreze

With permission from
Addi and Cassi Hempel: "Mommy, I'm a little tired."When Dr. Joe Madsen isn't busy slicing into children's brains — I once observed him remove a hippocampus, and will never forget seeing the essence of human memory as a bit of quivering tissue in a container — he sometimes blogs.
His most recent piece on Children's Hospital's excellent Vector blog describes a heroic mother's latest venture into the world of medical research in hopes of saving twin daughters with a rare and fatal cholesterol disease. It's a compelling tale of stem cells, experimental methods and the desperate need for FDA approval when lives are at stake. Add to the mix, believe it or not, an ingredient from Febreze, the air freshener. (Says Chris Hempel, the twins' mother: "It's hard to believe an ingredient found in a product in my laundry room could save my twins' brains, and lives.")

Courtesy of Children's Hospital Boston
Dr. Joseph MadsenDr. Madsen is a lively and candid writer, but for me, what really sets him apart is his ringing admiration for the courageous parents of young patients. He ends his post:

...We are now witnesses to a dramatic and exciting struggle to save the lives of two small girls. We don’t know how it will turn out. But the Hempel family has been sprinting along on a very narrow bridge high in the sky, undeterred by fear. We salute them, stand with them, and offer our best hope and any help as needed.

This program aired on November 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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