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Bio & Life Sciences

How a Database May Demystify a Deadly Children’s Disease

Iris Melendez was pregnant with her second child in 2004 when her healthy two-year old son Nathaniel developed a mild cold and a fever. A doctor diagnosed mononucleosis, but 48 hours later the boy had pneumonia, a collapsed lung, and septic shock. Two weeks later he was dead. The cause? Complications of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a sudden condition that typically begins with a lung infection and affects 10,000 or more children a year in the U.S. At least 30 percent of the time, it’s fatal. In agonizing grief, but with another baby due in 8 weeks, Melendez and her husband Hank Adamczyk began researching ARDS. They wanted to understand why Nathaniel had contracted it, and were desperate to know how to prevent their next child from falling victim to it.   More