Media Coverage

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.

A leading transgender health association has lowered its recommended minimum age for starting gender transition treatment, including sex hormones and surgeries. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health said hormones could be started at age 14, two years earlier than the group’s previous advice, and some surgeries done at 15 or 17, a year or so earlier than previous guidance. Dr. Joel Frader, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said guidelines should rely on psychological readiness, not age. Frader said brain science shows that kids are able to make logical decisions by around age 14, but they’re prone to risk taking and they take into account long-term consequences of their actions only when they’re much older.

The Chicago Department of Public Health is warning people to take precautions when in spaces or situations where monkeypox could spread through close or intimate contact. The LGBTQ community may be at higher alert, particularly during increased gatherings during Pride month, according to a Northwestern study. Northwestern medicine infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Murphy said in the statement that 95% of the cases in Europe, Canada and the U.S. are in LGBTQ individuals, specifically hitting the community of men intimate with other men. Murphy said symptoms to watch out for include flu-like symptoms, fever, aches, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes “and this rash that has a uniform, blistery appearance – unlike chickenpox, which might have lesions in all different stages (new little ones, old ones). While the virus is a relative of smallpox, most people currently affected have reported only mild symptoms, no one has died, and there is a vaccine available, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in its statement.

Extreme temperatures can turn deadly, quickly in the United States, killing more than 700 people every year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While dehydration is a common concern, “the most worrisome consequence” of high heat is heat stroke, said Dr. Scott Dresden, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Heat stroke can cause confusion, seizures and even death, he said. Humidity is one of the main things that can affect your body’s ability to cool itself off. The CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids, taking cool showers or baths, avoid using the oven or other household appliances that could heat up your house and watch for signs of heat stroke. Further, stay in air conditioning – if your power is out identify places in the community you can go, such as libraries, malls or cooling centers.

In recent months, several strict abortion laws have been passed across the United States, banning the procedure after a certain number of weeks. Most have limited exceptions, such as incest or rape, and some only allow abortion to “save the mother’s life.” However, doctors told ABC News the language of these laws is vague and makes it unclear what qualifies as a mother’s life being in danger. According to Dr. Melissa Simon, vice chair for research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “We’ve taken the Hippocratic oath to do no harm, and these types of laws and this type of language actually do harm.” Further, “I do not – nor do my patients want me to – stop what I’m doing and think about what the judge would do.” Simon said if doctors are not allowed to perform abortions because the procedure does not fall within the limits of a save a mother’s life exception, maternal mortality rates in the U.S. will rise.

Supply chain issues have hit tampons, and inflation has driven up prices. Manufacturers and major retailers say they are trying to remedy the shortage. Because tampon supplies are low, many women use menstrual pads in conjunction with tampons, said Dr. Lauren Streicher, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. However, some may experience discomfort and irritation and pads can also keep women from engaging in certain activities, like swimming or intense exercise.

The progressive brain disorder known as dementia is unfortunately becoming more common. That’s simply because the number one risk factor is advancing age, and more of us are living longer. According to a study, people with blood type AB are 82 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types. AB blood has also been linked to a higher risk of symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Northwestern medicine advises that if you have type AB blood, you should emphasize cancer-fighting goods, such as fruits and vegetables, in your diet.

Dr. Robert Murphy, professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, dicusses two new variants of COVID 19, BA.4 and BA.5. These variants now account for 13% of all coronavirus cases in the United States. However, hospitalization rates are going down. This is due to Paxlovid, which cuts hospitalization rates by 90%, whether the individual is vaccinated or not, and vaccination rates include 78% of all eligible Americans have had at least one shot, 66% have had two shots and 44% have had a booster. Novavax was approved for use in the US. Because it is not mRNA technology, and utilizes older medicinal technology, some may feel more comfortable receiving this COVID vaccine.

Justin Bieber announced that he has Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare condition that has paralyzed half his face. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a neurological condition caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. The virus can linger in your body for your entire life, even long after you have recovered from chickenpox. Most people who have Ramsay Hunt make a full recovery, although the duration of the disease can vary, said Dr. Michael Ison, a professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. “Some people, it takes weeks. Some people, it takes months,” he said. In rare cases though, facial paralysis or hearing loss can be permanent.

Music has the ability to light up the whole brain. “With Alzheimer’s disease, the areas in the brain that are involved with music processing are the areas that go lost,” Borna Bonakdarpour, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “People lose verbal memory first, visual memory next and really near the end is musical memory.” Over the course of his work, he has found that patients who underwent music-based treatments have had incredibly promising and powerful results. “If you play music for them, it kind of wakes them up,” he said. “The music taps immediately into their motor systems.”

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