Making National News


Making Headlines
Faculty members at the Feinberg School of Medicine and their colleagues in the life sciences at Northwestern University frequently are quoted or featured in national and/or international news stories. Here is a selection of recent media coverage. Links to the original stories are provided but please note that you may be required to register with the news organization to access them and that they may be expired.

A Drink a Day Raises Women’s Risk of Cancer, Study Indicates
Washington Post February 25, 2009

For years, many women have been buoyed by the news about one of life’s guilty pleasures: That nightly glass of wine may not only take the edge off a day but also improve their health. Now it turns out that sipping pinot noir might not be such a good idea after all…

As it turns out, the federal government is rewriting its dietary guidelines, including the part about alcohol consumption, and will consider the new study in that process.

“No one study is ever sufficient to make a recommendation,” said Linda Van Horn, a professor of preventive medicine at NORTHWESTERN University who is chairing the committee revising the guidelines. “But it will be added to the body of literature that will be reviewed.”…

Body has Holes; Can Surgeons Use Them?
Omaha World-Herald February 13, 2009

An appendix pulled out through the mouth. A gallbladder removed through the vagina.

It almost sounds bizarre. But surgeons at a handful of medical centers across the country are performing these experimental procedures.

This type of surgery, which involves removing organs through natural body openings, could be available locally if a Nebraska Medical Center surgeon succeeds in making a device to improve the procedure…

Dr. Nathaniel Soper, chairman of the surgery department at NORTHWESTERN University, said no major complications have been reported in the United States from the surgery. He has performed it himself and said a study beginning within the next year will compare it with laparoscopic surgery to assess risks and benefits…

Statins: Evidence of Broader Benefits
Time February 10, 2009,8599,1878543,00.html

Statins, those wonder drugs that reduce cholesterol, have proven to be a lifesaver for people at high risk of having a heart attack. Among those who have already suffered one heart attack, statins have shown to cut the risk of another event by more than 30%, making them indispensable for the 8 million people in the U.S. who fall into this category.

What has been trickier to show is whether statins can also help healthy people avoid a first heart attack. But a new 10-year study of nearly 230,000 patients by researchers in Israel hints that the drugs may be up to the challenge…

“We now have some growing evidence that indeed when statins are prescribed in the right indication in the right amounts, they can reduce heart attack and stroke and reduce death from cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Robert Bonow, chief of cardiology of NORTHWESTERN University and past president of the American Heart Association…

This story was also carried on the following news outlets:

Steady Cholesterol-Pill Use Found to Cut Death Risk Almost Half
Bloomberg February 9, 2009

Separating Heart Facts, Fiction for Healthier Ticker
Chicago Sun-Times February 10, 2009,CST-NWS-heart10.article

Uh, O!
Newsweek February 9, 2009

When Dr. Lauren Streicher, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NORTHWESTERN University’s medical school in Chicago, got a call from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” inviting her to discuss menopausal hormones with actress Suzanne Somers, she figured she’d better read Somers’s best-selling books on the subject.

As Streicher worked her way through the first chapter, she started underlining every sentence she felt was inaccurate. “But pretty soon, I had to stop,” Streicher says, “because I was underlining almost everything.” The taping of the show, which aired Jan. 29, proved equally disconcerting…

Talk is Cheap—But Very Sexy
Chicago Tribune February 8, 2009,0,5792814.story

…Dismiss it at your peril, because running your mouth can create all kinds of sparks in the bedroom. According to the experts, intellectual stimulation really can lead to that other kind of stimulation—hello, libido!—and frankly, who isn’t down with that?…

“The back-and-forth can be very exciting,” says Dr. Neera Mehta, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “And when people get excited, they have the same physiological response that they do when they get excited by physical stimulation—your pulse gets faster and you experience the kind of cues that we get when we’re aroused. It’s fun, it’s spontaneous, you don’t know where it’s going. All of that.”…

Building a Better Eyelash
Chicago Tribune February 8, 2009,0,777488.story

Some women are graced with long, thick eyelashes. But if nature doesn’t provide them, there’s a cosmetic that can. Or make that, a cosmetic pharmaceutical.-Next month the drug company Allergan—the folks who brought us Botox—will begin offering a product called Latisse. When applied to the upper lash line daily, the drug has been shown to lengthen and thicken eyelashes. Poof! Fantastic eyelashes—without a lick of mascara.

“Allergan is the Microsoft of cosmetic pharmaceuticals, so you know it’s going to be well-marketed,” says Dr. Simon Yoo, assistant professor of dermatology at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine…

Surviving Childhood Cancer
Ivanhoe Broadcast News February 4, 2009

Aarati Didwania, MD, assistant professor of medicine, discusses STARS, a unique medical support program that addresses unique physical and mental health issues facing adult survivors of childhood cancers.

The program is run by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

This story was also carried on the following news outlets:

February 6: Aarati Didwania, MD, assistant professor of medicine, discusses STARS, a unique medical support program that addresses unique physical and mental health issues facing adult survivors of childhood cancers. KOAM-TV (Pittsburg), WCBI-TV (Columbus), WCTV-TV (Tallassee), WSLI- TV (Paducah).

February 9: Feature on the STARS program, a unique medical support program that addresses physical and mental health issues facing adult survivors of childhood cancers. WMBD-TV (Peoria).

February 24: Feature on the STARS program, a unique program dealing with children who have had cancer. WPTV-TV (West Palm Beach).

March 11, 2009: Surviving Childhood Cancer, WFTV (Fla.)

Insulin Might Become Alzheimer’s Treatment
UPI February 2, 2009

U.S. medical researchers say they’ve determined the use of insulin might slow or even prevent the damage and memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

NORTHWESTERN University researchers said they found insulin might be able to shield memory-forming synapses from harm caused by toxic proteins produced by the disease.-The scientists say their discovery provides additional evidence that Alzheimer’s could be due to a novel third form of diabetes.

“Therapeutics designed to increase insulin sensitivity in the brain could provide new avenues for treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said senior author Professor William Klein of NORTHWESTERN’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “Sensitivity to insulin can decline with aging, which presents a novel risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Our results demonstrate that bolstering insulin signaling can protect neurons from harm.”…

This story was also carried on the following news outlets:

Insulin May Protect Against Alzheimer’s
U.S. News and World Report February 3, 2009

Insulin Protects Brain from Alzheimer’s: U.S. Study
Reuters (also in Montreal Gazette) February 2, 2009

Insulin for Alzheimer’s Disease
Science Central February 2, 2009

Insulin May Be Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease
The Times (UK) February 3, 2009

U.S. Study: Insulin Possible New Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
China View February 2, 2009

Alzheimer’s ‘is Brain Diabetes’
BBC February 2

Insulin May Protect Mind, Memory
WebMD February 2, 2009

Marrow Stem Cells May Reverse MS
USA Today February 5, 2009

February 2: Reference to research by William Klein, professor of neurobiology and physiology, on a possible new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. CLTV, WGN-TV (Chicago), WLNK-FM, KVII-TV (Amarillo), KIDK-TV, KMGH-TV (Denver),WISN (Milwaukee), WRIC-TV (Richmond), KIFI-TV (Idaho Falls), KTKA-TV (Topeka), News Channel 8 (Washington, D.C.), KLKN-TV (Lincoln), KRLD-AM (Dallas), WTIC-AM (Hartford), WTOP-AM (Washington, D.C.), WWJ-AM (Detroit), KNX-AM (Los Angeles), KCBS-(San Francisco), WBT-AM (Charlotte), KTRH-AM (Houston), WCCO-AM (Minneapolis), WBAL-AM (Baltimore), WFLA—AM (Tampa).

February 4: Reference to research by William Klein, professor of neurobiology and physiology, on a possible new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. WGFL-TV (Gainesville), KABC-TV (Los Angeles), WSIL-TV (Paducah).

How To Avoid A Heart Attack
Forbes February 2, 2009

Six inches of fluffy snow can be the perfect antidote to winter’s depressing grayness—at least until the sidewalk needs shoveling.

That’s when overzealous homeowners decide that pushing and lifting heaps of snow is a great way to catch up on months of missed visits to the gym. To make matters worse, too many of these shovelers are overweight smokers with early-stage cardiovascular disease. The result: Winter is the season with the greatest risk of heart attacks…

While these are necessary preliminary steps, they won’t address your underlying risk factors, says Dr. Martha Daviglus, professor of preventive medicine at NORTHWESTERN University and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. These factors include diabetes, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle, all of which can strain the heart.

“The artery may already be full of plaque,” says Daviglus, describing the buildup of cholesterol, which narrows and hardens the artery wall. “It’s just waiting for that one thing.”…

This story was also carried on the following news outlets:

Avoiding a Heart Attack is Easier Than You May Think
CTV (Canada) February 8, 2009

Lured by Promise of Stem Cells, Dallas-Fort Worth Residents Head Abroad for Medical Treatment
Fort Worth Star Telegram (Texas) February 1, 2009

…The promise of stem cells, which are found in embryos and in various body tissues, comes from their ability to develop into many different types of cells in the body.

Proven stem cell treatments exist for only a handful of conditions, mainly affecting the blood and immune system. But advocates believe that the cells can be used to repair damaged or diseased tissue in many parts of the body.

Laurie Zoloth, who directs the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at NORTHWESTERN University, said legitimate researchers worldwide are experimenting with stem cells, using a methodical approach to scrutinize the safety and effectiveness of their treatments.

Without such controlled trials, stem cell clinics have no evidence that their treatments work, she said.

“They’re not doing science. They’re selling a product and making claims. But they have no way to test it, no way to make it safe,” Zoloth said. “It’s just on the basis of pure trust.”…

The Latest Drug Safety Checklist
Ladies Home Journal February 2009

Unintentional medication overdoses rose 360 percent in the past 20 years. They’re the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the United Sates (only car crashes kill more). One reason? Drug interactions.

“Patients have to be more informed,” says Michael Wolf, PhD, director of NORTHWESTERN University’s Center for Communication in Healthcare…

Stem Cell Transplants Show Promise for MS: Study
Reuters January 30, 2009

U.S. researchers have reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in early stage patients by using bone marrow stem cell transplants to reset the immune system, they said on Thursday.

Some 81 percent of patients in the early phase study showed signs of improvement with the treatment, which used chemotherapy to destroy the immune system, and injections of the patient’s bone marrow cells taken beforehand to rebuild it.

“We just start over with new cells from the stem cells,” said Dr. Richard Burt of NORTHWESTERN University in Chicago, whose study appears in the journal Lancet Neurology…

The story was also carried on the following news outlets:

Dose of Own Stem Cells Reverses Patients’ Multiple Sclerosis
Bloomberg January 30, 2009

Stem-Cell Therapy Reduces Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Los Angeles Times January 29, 2009

Stem Cell Transplant Reverses Early MS
UPI January 29, 2009

‘First Time We Have Turned the Tide’ on MS
Chicago Sun-Times January 30, 2009,CST-NWS-ms30.article

Stem Cells ‘Reset’ Immune System in MS Patients: Study
Agence France Presse January 30, 2009

Stem Cells Used to Reverse MS
The Independent January 30, 2009

Stem Jab ‘Cures MS’
The Sun (UK) January 30, 2009

Stem Cell Transplants Help MS Victims
Washington Post January 30, 2009

WBEZ Jan. 30. Richard Burt, MD, professor of medicine, comments on his research on MS and stem cells.

Bone Marrow Stem Cell Therapy May Halt Multiple Sclerosis
Catholic News Agency February 1, 2009

Adult Stem Cell Successes Continue, Setback for Embryonic
Dakota Voice February 24, 2009

January 30: Reference to research on stem cells and MS by Richard Burt, MD, professor of medicine. WFLD-TV (Chicago), KMPH-TV (Fresno), WTVW-TV (Evansville), News 12 New Jersey), WDIV- TV (Detroit),

February 9: Reference to research by Richard Burt, MD, associate professor of medicine, on MS and stem cells. WTVR-TV (Richmond).

Political Scandals Tough On Kids,Too
Chicago Sun-Times January 29, 2009,blagojevich-scandal-effect-daughters-013009.article

Their father’s impeachment trial. News crews camped outside their home. Dad being led away in handcuffs.

These are just some of the things that the two young daughters of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich have had to make sense of in recent months.

Mental health experts say the stress associated with the ex-governor’s troubles could have long-lasting effects on his daughters, Amy and Annie…

And Blagojevich’s impeachment could lead to tumultuous changes for the girls, such as moving to a new house or school and a decline in the family’s income, said Mark Reinecke, chief psychologist for NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The full text of most stories can be accessed in the Lexis-Nexis database via the Northwestern network at Stories from major newspaper, wire, television and radio sources can be obtained by selecting “News.” Stories from other media, including local outlets, can be accessed by selecting “Sources” instead of “News.” In both cases, you can search by keywords from the article’s headline. If you are searching by source, you will need to enter the name of the publication in which the article appeared before you enter keywords. Stories that include an html address with the headline can be accessed directly by clicking on the html address.

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