Shahla Farzan

Shahla Farzan is a general assignment reporter and weekend newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio. She comes most recently from KBBI Public Radio in Homer, Alaska, where she covered issues ranging from permafrost thaw to disputes over prayer in public meetings. A science nerd to the core, Shahla spent six years studying native bees, eventually earning her PhD in ecology from the University of California-Davis. She has also worked as an intern at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento and a podcaster for BirdNote. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, combing flea markets for tchotchkes, and curling up with a good book. 

Before she was the interim minister at the Central Christian Church of Austin, Janet Maykus was a chaplain in health care settings, a job that required training in infectious disease control. So when she heard reports of the coronavirus spreading in some U.S. communities, she knew it was time to overhaul religious practices at her church.

People treated for drug-resistant MRSA often develop infections again and again — even multiple times in a single year.

Part of the problem is the hardiness of the bacteria responsible, which can live on household surfaces for months.

Washington University researchers report family members who share specific items, including towels and bedsheets, are more likely to pass the bacteria to each other. The team, which spent a year collecting bacteria samples from St. Louis families, also found that children who attend day care were often the ones who brought MRSA bacteria home. 

Elsie McGrath is an unlikely renegade.

For much of her life, the 81-year-old tried to avoid confrontation and follow the rules.

But that changed in 2007, when she became an ordained priest — and in doing so, broke one of the most fundamental rules in Roman Catholicism.

"This was definitely not part of the plan," McGrath said, of her ordination. "This was what the spirit within me was leading me to."

She was excommunicated along with fellow priest Rose Marie Hudson and Bishop Patricia Fresen, who ordained the two at a synagogue in St. Louis.

FILE PHOTO | SHAHLA FARZAN | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

B’nai Sholom temple has stood on a quiet, tree-lined street in Quincy, Illinois, for almost 150 years.

When Lisa and Dan Macheca bought a century-old Methodist church in St. Louis back in 2004, they didn't think much about the cost of heating the place.

Then the first heating bill arrived: $5,000 for a single month.

"I felt like crying," Lisa Macheca said. "Like, 'Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?' "

For more than 80 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has identified newborns as underweight if they weigh less than 5 and a half pounds.

But some researchers argue this one-size-fits-all approach ignores the fact that infants vary naturally in size based on their genes and environment.

St. Louis University researchers compared birth weights of siblings and found younger siblings who weighed at least a pound less than their older sibling at birth, were twice as likely to die in the first month of life.

Some tuberculosis bacteria are harder to kill than others.

Patients infected with certain drug-resistant tuberculosis strains have to take multiple antibiotics continuously for up to two years to treat the infection. Research from Washington University now shows these resistant strains share a single mutation that weakens the host immune response.

Decriminalizing marijuana doesn’t necessarily lead to an increase in adolescent use, according to research from Washington University.