Jessa Duggar Seewald recently revealed that she experienced a miscarriage over the holidays. The 19 Kids and Counting alum took fans through her experience in a YouTube video, including telling her four children that she was expecting and grappling with the aftermath of her miscarriage. Seewald said she had been spotting blood and was told at an ultrasound appointment that the baby did not “look good.” But Seewald, who is a vocal “pro-life” advocate, received a wave of criticism online after her video was released, with many pointing out that a D&C is a procedure that is also used for surgical abortions. A D&C can be used to perform an abortion, but a D&C isn’t always an abortion in the sense of how the general public thinks of abortion, said Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This is a general medical procedure which can be done on pregnant and nonpregnant people,” she explains. “It’s the indication of the procedure that can be confusing.”
The work done by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty members (and even some students) is regularly highlighted in newspapers, online media outlets and more. Below you’ll find links to articles and videos of Feinberg in the news.
Growing rates of obesity are contributing to more heart disease risks during and after pregnancy, experts warn. People with obesity are more at risk of potentially lethal pregnancy complications like diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia. These conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, a major concern because heart disease is already the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. “When comparing heart disease and poor pregnancy outcomes in women, we notice that obesity is a link,” said Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc, professor of cardiology and epidemiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Obesity mixed with the expected hormonal changes during pregnancy, creates a perfect storm that can be detrimental to the pregnant person and baby, Khan says. The combination of changes from obesity and changes from pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes, for example, she says.
Growing rates of obesity are contributing to more heart disease risks during and after pregnancy, experts warn. People with obesity are more at risk of potentially lethal pregnancy complications like diabetes, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia. Those conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a recent report from the American Heart Association — a major concern, because heart disease is already the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. “When comparing heart disease and poor pregnancy outcomes in women, we notice that obesity is a link,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan, lead author of the paper and assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Obesity is an inflammatory condition that can damage blood vessels and make cells resistant to insulin, experts say. This ultimately contributes to the development of diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Obesity mixed with the expected hormonal changes during pregnancy, creates a perfect storm that can be detrimental to the pregnant person and baby, Khan says. The combination of changes from obesity and changes from pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes, for example, she says.
Drugs such as Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy have been flying off pharmacy shelves across the country, touted as breakthroughs for patients looking to lose weight. But with the increased demand have come reports of access problems for diabetic patients with dire health issues, many of whom are scrambling to get the pen-shaped injectors. “I hear about it every day,” said Veronica Johnson, MD, assistant professor of medicine of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “I saw how many patients today? Everyone of them was like, ‘Well, I can’t find that dose anymore, so what am I supposed to do?’ Unfortunately, it’s a daily struggle that we’re dealing with because of shortages of this drug.” Dr. Johnson emphasized that the medications aren’t “miracle drugs” but she says they show much promise and are really needed for patients who are suffering from diabetes and obesity.
It was week 17 of what should have been a typical Monday Night Football showdown, but Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s tackle of Bengals receiver Tee Higgins may ultimately have been a game changer – not only for football, but for heart disparities in the U.S. as well. Hamlin, 24, who had sudden cardiac arrest after getting hit, was down for roughly 19 minutes while responders did CPR and utilized an AED to restart his heart. The incident – which has focused attention on a rare condition (commotio cordis) and the importance of public action – may also be a turning point for a community that has long been in the spotlight for having poor heart health: Black Americans. “Even though we’ve made tremendous progress in reducing the burden of heart attack and stroke, we need a different approach to get everyone’s attention,” says Clyde Yancy, MD, chief of cardiology and vice dean of diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Case in point is the episode with Damar Hamlin; everybody in the country is now aware of the benefit of CPR,” he says. “We haven’t always been able to leverage a moment that gets attention of the community in such a rapid and robust way.
Social media is abuzz with videos promoting a new way of eating that seems to turn dieting – and weight maintenence – on its head. TikTok influencers call reverse dieting a way to “train your metabolism” to eat more food and not gain weight. However, there’s no evidence that reverse dieting restores your metabolism. According to Robert Kushner, MD, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, gradually reintroducing food after weight loss is a practical and standard approach used in both research studies and clinical practice. But the reason for doing this has to do with gradually eating more while keeping an eye on the scale to make sure you’re maintaining – not gaining – weight. As for tricking your metabolism? Without any proof, that’s a catchy spin, he says.
Growing evidence shows the lasting impacts of racism have put certain groups in a position to have a tougher time getting a full night’s sleep. Experts argue that puts them at higher risk for greater health problems. “National data indicate that Black adults and other non-white adults have poorer sleep,” said Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We want to be able to address disparities in sleep because we know that sleep is associated with some of the leading causes of death, including cardiovascular disease,” said Carnethon.
Nabil Alshurafa, PhD, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is studying smoking patterns using a thermal-activated camera that detects heat. This wearable device measures the number of puffs taken, their duration and the time between each drag on the cigarette. The purpose of these necklaces are to assist people in quitting smoking. Mainly, if a person joins a program to quit smoking they may be given this necklace and it will monitor when a person relapses. “Let’s say you have a stressful moment, or say you have a slip, the device will detect it and send you a mindfulness text message or video to guide you through that moment and remind you it’s just a temporary setback and hopefully prevent future slips,” says Alshurafa.
The payment incentive study is also hard to parse, in part because it is a generalized comparison — data on specific procedures are not available. Plus, performance metrics could be skewed by low-income patients, who are more likely to see an optometrist than an ophthalmologist, said study co-author Dustin French, PhD, a health economist in the ophthalmology department at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Without good representation in studies, doctors have no way of knowing how well the drugs they prescribe will work in their Black and Hispanic patients or if the medicines might cause unexpected side effects. The study that led to FDA approval of heart failure drug vericiguat (Verquvo) was made up of less than 5% Black people. Experts say there’s a real need to increase enrollment of people of color in heart disease clinical trials to make these study populations better reflect people living with heart disease in the United States today. “Up until now we’ve used an approach of sameness, assuming that all patients represent the same model,” says Clyde Yancy, MD, vice dean of diversity and inclusion and chief of the division of cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In reality, people of different races and ethnicities don’t always respond in the same way to heart failure medicines.