Stories by Kristen Thometz

Chicago Creates Office to Address, Prevent Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases, like obesity and diabetes, are among the costly and preventable, according to the Chicago Public Health Department. (Tony Alter / Flickr)

The new Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control will “streamline” the city’s current efforts and look for new ways to help prevent and improve the management of chronic conditions and diseases.

Study: Electric Fields Skull Cap Improves Brain Cancer Survival

(Courtesy Joyce Endresen)

A new treatment for a deadly form of brain cancer is seeing dramatic study results. “When I first started, less than 10 percent of patients with glioblastoma were alive at five years. Now we’re at 12 to 15 percent,” said Roger Stupp, a neuro-oncologist at Northwestern University. 

Virus May Trigger Celiac Disease, Study Says

Nearly 3 million Americans have celiac disease, and a new study links a common but otherwise harmless virus to the condition.

For Valerie Jarrett, Having It All Means Making Sacrifices, Memories

Valerie Jarrett (Courtesy of The Chicago Network)

In her first speech since leaving the White House, the former senior adviser to President Barack Obama shares lessons she’s learned throughout her career. 

Chicagoan’s Art a Celebration of Blackness, Tribute to Lives Lost

(Ervin A. Johnson)

“I hope that when black people look at it they see how powerful and beautiful we are despite everything that’s happened to us,” said artist Ervin A. Johnson.

Study: Kids in Violent Neighborhoods ‘Strategic’ About Friendships

Most kids form bonds over shared interests. Kids living in violent, high-poverty Chicago neighborhoods are more strategic about whom they befriend in order to manage the threat of violence, a new study finds.

Local Restaurants ‘Go Blue’ to Raise Awareness, Funds for One Hope United

A kickoff event for the Go Blue Chicago Restaurant Collective will be held Tuesday, March 28 at Nellcote. (Element Collective)

Throughout the month of April, nearly two dozen Chicago-area restaurants will offer special menu items to raise awareness and funds for child abuse prevention programs.

Survey Reveals ‘Alarming’ Health Disparities in Chicago Neighborhoods

Several South and Southwest Side communities lag behind national health and wellness benchmarks, according to a new community health survey.

Chicagoan Wants Tampons, Pads for Birthday to Donate to Homeless

Never Go Without Founder Jesseca Rhymes (Courtesy of Rebecca Healy)

For the third consecutive year, Jesseca Rhymes is asking for feminine hygiene products for her birthday. Not for herself but for women experiencing homelessness.

Allies of Innocence to Provide Free Counseling to Gun Violence Victims

(Purpose Over Pain / Facebook)

A coalition of Chicago companies has teamed up to provide free grief and trauma counseling services to people who have lost family members to gun violence.

As Colorectal Cancer Rises in Young Adults, Emphasis on Screening

Colorectal cancer is increasing among younger adults despite an overall decrease in the disease in the U.S., according to a new study.  A local doctor talks about the disease and the importance of screening.

Study: Waterfall Sounds Enhance Deep Sleep, Memory in Older Adults

Deep sleep is vital to memory and decreases with age. Playing pink noise – described as a waterfall-like sound – in sync with a person’s brain waves was found to enhance deep sleep and sleep-dependent memory retention in older adults, according to a new Northwestern study.

‘Rewarding’ Immigrant Experience Compels Chicagoan to Aid Refugees

Shaifali Sandhya (Kristen Thometz / Chicago Tonight)

Chicagoan Shaifali Sandhya knows what it’s like to be a foreigner. Now a U.S. citizen, she wants to discover refugees’ stories and address their “silent traumas” in the hope of making their resettlement easier. 

NIH Awards Local Scientists $2.4M to Create Visual Prosthesis

An illustration of the intracortical visual prosthesis system developed by researchers from seven institutions, including the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Chicago.  (Courtesy of Philip Troyk and Vernon L. Towle)

Researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Chicago are part of a team developing a visual prosthesis that aims to restore partial vision in people who have become blind.

Researchers Discover Cell Potentially Linked to Nearsightedness

(Northwestern University)

Northwestern scientists have discovered a new cell in the retina which may cause nearsightedness, or myopia, when disrupted.

Chicago Ranked As One of the Healthiest Cities in the US

The Windy City is the gold standard for health and well-being, according to an assessment of city policies aimed at improving residents’ health.

Alzheimer’s Study Findings a ‘Double-Edged Sword’ for Women

Women perform better than men on memory tests used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study. But could this mental advantage be masking early markers of the disease in women?

Not My President’s Day Rally to Protest Trump Policies, Values

While Presidents Day serves to honor America’s presidents, thousands in Chicago are expected to mark the Feb. 20 holiday with protests against the current administration. “It’s a protest of policy,” said one organizer.

Chance the Rapper’s 3 Grammy Awards ‘Incredible,’ ‘Unfathomable’

Longtime Family Friends Proud of Rapper’s Success

(Chance the Rapper / Facebook)

The West Chatham native’s historic performance at the Grammy Awards, winning three awards without a record label, was both “incredible” and “unfathomable,” say longtime family friends.

‘Selfish Joy’ Motivates Local Doctor’s Humanitarian Work

Dr. Victoria Brander (Courtesy NorthShore University HealthSystem)

Meet Dr. Victoria Brander, who has been performing hip and knee replacements in countries around the world for more than a decade. 

New Group Aims to Study, Address Root Causes of Chicago Gun Violence

Hoping to capitalize on the violence prevention research already being conducted locally, the group hopes to spur new research initiatives and facilitate ongoing community-based violence prevention efforts.

Former Johnson Publishing Building Considered for Landmark Status

The landmark designation process started Thursday for the 110,000-square-foot S. Michigan Avenue building designed by black architect John Warren Moutoussamy.

New City Medical Director to Focus on Mental Health, Addiction

(Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar)

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently hired a behavioral health medical director to better address substance use disorders and mental health issues in the city. Meet Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar and learn more about her role.

Women’s March Inspires Trump Taxes March Chicago

Thousands have expressed interest in a march urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. “We want to see your taxes, Mr. President,” said organizer Taran Brar.

City, UIC Form Academic Public Health Department

Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Julie Morita and UIC School of Public Health Dean Dr. Paul Brandt-Rauf sign an agreement formalizing the yearslong partnership between the two organizations. (UIC School of Public Health)

Wednesday morning officials from the Chicago Department of Public Health and UIC signed an agreement to strengthen and formalize their yearslong partnership.