Making Headlines

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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 toregister with the news organization to access them and that they may be expired.

The full text of most stories can be accessed in the Lexis-Nexis database via the Northwestern network at http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe. 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.

MSNBC August 12, 2009
Owie! Hundreds of ways to say ‘it hurts’
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32373248/ns/health-health_care/

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are hundreds of ways to say, “Ow!”

Pain can be stabbing, searing or throbbing. It can be sharp or dull. It can make you tired, depressed or anxious. It can be incapacitating — or only mildly annoying. Millions of Americans are affected by chronic pain, studies show, yet until now it’s been difficult for doctors or scientists to understand how much a patient is actually suffering. Now, a computer program that measures and rates pain may help put doctors and their patients on the same page…

Just as a blood sugar test can diagnose diabetes, a standardized scoring system will be able to register the impact of pain on a person’s life, says David Cella, the program’s developer and professor and chair of the department of medical social sciences at NORTHWESTERN University…

Chicago Tribune August 12, 2009
One-sided hearing loss could be caused by a rare tumor
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-hearing-city-zone-12-aug12,0,4570499.story

Donna DeMuro thought her hearing loss was a natural part of the aging process until her face began to tingle. A month after she told her doctor, she had brain surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a golf ball…

Many people wait to tell their doctors about the symptoms, said Dr. Richard J. Wiet, who counts DeMuro among his acoustic neuroma patients. “Too often, seemingly minor hearing loss is trivialized and ignored,” he said. “If it is in one ear in a person at midlife, that can be a sign of a tumor growing.”

Wiet will host a symposium on the condition in Chicago this weekend in conjunction with the national Acoustic Neuroma Association. The 28-year-old organization, which has about 6,000 members, aims to educate the public and provide support for patients…

Wiet, a professor at NORTHWESTERN University and a physician at the Ear Institute of Chicago in Hinsdale, said the conference will offer workshops to help patients make educated decisions. Experts will discuss the common forms of treatment, which include microsurgery, radiosurgery and observation…

Chicago Sun-Times July 25, 2009
Does ‘crying it out’ stress out babies?
http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/health/1684779,CST-NWS-

Is nationally known pediatrician and author Dr. William Sears wrong to assert that letting babies learn to sleep on their own by “crying it out” causes stress and anxiety that can harm their development?

A prominent Chicago pediatrician and expert on children and sleep thinks so. Dr. Marc Weissbluth is taking to the Internet to dispute Sears on an issue that new parents often struggle with…

But in a series of blog posts titled “My Problem with Dr. Sears,” Weissbluth, who’s a clinical professor of pediatrics at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, accuses Sears of using “irrelevant and misleading” research to back his claims that the crying-it-out method hurts kids.

“The presentation of Dr. Sears is that crying may harm the child, and the discussion then includes many studies and comments that have nothing to do with [crying it out],” said Weissbluth, the author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. “Children do cry, and . . . to claim that crying is harmful and use studies on rats to prove your point is not helping parents understand how they might help their child sleep.”…

U.S. News & World Report July 20, 2009
High-Salt Diet Dampens Effects of Blood Pressure Drugs
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/07/20/high-salt-diet-dampens-effects-of-blood-pressure.html

Not only does a high-salt diet contribute to hypertension, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, a new study finds…

Both studies emphasize the importance of controlling salt intake to keep blood pressure at safe levels, said Dr. Martha Daviglus, a professor of preventive medicine and medicine at the NORTHWESTERN University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

Between 20 percent and 30 percent of Americans have resistant hypertension, and the emphasis for them has been on drug treatment, Daviglus said. “When a patient comes to a physician’s office with hypertension, we start with one drug, then add another,” she said.

“We often forget about lifestyle interventions because they are so difficult.”…

U.S. News & World Report July 15, 2009
Brain Stimulation: Electroconvulsive Therapy
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/brain-and-behavior/2009/07/15/brain-stimulation-electroconvulsive-therapy.html

Electroconvulsive therapy, also known from times of old as “shock therapy,” is on the rise—albeit a relatively quiet one. Considering its beginnings as a crude and violent procedure, it’s not surprising that ECT’s comeback isn’t loudly publicized. The treatment, which involves inducing a controlled seizure, is most often administered to patients with significant psychiatric illness— depression, mania, and bipolar disorder—and is one form of brain stimulation therapy for people whose symptoms don’t respond to medications…

The treatment usually takes place in a hospital setting a few times per week over the course of a month or less, in a series of six to 12 sessions. Anesthesia is administered, so the patient feels no pain and doesn’t experience bodily convulsions. An overnight stay is typically required. (While ECT for depression is often covered by insurance, a copayment of several hundred dollars per session might be required.) Still, many are deterred who might benefit, says Mehmet Dokucu, psychiatrist and director of the Cancer Psychiatry Service at the Feinberg School of Medicine at NORTHWESTERN University…

Chicago Tribune July 16, 2009
Research is personal for patient
http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/health/chi-brain-tumorjul16,0,3110423.story

Walking into a packed waiting room at NORTHWESTERN Memorial Hospital, PJ Lukac delivered the unthinkable news to his parents: “I’m going to die.”

He had suffered periods of confusion and other symptoms, so his mother had insisted that he get a neurological scan at NORTHWESTERN. “I thought it was going to be a waste of money,” he said…

But after absorbing the truth of his situation, his outlook began to change. Lukac quickly grew tired of the fear and worry that showed on the faces of friends and relatives when they realized he had a potentially deadly brain tumor. So within weeks of his diagnosis, he went looking for Dr. Markus Bredel, director of the NORTHWESTERN Brain Tumor Institute research program…

“Some people think cancer has like a mystical power all its own,” said Lukac, 24, of St. Charles. “But [Bredel] has really reduced it to a set equation, with these genes as variables. Like any equation, I think it has a solution, which is the gist of his research.”

Lukac told Bredel that he wanted to work in his lab, dismantling the disease’s mystique and, in the process, try to save his own life…

Chicago Tribune July 22, 2009
Doctors watch brains change in schizophrenic patients http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-brain-study-city-zonejul22,0,2054953.story

Thanks to a study conducted by Dr. John Csernansky and his colleagues at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, doctors can better diagnose schizophrenia, a devastating and potentially disabling mental illness.

“Diagnosing schizophrenia is more of an art than a science,” said Csernansky, who heads NORTHWESTERN’s psychiatry and behavioral sciences department, “but by using a computer to chart subtle changes in the brain from [magnetic resonance imaging], we can create brain maps. We still don’t know why the disease is degenerative, but we can now see patterns. Even in the absence of obvious deterioration of behavior, we can see biological progression of the disease.”…

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