BTN LiveBIG: Michigan State doc clocks hard-hitting disease with haymaker

BTN LiveBIG: Michigan State doc clocks hard-hitting disease with haymaker

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During football and basketball games, BTN LiveBIG will spotlight notable examples of research, innovation and community service from around the conference. In-Game stories will provide more background on these features, and the opportunity to view the videos again.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fight of the century!

In this corner, we have malaria, an infectious disease that kills at least 500,000 — and possibly close to a million — people per year. Its victims are primarily African children who have little to no access to even rudimentary medical treatment.

In the opposite corner, we have…Terrie Taylor, a relentless fighter who brings passion, innovation and Spartan spirit into the ring.

The matchup above may not get Floyd Mayweather coverage, and Taylor may not be the sole “contender” in the fight against malaria, but the stakes here are much higher than any boxing match.

This Michigan State professor and medical doctor has spent an incredible three decades throwing uppercuts and jabs at the illness. She’s logged countless hours treating young patients and trying to find ways to deliver the final knockout blow.

And now, it appears she’s finally on the verge of a breakthrough: Taylor and a medical team operating in the African nation of Malawi recently to figured out exactly how malaria claims so many victims in that part of the world using MRI scans and autopsies on deceased patients.

Their findings showed that cerebral malaria, a particularly virulent form of the disease, is behind the high death toll. It essentially swells the brain, which in turn shuts down a patient’s ability to breathe.

Knowledge, as they say, is half the battle. Equipped with an awareness of what’s afflicting malaria victims, Taylor hopes to put this disease down for the count.

Watch the one-minute video above to learn more about Taylor’s work.

By Brian Summerfield

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