Stem Cells

Stem CellPretend you are a scientist researching a new drug for liver disease. You have decided you would like to test your drug out on a very specific type of liver cell. So you take some cells you harvested from liver tissue and you grow them in colonies (which are very hard to keep alive), feed them complex nutrients to grow and thrive, and stabilize them in an environment conducive to their growth. Have you gone crazy yet? Well if you haven’t, imagine collecting the best growing cells, re-plating them and growing them again. Then picking the best cells and growing those cells again. And again. Then imagine watching the plates of those little cells you nursed to life die at the site of your new drug. Are you frustrated yet?

Stem cells could take all the guesswork and frustration out of growing cells. With the proper nutrients—or growth factors, stem cells have the potential to become the exact cell you select them to become. The growth factors send chemical signals to the cells that tell them exactly what type of cell they need to be. What a revolution! Continue reading

MMR Vaccine Rash

My son got his first Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine (MMR) a little over two weeks ago. This vaccine has gotten a lot of negative press lately, but it really IS a great vaccine. One reason why it’s so great is because it contains weakened live viral particles. Live vaccines create the strongest immune response because they are most like the disease-causing virus. The not so fun part about a live vaccine is that, because they are most like the wild virus, the body often displays some of the symptoms of the disease. Many children experience these mild symptoms with the MMR vaccine:IMG_4870


  • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
  • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (about 1 person out of 75), which occurs less often after the second dose.
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)

Because it takes time for the body to create an immune response (that we can see), many of these symptoms do not show up until around two weeks after the injection. And to the DAY, my son developed several of these mild symptoms.

I’m sure my kids don’t appreciate this, but I always find their symptoms fascinating. That’s why you see a lot of pictures of my children’s symptoms–they get everything, by the way. And I’m often happy to see these signs as I know that their bodies are making the proper response to the injection. (I know, that’s odd.)

Anyway, he ran a fever for several days about two weeks after the injection, and then he developed the measles-like rash. The rash was red and raised, mostly on his torso and face. I am including a picture of his tummy.

I wanted to post this because so many people come to me wondering if this is a serious problem or a vaccine allergy. But, in the case of the above problems, no treatment is needed, and the symptoms should go away in several days. If the child is getting worse, however, it might be wise to consult your child’s doctor.





Hand, Foot, and Mouth: If you have kids, this is a must read!

A virus that causes the hand, foot, and mouth disease has plagued my home. And since it’s taken over my days and nights, I feel the need to pull something positive from it.  I want all of you parents to know how to spot it, how to handle it, and how to protect other children from getting sickStevie's hand.

My son, Stevie, was the first to get sick, and now my daughter has it too. I’m going to share our story along with some helpful information incase this takes over your home. I also want to share the pictures I took of my son and daughter.

What is hand foot and mouth?

This is a disease caused usually by Coxsackievirus A-16 and less frequently by Enterovirus 71. This virus usually affects small children (Infants to 5 years) much worse than it does for older children and adults.

What does it look like?

Stevie's FootHand, foot, and mouth begins with a mild fever (101 F-102 F), diminished appetite, sore throat, and a general feeling of being sick. A few days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth. The sores usually begin in the back of the mouth but may move to the inside of the cheeks, tongue, gums, and lips. These sores may begin as red dots and tend to develop into blisters that may pop, leaving lesions or ulcers. This rash is then seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, knees, genital  area, and lower calf.Stevie's Toe

My son came down with the fever first, as is typical. I figured he was coming down with a little something and didn’t think much of it. A few days later he would not eat, was incredibly cranky, and just not himself. That night a few sores had appeared on his butt, calves, and feet. He did not sleep that night. In the morning his palms, calves, bottom, and feet were covered in terrible oozing blisters and red-purple spots. The next few days were long. He wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep, and couldn’t be put down. After four days of not eating, still having high fevers, and the worst blisters I’ve ever seen, I took him in to see a doctor. Like I figured, there wasn’t much he could do to help him, but he did tell me that Stevie’s case was the worst case he had ever seen. That’s why I wanted to share this story and these photos. Continue reading

Banding Together with Parents For Vaccination

Herd immunity. You may have heard this term before, but if you haven’t, herd immunity occurs when most of a community’s citizens are vaccinated against a disease. Those that are vaccinated act as a shield to block disease from spreading to those who are unable to get the vaccine. The unvaccinated in such instances are those who are too sick/allergic/too young for a specific vaccine.

Herd immunity has waned due to the rise in unvaccinated people. This is especially scary in places where large pockets of communities are unvaccinated. Many children, even those who have been vaccinated, have a higher probability of getting sick, because not all vaccines are 100% effective.

Some communities in California have the highest populations of unvaccinated children in the United States.

Los Angeles-based mom, Trisha Gum, has been asking herself if she should be sending her children to play with children who have not been vaccinated. Her children have been vaccinated, yet they’re not entirely protected in communities with dwindling herd immunity. Continue reading

Can a baby’s immune system handle more than one vaccine at a time?

Babies are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Hands and objects enter those little babies’ mouths just about every minute, exposing their immune systems to antigens on a daily basis. Their immune systems are always working to fend off intruders.

Immune system cells are constantly hard at work. But it comes to vaccines, there is no evidence that combining vaccines can “overload” an infant’s immune system. And many studies have demonstrated that a baby’s immune system can handle receiving more than one vaccine at a time.

It has been shown that infants could receive more than the recommended amount of vaccines given at a time without compromising the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately. Baby’s immune systems are much stronger than you think. According to Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines, a 1994 report from the Institute of Medicine, based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time!3 They even went so far as to say that even if all 14 childhood vaccines were given at once, only slightly more than 0.1% of the baby’s immune system capacity would be at work.

Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommend combination vaccines whenever they are available. 

Continue reading