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.

When Dr. Mugdha Mokashi was selecting where to complete her residency in obstetrics and gynecology, she was keenly aware of how varying state-by-state abortion laws might affect her ability to learn and practice. “It really mattered to me that I was in a place that I felt like no matter what, I would get the training I wanted to get,” says Mokashi, 27, who is now finishing her second year of OB-GYN residency at Northwestern University. “In every interview, I asked, ‘What is the abortion training like for your trainees? And how do you anticipate it’s going to change if Roe falls?’” Further, Emily Hinchcliff, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of medicine shared “We are getting far more questions about family planning, training and abortion access from our applicants,” says Hinchcliff, director of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program at McGaw Medical Center. And once OB-GYN residents finish the program, Hinchcliff says most of them go on to practice in abortion-friendly states, especially in the last couple of years.

More young men are taking a medication to prevent hair loss, prompting some concerns that the oral drug has been linked to rare but potentially long-lasting side effects. Part of the rise in prescriptions could be linked to telemedicine companies such as Hims, Keeps and Ro that promote the drug on billboards and online ads, said Maria Colavincenzo, an associate professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, who has been in practice for a decade. “People are interested in treating it a little bit younger than what I saw before,” said Colavincenzo. Doctors say the daily pill is safe, although once someone starts taking it, they’ll need to continue for as long as they want to avoid hair loss. And there’s some controversy about the drug, due to the possibility of impotence that could last even after stopping the medication. Colavincenzo said that some patients whom she’s followed for roughly a decade have had success with the drug, although they can’t always tell whether it’s doing the job. “Certainly the vast majority of my patients have no such side effects and are fine and do pretty well with it,” said Colavincenzo. If men are already dealing with sexual issues, Colavincenzo cautions against using the medication.

Outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are meeting on Monday to assess whether Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N), opens new tab experimental Alzheimer’s drug donanemab is safe and effective, ahead of the agency’s decision on approving the drug. The FDA had been expected to rule on the drug earlier this year but then called for an independent advisory panel to weigh in. The regulator is not obligated to follow the recommendations of its outside advisers, but typically does so. “From the beginning, safety has been a concern with these new anti-amyloid monoclonal antibodies,” said Joshua Cahan, from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. With its approval of Leqembi, the FDA issued its strongest “boxed” warning about the risk of potentially dangerous brain swelling and bleeding for the entire class of amyloid-lowering drugs.

Evidence that weight-loss drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and Eli Lilly’s Zepbound can cut heart disease risk, treat sleep apnea and address other health issues may help convince more men to use them. Men prefer to shed extra pounds with diet and exercise changes before reaching for drugs, if they address their weight at all, doctors and three healthcare industry analysts said in interviews. Women are far less hesitant to seek a physician’s help with weight loss and management, they said. The “typical weight management program is female predominant in our clinic. It’s almost two out of three patients are women, and that’s pretty much common across the country,” said Robert Kushner, MD, obesity medicine researcher at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Kushner said in his practice male patients were showing more interest in these medications, both of which are taken as weekly injections, in light of data showing their wider health benefits. Other physicians suggested that some men may be more open to weight-loss drugs based on recommendations from women in their lives taking the medicines.

A closely watched Alzheimer’s drug from Eli Lilly won the backing of federal health advisers on Monday, setting the stage for the treatment’s expected approval for people with mild dementia caused by the brain-robbing disease. Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously that the drug’s ability to slow the disease outweighs its risks, including side effects like brain swelling and bleeding that will have to be monitored. In another key difference, Lilly studied taking patients off its drug when they reached very low levels of amyloid, a sticky brain plaque that’s a contributor to Alzheimer’s. Lilly scientists suggested stopping treatment is a key advantage for its drug, which could reduce side effects and costs. But FDA staff said Lilly provided little data supporting the optimal time to stop or how quickly patients might need to restart treatment. Despite those questions, many panelists thought the possibility of stopping doses held promise. “It’s a huge cost savings for the society, we’re talking about expensive treatment, expensive surveillance,” said Tanya Simuni, MD of Northwestern University. She and other experts said patients would need to be tracked and tested to see how they fare and whether they need to resume treatment.

The safety of sugar substitutes is once again being called into question. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is found in small amounts in fruit and vegetables, and the human body also produces it. As an additive, it looks and tastes like sugar but has 40% fewer calories. It is used, at much higher concentrations than found in nature, in sugar-free gum, candies, toothpaste and baked goods. It can also be found in products labeled “keto-friendly,” particularly in Europe. The same research team found a similar association last year to the popular sugar substitute erythritol. The use of sugar substitutes has increased significantly over the past decade as concerns about rising obesity rates mount. The next question is what causes naturally-occurring xylitol to be elevated in some people and how do you lower it, said Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and a professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine who was not involved in the new study. Nevertheless, given the totality of the evidence presented in the paper, “it’s probably reasonable to limit intake of artificial sweeteners,” said Khan. “Perhaps the answer isn’t replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners but thinking about more high quality dietary components, like vegetables and fruits, as natural sugars.” Doctors are recommending patients use modest amounts of sugar, honey or fruit to sweeten food.

Regular tinnitus is when a person hears a noise — often a ringing, buzzing, whistling or high-pitched sound — that’s not actually present in their environment, says Ali Shaibani, MD, an interventional neuroradiologist at the Northwestern Medicine Pulsatile Tinnitus Clinic in Chicago. Pulsatile tinnitus, which makes up about 15% of cases, is typically a “whoosh-whoosh sound” with patients describing it as hearing their heartbeat in their ear, he adds. The rhythmic pulsing noise is happening inside their body and is related to the vascular system, according to the clinic. It can be severely life-disrupting. “People have trouble doing their jobs because they say the noise is so loud that it’s hard to have a telephone conversation.” Pulsatile tinnitus can sometimes be the symptom of a dangerous condition — a short circuit between arteries and veins close to the base of the skull, known as an arteriovenous fistula, which can lead to stroke or hemorrhage, Shaibani says. “Many of the causes of pulsatile tinnitus are treatable, as opposed to regular tinnitus for which we don’t always have good treatment,” Shaibani says.

One of the biggest obstacles to treating brain cancer is getting tumor-killing drugs past the blood-brain barrier that normally protects the brain from foreign invaders. Now, new research shows that ultrasound waves emitted from a device implanted in a cancer patient’s skull could be the key to getting chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs into the brain. This ultrasound technology allowed doctors at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago to get a small dose of these drugs past the blood-brain barrier, according to a report published June 6 in the journal Nature Communications. What’s more, the treatment boosted the immune system’s recognition of brain cancer cells, the researchers added. “This is the first report in humans where an ultrasound device has been used to deliver drugs and antibodies to glioblastoma to change the immune system, so it can recognize and attack the brain cancer,” said researcher

“Routine bloodwork is not a thing,” says Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, Professor and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “There is no medical specialty society that says you should get checked for all of the blood tests on any basis whatsoever.” “This is like when everybody was talking about full-body MRI scans,” Dr. Linder says, referring to last year’s spike in interest around elective full-body imaging after Kim Kardashian posted about Prenuvo. “Now all of a sudden everybody’s talking about blood tests.” Dr. Linder says (and all of the doctors we asked agreed) that once a year is plenty, unless there is cause to investigate a specific symptom or concern. On the other hand, if giving blood doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, feel free to opt out. “I just feel like people are wasting a lot of their time and a lot of their mental energy for not very much of anything,” says Dr. Linder.

There are more than two dozen individual muscles on either side of your face, but you won’t find any equipment at your gym to help strengthen or tone any of them. If you’ve been diligent in exercising your body, can you do the same thing for your facial muscles? And while several expensive spas and salons offer “face gym” type services, you can do facial yoga at home, for free. Here’s what experts say about it. There is some scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of facial toning exercises, also known as facial yoga. During a five-month Northwestern Medicine study, a 30-minute daily or alternate-day facial exercise program improved the facial appearance of middle-aged women, resulting in a younger appearance, with fuller upper and lower cheeks. Evaluators observed almost a three-year decrease in age appearance over the five-month study. “There’s some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” said lead author Murad Alam, MD, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine dermatologist, when the study was released. “The exercises enlarge and strengthen the facial muscles, so the face becomes firmer and more toned and shaped like a younger face.”

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