In the Press

How a bacterium that causes flesh-eating disease nearly killed me

By Erin Killian - December 2

Recently, a friend sent me a text, with a link to a news story: “Did you see this?!”

I clicked. The story was about a healthy 33-year-old woman in Nova Scotia who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria after giving birth in March. After going into septic shock, she was placed in a medically induced coma. She had all four of her limbs amputated and a total hysterectomy — and now she’s suing the hospital and doctors for negligence.

The story made my stomach drop, and I felt flutters in my chest. That story could have been about me.

Facing the bioterrorism threat: New Stanford group aims to find ways to minimize risks

Few topics generate more fear — in Hollywood movies and real life — than a biological weapons attack. This week Stanford University launched a Biosecurity Initiative that will bring together biologists, bioengineers, legal scholars, and policy experts to coordinate research and education about these threats.

One key goal: To help scientists understand how to mitigate risks that might come from their own experiments.

New insight to the effects of the Zika virus on cranial malformatity and brain size in infants

Dr. Catherine Blish and team published how the Zika virus effects the neural cranial crest cells. 

Zika fever is an effect of the tropical disease known for causing birth defects when mosquitoes carrying the virus transmits it to pregnant women.

Symptoms are mild and may cause fever, rash, aches in joints and red eyes.

ABC7 chronicles one story of an athlete turned victim of CFS

A once athletic teenager found herself exhausted after a case of mono. Kelsey Vischer's active life stopped until she was directed to Stanford's Dr. Montoya, whom has challenged the medical society as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome being a "real" disease. 

Need no fear for antibacterial agent in consumer household products

Triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient found in toothpastes, soaps, detergents, some cosmetics—even toys and more.

However, consumers have been worried for 50 years how might this chemical disrupt the body's hormones in the longterm—so much so that manufacturers removed this agent from store shelves.

But a NIH-funded study by Dr. Julie Parsonnet and her team showed no significant effects to the body when exposed to triclosan-laden products.

Abstinence for hindering HIV isn't an effective method

Aimed at preventing the spread of HIV was the U.S. government's agenda for Africa the past decade under the PEPFA (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

But researchers at Stanford did not see a correlation between promoting abstinence and prevention.

Dr. Eran Bendavid comments further in this NPR article.

C-section babies may miss important protective bacteria during birth

Babies born through the birth canal get a big dose of important microbiomes that may be important later in life. 

Researchers hinted at the possibility of partially giving back some of the mother's bugs to infants born by cesarean by swabbing a mother's microbes just after birth.

Exposure to certain bacteria can lead to a strong immune system, but so far, more research is needed to see if the swabbing technique works.


A common HIV drug may no longer be effective to some

A preferred drug called Tenofovir—used to help treat and prevent the human immunodeficiency virus worldwide—has become the epicenter of concern after cases of resistance to the virus that causes AIDS.

According to one doctor, drug resistance can either be caused by misuse of the drug and the virus mutates, or the person is infected with the mutated virus.

Dr. Bob Shafer comments further.


One woman's story on misdiagnosis and chronic fatigue syndrome

Dr. Jose Montoya reveals how a disease with a public misconception called chronic fatigue syndrome is more than feeling tired.

Though the cause is unknown, the disease is influenced by genetic or environmental factors.

Jason Andrews tells BBC why extended parasitic treatment to adults is cost-effective

A large-scale de-worming treatment program is needed to rid 1.5 billion people of harmful parasites.

Currently, school-aged children in highly affected areas are the primary focus for treatment, but Stanford researchers suggest targeting whole communities.

Assistant Professor of ID, Dr. Paul Bollyky and his lab found a prevention for Type 1 diabetes in mice 

"Although the study was in mice, they believe the drug ultimately could be used to stop a disease that afflicts one in 300 people in the United States."