Consuming certain types of alcohol over long periods of time as well as binge drinking both speed up biological aging, according to a recent Northwestern Medicine study.
The Department of Ophthalmology has received a Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Challenge Grant to support investigators advancing the field of ophthalmology and vision science.
Transgender and nonbinary youth experienced sustained improvements in depression and anxiety over two years after starting treatment with gender-affirming hormones, according to a recent study.
The recommendation to reach 10,000 steps a day has long been the gold standard for staying fit and improving heart health. But new research suggests that it might not be the magic number after all.
Northwestern University professors Luisa Iruela-Arispe, PhD, Murali Prakriya, PhD, Linda A. Teplin, PhD and Teri W. Odom, PhD, have been selected as 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general scientific society in the world.
A new way to significantly increase the potency of almost any vaccine has been developed by Northwestern scientists.
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Obesity training in medicine is still relatively unusual. Obesity affects so many people — 42% of Americans — and is linked to more than 200 other chronic conditions and major causes of death, from heart and kidney disease to diabetes. Its impact on patients and their health care is hard to overstate. And yet, even as scientific understanding of the disease evolves rapidly, doctors are taught very little about the causes of obesity in medical school, and even less about how to counsel or help those who have it. One 2020 survey found medical schools spend, on average, 10 hours on obesity education. That’s insufficient, given the wide-reaching impact obesity has across the medical profession, says Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor of medicine and medical education at Northwestern University and co-author of the survey. He says the problem also perpetuates itself: “There aren’t a lot of people trained in obesity,” he says, and “if you weren’t trained in medical school and you didn’t take it upon yourself to learn about it, you’re not going to be in a position to be an informed, expert faculty member.” As a result of the training deficit, health care providers themselves often perpetuate weight stigma or misconceptions about how best to treat patients who have it.
Being overweight in midlife has been linked to greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and a new study shows that brain changes in obese people mirror some of those with Alzheimer’s. However, the research and science isn’t entirely clear. One limitation in the research is that it doesn’t directly report on what people are eating, just that they’re obese, said Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, chief of nutrition at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved with the study. “Given that, it leaves a lot of room for speculation and hypothesis generation,” Van Horn said. “Intuitively, you would think it would have an impact on various organs including the brain.” While the hope is that weight loss could stop or reduce the brain degeneration, “we, unfortunately, are discovering more and more that there are certain points of no return,” Van Horn said.
On social media, diet enthusiasts claim that a sludge of papaya seeds can fight off parasites. Every year, the wellness world hawks “cleanses,” often liquid diets that mainly consist of vegetable and fruit juices. A day or three (or eight) of drinking all your meals, and you’ll purge any toxins from your body, cleanse manufacturers say. Your skin will clear; your stomach will shrink. You will feel, more or less, pure. But there is scant evidence to back any of these claims. “There’s no major research done on most of the cleanses that are out there,” Dr. Melinda Ring, an integrative medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine, said. However, some people do say that they feel better while on a cleanse — that they sleep better, have more energy or think more clearly. Nutrition experts say that people who try cleanses may report positive benefits in the short term — but not because of the specific slush they’re drinking.
According to the American Heart Association, roughly every 40 seconds, someone in this country has a heart attack. And heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women in the U.S. But, the CDC found that only about 56% of women are aware of that. Kristen Walenga is a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest. She collapsed in 2019 while at home with her children. Her 15-year-old son saved her life. Walenga said she didn’t even know her son had learned CPR while in middle school. Now, she’s working to make sure others know how to perform this life-saving procedure. Mercedes Carnethon, PhD is the president of the American Heart Association Chicago Metropolitan Board and vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The risk factors for heart disease for women and men are very similar. We often are very aware of the genetic component. But, an even larger component is our lifestyle behaviors. Smoking is one of the leading, modifiable behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Inactivity, short sleep or poor quality sleep and a poor diet. All of those contribute to the development of risk factors such obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes. And those combine to be the reasons why we see cardiovascular disease in women and men,” Carnethon said.