By Krista Conger
Early on the morning of March 3, I got a call from my editor: “It sounds like Stanford is about to launch its own COVID-19 test. We need a story.”
I spent frantic hours gathering more details and interviewing infectious disease specialist Benjamin Pinsky, MD, PhD, about the research coming out of his lab.
The next day, Stanford Medicine became one of the first academic medical centers in the country to offer a test to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
By Hanae Armitage
With the United States firmly in the grip of a COVID-19 surge, the race to prevent and treat infections is more important than ever.
At the heart of this effort are drug and vaccine clinical trials that are being planned, developed and executed at an accelerated rate. To this end, the Food and Drug Administration has approved an emergency program that provides rapid reviews for COVID-19 clinical trials. …
By Ruthann Richter
A year ago, some 10,000 community members toured the grounds of the newly-constructed Stanford Hospital, admiring the gleaming seven-story building’s soaring atrium, lush gardens and private rooms with stunning views.
But in a matter of months, the community and the nation faced the growing threat of the advancing novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
The hospital’s added space, new technology and other innovations became crucial to managing the crisis.
“This state-of-the-art building was designed to enable our exceptional staff to do their very best under worst-case scenarios: mass casualty, natural disaster or even a global pandemic,” Stanford Health Care President and CEO David Entwistle told me for my recent Stanford Medicine news article about the year since the hospital welcomed its first patients. …
By Beth Duff-Brown
A lot of research has come out about COVID-19 quarantines and what families should do to protect older relatives and school-aged children. But what about people living with someone who has the virus?
Now a team of Stanford researchers with the Stanford-CIDE Coronavirus Simulation Modeling Consortium has taken a deep dive into household transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Their study, published in October in Clinical Infectious Diseases, finds that the secondary attack rate within households is 17%. This means that on average, once the first person in a previously healthy household becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2, the others have a roughly 17% chance of being infected by that person. …
By Randall Stafford
Editors’ note: We are revising two posts in the Breaking Down Diabetes series to reflect current findings on the most effective medications. The best place to begin the series is with the first post, On the road to diabetes: A look at what’s happening inside the body.
A huge assortment of 100 medications are available to treat high blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes, including two historical breakthrough drugs, insulin and metformin. The pharmaceutical industry has successfully added a few new, innovative drugs, but the most effective drugs remain the older, less expensive medications.
Let’s make some sense out of this mess of medications. …
By Erin Digitale
To date, more than 11million Americans have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Although that figure is staggering, it turns out there is an even more widespread impact of the global pandemic: Harm to individuals’ mental health.
A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more than half of American adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression between May and July, up from about 1 in 10 people reporting such symptoms in similar polling in early 2019.
As I describe in a recent feature story for Stanford Medicine magazine, Stanford psychiatrists are working to bolster mental health during the unprecedented global crisis. …
By Erin Digitale
Measuring tiny bits of genetic material in blood can provide a unique view into the development of heart failure in a specific group of patients, according to new Stanford Medicine research.
The technique also has the potential to help scientists identify new targets for drugs that treat problems with the muscle on the right side of the heart, which existing heart medications do not help.
The study, published recently in PLOS ONE, focused on adults with tetralogy of Fallot, a form of congenital heart disease. Born with a combination of four structural heart defects, these patients generally receive cardiac repair surgeries early in childhood. Though very effective, the surgeries are not perfect. …
By Beth Duff-Brown
People around the world were stunned when Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer earlier this year at age 43. How could his life be taken at a relatively young age by a disease typically associated with those who are older?
Unfortunately, colorectal cancer is now attacking younger people, particularly Black women and men. The American Cancer Society estimates that 12% of colorectal cancer cases this year will be diagnosed in people younger than 50 — largely because precancerous growths weren’t detected in early stages, before becoming malignant.
In response, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now calling on clinicians to screen for colon cancer when patients turn 45, instead of 50 — even patients who have no symptoms or personal or family history of the disease. The national panel of medical experts hopes that by closing that five-year gap, many lives will be saved. …
By Mandy Erickson
During a 2018 home game against Washington State University, David Shaw, Stanford’s football coach, ambled slowly along the sideline, his joints aching.
Wanting to focus on the players and the game, he kept the reason for his lethargy to himself. But two years later, this past Saturday, the sports world learned the full story.
A Stanford-led study found that deforestation declined in a Indonesian community after a health clinic provided an incentive to avoid illegal logging.
By Lucas Oliver Oswald
Back in the mid-2000s, researchers engaged hundreds of people in rural Indonesia in what they termed “radical listening,” in an attempt identify the driving force behind deforestation near Gunung Palung National Park.
After 400 hours of conversation, a common theme emerged: illegal logging was being used as a way to pay for desperately needed health care.
In response to the needs of the local community, a non-profit organization was formed and a health clinic was established. …