Author Archives: Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Tell stories about lab rats on the radio

A cup of coffee with a former journalist colleague led Rhode Island radio reporter Lynn Arditi down the path of reporting on “superbugs,” the term for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Arditi’s former colleague was working for LifeSpan, a large Rhode Island health system, and pitched her the story of a study authored by one of its lead researchers and infectious diseases specialists. The study was about the discovery of a set of compounds that could become a new class of antibiotics to treat drug-resistant bacteria. Continue reading

Lack of vaccinations leaves some older adults vulnerable

Photo: Global Panorama via Flickr

Many adults are not getting the vaccines they need; often because of the cost or a belief that they are healthy and don’t need them, two public health experts told AHCJ during a members-only webcast last month.

While health care providers generally do an effective job of vaccinating children, less than half of American adults are getting vaccinations for the flu (influenza), hepatitis B, shingles (zoster) and whooping cough (pertussis). Continue reading

Researchers warn that evidence about microbiome’s role is preliminary

Jonathan Bailey, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH via Flickr

PHOENIX – Journalists who write about health claims connected to the microbiome – the army of bacteria that live on and in the body – should exercise skepticism because most research has yet to determine the microbiome’s precise role in health and disease.

In fact, the scientific evidence is still so scant, probiotics sold on the market, like Culturelle, are probably not as beneficial as advertised, two scientists who spoke at AHCJ’s annual conference said. Continue reading

Simulated birth and 3D brain mass part of AHCJ field trip tour

Photo: Bara VaidaMichael Foley, M.D., shows AHCJ members, how to “deliver” a baby at University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. The school uses robotic dummies to simulate real-life situations so that medical students can practice care delivery before working on real people.

PHOENIX – Seventeen members of the Association of Health Care Journalists watched a simulated birth and viewed a giant brain mass through 3D glasses as part of a whirlwind tour of three Phoenix-area health care institutions on Thursday.

The tour was one of two field trips offered by AHCJ at its annual conference. Journalists visited the cancer center at Mayo Clinic-Phoenix, Banner-University Medical Center Phoenix, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

During the jam-packed day, Mayo Clinic officials showed off photon beam therapy and provided a tour of its cancer center, including its Precision Neurotherapeutics lab. Continue reading

Putting a human face on new antimicrobial research

Photo: CDC/Courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health LaboratoryA positive result of a phage test showing diminished growth (arrowhead) where a gamma phage suspension had been applied.

A desire to put a human face to antibiotic resistance led reporter Chris Dall to dig into the relatively unknown world of viral research aimed at killing superbugs.

Dall began investigating bacteriophages, which are viruses that kill bacteria, when he was assigned a story to write about a study that appeared in the scientific journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in August 2017. The report dryly described a method of using viruses to save a 68-year-old man, who was dying from an antibiotic-resistant infection. Continue reading