Posted: Sep 6, 2012 3:58 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
Updated: Sep 6, 2012 5:48 PM
"I think you need to be careful this winter especially with large crowds. Make sure that you avoid enclosed spaces," said Dr. Rene H. Bravo, who owns Bravo Pediatrics in San Luis Obispo, as he did a routine check-up on 13-year-old Taylor Cottrell.
After 13 years of hospital beds and doctors offices with illusive answers Taylor Cottrell finally got diagnosed with Natural Killer Cell Deficiency.
"It's sort of like a dent in the immune system, and it's the part of the immune system that defends the body against intra-cellular infections, so viruses and some bacteria," said Dr. Andreas Kogelnik, Director of the Open Medicine Institute.
"You have to think of it as the malfunctioning of the body to defend itself," said Bravo.
So you sneeze and Taylor gets pneumonia. The research is limited on this deficiency, but scientists and physicians want to raise awareness because they are finding that it is more common than they thought.
"There a number of diseases that appear to be related to these natural killer cell deficiencies," said Dr. Kogelnik.
"I think if they can unlock this key, they can unlock the key to a lot of other illnesses," said Dr. Bravo.
It's thought to be genetic, but there are cases of people developing it over time. The reason is unknown. From recent blood work, doctors at Children's Hospital Los Angles said Taylor showed signs that her condition developed over the last 13 years.
"The last time we studied her everything seems to be normal," said Dr. Joseph Church, Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Normal is Taylor's dream come true, and her doctors said taking to the waves is not a threat to her immune system, but she still has to be careful.
"Just because people look okay does not mean they are okay," said Dr. Church.
Natural Killer Cell Deficiency attacks the body from the inside out.
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