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.

President Biden emerged from his covid-19 isolation on Wednesday saying his mild case was a testament to his administration’s progress on a pandemic that has killed more than 1 million Americans, and he urged people to take advantage of vaccine boosters, antivirals and at-home tests so they, too, could have mild infections. Yet experts say many Americans now avoid testing altogether because of the disruption an infection could cause, whether it’s missed travel or an inability to get paid time off work. “There are so many people who would like to just decide to put a mask on and hope things go well and continue on with their lives for various financial reasons,” said Mercedes Carnethon, professor and vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Carnethon added that Biden’s early diagnosis and treatment with Paxlovid was crucial to his mild infection. “If we can detect it early and treat it early, we can help ensure that more people have an experience like [Biden’s]. But there are many people who for structural reasons, access, financial barriers, aren’t going to be able to be diagnosed as early as he was,” Carnethon said.

New, untested abortion bans have made doctors unsure about treating some pregnancy complications, which has led to life-threatening delays and trapped families in a limbo of grief and helplessness. Elizabeth Weller, and her husband James, became pregnant early in 2022. Things went smoothly at first, until at 18 weeks, the watery, protective cushion of amniotic fluid in her uterus was gone. There was still a fetal heartbeat, but it could stop at any moment. Among other risks, both the fetus and Elizabeth were now highly vulnerable to a uterine infection called chorioamnionitis. Elizabeth felt panicked because of the new abortion rules, specifically how the exemptions that exist for the woman’s life or health, are vague or left undefined. “It’s terrible,” says Dr. Alan Peaceman, a professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The care providers are treading on eggshells. They don’t want to get sucked into a legal morass. And so they don’t even know what the rules are.” Although experiencing cramps passing clots of blood because of Texas law, aborting the pregnancy was not simple and healthcare workers needed to wait until she had the right symptoms of a growing infection in her uterus. “That’s torture to have to carry a pregnancy which has such a low chance of survival,” says Dr. Peaceman.

After an ongoing outbreak of monkeypox was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, some experts fear that a slow response on the part of officials could mean that the virus will be impossible to fully eradicate in the near future. According to comments from several physicians at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the rollout of effective vaccines and treatments has been too slow, allowing the virus to get a foothold that may be difficult to reverse. “Monkeypox infection may not be eradicated at this point. The question really is can it be contained and managed?” asked Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Robert Havey Institute for Global Health. Murphy compared the slow rollout of monkeypox mitigations to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said that this particular situation is even worse based on the fact that an effective therapy and an effective and approved vaccine already exist.” Further, “The overall risk to the general public is low, but real. Transmission mainly seems to occur from close personal or sexual contact,” said Dr. Shannon Galvin, associate professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Thankfully, “It’s highly unlikely that monkeypox will diversify at the rate SARS-CoV-2 does, and therefore, vaccines will remain effective,” said Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo, associate professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine,

People who often nap have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure and having a stroke, a large new study has found. According to Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “The results demonstrate that napping increases the incidence of hypertension and stroke, after adjusting or considering many variables known to be associated with risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.” Zee also shares, “From a clinical standpoint, I think it highlights the importance for health care providers to routinely ask patients about napping and excessive daytime sleepiness and evaluate for other contributing conditions to potentially modify the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

At-home blood pressure monitors have been around for many years now. They work just like the blood pressure machines doctors use at the office: You place your arm inside a cuff, feel a squeeze on your arm, and get a reading. While results from this method are accurate, they are also just a moment in time. Our blood pressure can vary greatly throughout the day – especially among people who have labile hypertension, where blood pressure changes from one extreme to the other. So, looking at point-in-time readings is a bit like focusing on a few dots inside of a pointillism painting – one might miss the bigger picture. Electronic tattoos for health monitoring are not completely new. John A. Rogers, PhD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine first put forth the idea of monitoring through temporary tattoos 12 years ago. In a new study, the thin, sticker-like wearable electronic tattoos can provide continuous, accurate blood pressure monitoring.

Vitamins and supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry, and more of us are regularly taking them than ever – more than half of Americans now report taking supplements regularly. “Patients ask all the time, ‘What supplements should I be taking?’ They’re wasting money and focus thinking there has to be a magic set of pills that will keep them healthy when we should all be following the evidence-based practices of eating healthy and exercising,” said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. However, “Pregnant individuals should keep in mind that these guidelines don’t apply to them,” said Dr. Natalie Cameron, instructor of general internal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Certain vitamins, such as folic acid, are essential for pregnant women to support healthy fetal development. The most common way to meet these needs is to take a prenatal vitamin.”

One in three people will grapple with a sleep disorder at some point in their lives, the American Sleep Association reports. And a bad night’s sleep can have serious consequences over time: Sleep deprivation is associated with hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment, among other health issues. Drinking caffeine in the afternoon stimulates the body’s central nervous system, keeping you awake and alert – and such effects can linger for four hours or longer, making it harder to wind down before bed, says Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of sleep medicine and professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Further, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and acid reflux, while alcohol, although initially sedative, can stimulate the brain as it metabolizes, preventing you from falling into a deeper sleep and leaving you feeling groggy in the morning.

While most people who contract COVID-19 only develop mild or moderate symptoms, some can experience lingering effects for months, and that includes children, too. A study conducted by Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the University of Calgary found nearly 10% of hospitalized children reported symptoms of long COVID in the months after first contracting COVID. Researchers’ findings that children who had multiple COVID-19 symptoms initially were at higher risk for long COVID is consistent with studies in adults, said Dr. Todd Florin, study principal co-investigator and associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Unfortunately, there are no known therapies for long COVID in children and more research is needed in this area,” he stated. “However, if symptoms are significant, treatment targeting the symptoms is most important.”

High temperatures can wreak havoc on sleep. If you don’t have access to air conditioning, use a fan to help the air circulate in your room. Increasing the airflow across the surface area of your body helps to offload heat, said Dr. Justin Fiala, assistant professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care. Further, Fiala advises to stay hydrated to replenish the liquid you’re losing through sweat. “You’re actually going to lose a lot of your water volume just through sweat,” Dr. Fiala said. Avoiding a cold shower before bed is another effective method. While dousing in cold water will help your body lower its temperature, it won’t likely help you with the quality of your sleep, and may keep you awake longer.

As the number of monkeypox cases keeps growing, a discussion has opened on whether it should be considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like herpes, gonorrhea or HIV. Monkeypox is almost always spread through skin-to-skin contact, and in the West, many of the cases have occurred among men who have sex with men. But health experts say that doesn’t make it an STD – at least not in “the classic sense.” Northwestern Medicine infectious diseases expert Robert L. Murphy, MD, said “Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease in the classic sense (by which it’s spread in the semen or vaginal fluids), but it is spread by close physical contact with lesions.” He said the current monkeypox outbreak was more like a meningitis outbreak among gay men a few years ago. In the United States, more than 2,500 confirmed monkeypox cases have been detected, with cases reported from every state except Alaska, Maine, Montana, Mississippi, Vermont and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

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