Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fighting for his life after he contracted a strain of E. coli

A Minnesota boy is fighting for his life after he contracted a strain of E. coli — the same one that killed his younger sister earlier this week.

Kade, 5, and Kallan Maresh, 3, of Wright County, were sickened by an infection called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) on July 9, Fox 9 reported. The siblings battled symptoms including non-stop bloody stool and vomiting, eventually leading them into acute kidney failure.

Last week, Kallan, who would have turned 4 years old next month, died when the Shiga toxin from the bacteria attacked the toddler’s kidneys and neurological system.



“Her brain and heart were being damaged,” her parents, Joseph and Tyffani Maresh, wrote on their donation site, CaringBridge. “Our sweet sweet little girl lost the battle.”

“We got to hold her free of tubes and snuggle and kiss her. She is the most amazing little girl in the world. Our hearts are aching with the deepest sadness,” they wrote in the post.


The parents said their son “is still fighting” despite the toxins reaching his neurological system.

“He has had a blood transfusion [and] is on kidney dialysis and may need platelets,” the post read. “He has a long road to recovery and we hope and pray the toxins stay away from his brain and heart and other organ systems.”

Sweeteners may not be risk free

People hoping to lose a few pounds by substituting artificial sweeteners for regular sugar may end up disappointed, suggests a fresh look at past research.

The review of 37 studies suggests the use of so-called non-nutritive sweeteners could be linked to weight gain and other undesirable outcomes like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

“From all that research, there was no consistent evidence of a long term benefit from the sweetener, but there was evidence for weight gain and increased risks of other cardiometabolic outcomes,” said lead author Meghan Azad, of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and stevioside are growing increasingly popular as evidence mounts that sugar is fueling the obesity epidemic, Azad and colleagues write in CMAJ.

The artificial sweeteners are chemically different than sugar. They activate receptors on the tongue that lets the brain know the person is eating or drinking something sweet.

Past research on these sweeteners shows a mixed bag of results, including links to weight gain, as well as links to weight loss, according to the authors of the new review.

For the analysis, they looked through the medical literature for studies examining possible links between artificial sweeteners and weight or health issues like obesity.

The researchers found seven randomized controlled trials, which are considered the gold-standard of medical research. Some of the trials, for example, compared people who drank artificially sweetened beverages to people who drank water. The researchers also found 30 studies that followed people using the sweeteners over time.

Premature newborn battle for lives

A Texas pastor is asking for prayers for his wife who fell critically ill after giving birth to their premature daughter. Daniel Villarreal, who has been keeping supporters updated in a series of Facebook posts, said his wife, Jannelle, had difficulties while recovering from an emergency C-section performed on July 10.

The couple’s daughter, Eden Raine, was born premature at 31 weeks gestation, and placed in the hospital’s NICU. However, Janelle was transferred to Methodist Specialist and Transplant Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with HELLP Syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia.

“Our doctor just stated, ‘I don’t know if you believe in prayer, but if you do, there’s never been a time to be more focused on praying for two things, your liver and your kidneys,’” he wrote in the post, which was shared 277 times. “Jannelle is fighting for her life. There are two things we want to pray: 1.) For spontaneous liver rupture not to happen 2.) The damage that has happened to kidneys reverses and kidneys return to normal.”

Follow up posts revealed that Eden’s birth came after the couple’s son was born stillborn at 21 weeks last year. Villarreal, who also has a 12-year-old daughter with Jannelle, revealed that doctors tabled the liver transplant for Jannelle after hers began functioning again.

A July 17 request for a “Prayer from every nation” from Villarreal asked supporters to pray for Jannelle’s immune system and internal organs.

The latest update said Villarreal had started spoon-feeding Jannelle as she continued to recover.

“Her kidneys still need to awaken. Her blood still needs to be in order. Her lungs are still weak. We are seeing GREAT progress but last night was long and was a struggle,” he wrote. “We pray for total healing and no long term effects. We need miracles.”