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Alumna makes critical diagnosis, featured on Good Morning America

By Philip Hadley
University News Service
February 13, 2008


Mary Kay Koenig

Mary Kay Koenig, a 1996 Texas State University-San Marcos microbiology alumna, was featured on Good Morning America on Jan. 23, after she successfully diagnosed a mystery illness that plagued a four-month old baby.

When baby Rosenda Rivera began displaying strange symptoms his mother started to have a feeling something was wrong. He went from laughing and playing to a baby who showed little emotion and had trouble holding his head up.

“Doctors could not understand why baby Rosendo continued to deteriorate and had up to 60 seizures a day,” Koenig said. “He was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, an untreatable condition that prevents the body from producing energy.”

In 2007 Rosendo’s mother met Koenig at a mitochondrial disorder conference in San Diego, Calif. Koenig, a medical doctor specializing in mitochondrial medicine and an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Houston Medical School, believed Rosendo might have been misdiagnosed.

“Rosendo had been tested for a majority of conditions by previous physicians, but had not been tested for cerebral folate deficiency,” Koenig said. “Folate deficiency is treatable with a daily salynic acid supplement.”

Because Rosendo was properly diagnosed and treated before the age of three, he is expected to have a full recovery. Koenig said she is happy that she was able to help Rosendo and his family.

“Rosendo is doing much better now and is recovering quickly,” Koenig said. “Anytime you can help someone that much it’s just an amazing feeling. I am still in contact with the family and they come visit me every other month.”

Konig said she is thankful for her professors at Texas State and for the direction they provided her.

“I think it is important to say that part of the foundation for my education came from Texas State University,” Koenig said. “I believe that my education there has certainly helped advance my career.”

For more information on folic acid deficiency, contact Koenig at (832) 325-7151.