Stories by Kristen Thometz

Safely Dispose of Prescription Drugs on Saturday

(The Javorac / Flickr)

Do you have old prescription medicines in your cabinet? Safely dispose of them at drop-off sites set up by the DEA for Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

UIC Researchers to Study Link Between Binge Drinking, Heart Disease

While it’s well-known that binge drinking can pose serious health and safety risks, UIC researchers will study whether binge drinking is related to cardiovascular disease in young adults who are not predisposed to the condition.

‘13 Reasons Why’ Raises Suicide Awareness, But Critics Are Cautious

The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” follows the fictional story of Hannah Baker. (13 Reasons Why / Facebook)

It’s a TV show everyone is talking about, but with suicide a leading cause of death among youth, mental health experts are concerned about the message “13 Reasons Why” is sending.

Study: Kids in Individual Sports More Likely to Have Overuse Injuries

Youth athletes that participate in an individual sport, like tennis, are at higher risk of developing an overuse injury, according to a new study.

A new study finds that youth who specialize in individual sports like tennis and gymnastics are more likely to suffer overuse injuries than those who participate in football and other team sports.

Pair of Bills Aim to Drive Down Motor Vehicle Noise

(Jason Mrachina / Flickr)

Fueled by constituent complaints, proposed legislation in Springfield seeks to reduce noisy vehicles along Lake Shore Drive and in in city neighborhoods.

Watch ‘La La Land,’ ‘Hidden Figures’ in Millennium Park This Summer

(John W. Iwanski / Flickr)

The city’s annual Summer Film Series returns with a line-up of Chicago classics and two of the most-buzzed about movies of 2016.

Tax March Chicago to Protest Trump’s Refusal to Release Taxes

Protesters plan on bringing three inflatable chickens to Saturday’s march. The balloons are meant to resemble President Trump. (Courtesy of Taran Brar)

Tax Day is coming up and thousands have expressed interest in sending the president a message by protesting his refusal to release his tax returns. “What is he hiding?” asked Tax March Chicago organizer Taran Brar.

U of C, Rush Among 6 Chicago Hospitals to Earn ‘A’ Grade for Safety

(The University of Chicago Medicine / Facebook)

Six Chicago hospitals earned top marks for patient safety in an evaluation by a national nonprofit watchdog group. See which ones made the cut.

Experts Revise Recommendations on Prostate Cancer Screenings, PSA Test

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is revising its recommendations on prostate cancer screenings, including its position on the controversial PSA test.

3 Chicago Firms Selected for Obama Library Project Management Team

The University of Chicago (Credit: Tom Rossiter)

The Obama Foundation announced Tuesday three Chicago-based firms will lead the project management team for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

New Card Helps Disabled Communicate with Police in Stressful Situations

(Axion23 / Wikimedia Commons)

Inspired by a mother’s concern for her son, new disability awareness cards outline behaviors exhibited by people with disabilities in order to better inform police and first responders.

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.