Malaria can cause cerebral malaria which results in a coma and is associated with a high risk for morbidity and death. Johanna Daily, M.D., M.S., has received a five-year, $2.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to investigate how malaria infection causes coma and find strategies to improve outcomes.
Dr. Daily and colleagues have shown that children with cerebral malaria have high blood levels of the amino acid pipecolic acid (PA) compared with children with mild malaria (no coma). Elevated blood levels of PA have been associated with neurologic dysfunction in other diseases. The researchers will determine how the parasite produces PA and if its production can be blocked. They will also use animal models to explore how PA causes coma. The researchers hope to gain insights into how PA affects consciousness and into the molecular pathways leading to coma—knowledge that could lead to therapies for treating cerebral malaria.
Dr. Daily is professor of microbiology & immunology and of medicine at Einstein and an infectious disease physician at Montefiore. (1R01AI164864-01A1)
Posted on: Wednesday, August 24, 2022