Stories by Kristen Thometz

Ben Stiller’s Surgeon Explains PSA Test, Controversy

Ben Stiller (Michael Schilling / Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this month Ben Stiller revealed he was treated for prostate cancer in 2014 and credited the PSA test with saving his life. Stiller’s surgeon talks about prostate cancer testing and the controversy surrounding the PSA test.

Daytime Exercise Could Be More Effective, Study Suggests

Muscles’ Internal Clocks Control Response to Activity

Research by Northwestern Medicine suggests humans may be better suited to exercise during the day. (Pixabay)

Working out during the day may be more effective than cramming in a late-night session, according to a Northwestern Medicine study.

DePaul Professor Discovers New Prehistoric Shark

Species Relative of Great White, Megalodon Sharks

A newly identified species of shark, Megalolamna paradoxodon, lived about 20 million years ago and measured roughly 13 feet in length. (Kenshu Shimada / DePaul University)

About 20 million years ago, a 13-foot predator swam in warm, shallow seas across the globe. This extinct shark was recently discovered by an international team of researchers led by a DePaul University professor.

Paralyzed Man Regains Sense of Touch with Robotic Arm

U of C Research Provided ‘Blueprint’ for Study

Rob Gaunt from the University of Pittsburgh prepares Nathan Copeland, who was paralyzed in 2004, for a brain computer interface sensory test using a robotic arm. (UPMC / Pitt Health Sciences Media Relations)

A paralyzed man is able to experience the sense of touch through the use of a robotic arm controlled by his brain. The breakthrough was made possible, in part, by years of research by a University of Chicago professor.

Field Museum Fossil Identified as Early Relative of Dogs, Bears

Discovery Results in Creation of 2 New Genera

The jawbone of a newly reclassified beardog fossil (Field Museum specimen no. PM423), left, is shown in comparison with the jawbone of a larger beardog (specimen No. P12029) that lived approximately 22 million years later. (© Susumu Tomiya / The Field Museum)

Thanks to an inquisitive Field Museum researcher, a nearly 40-million-year-old fossil housed at the institution has been identified as one of the earliest relatives of dogs, bears and foxes known as a beardog. 

IHSA to Hold Meetings on Pitch Count Limits

Pitch count guidelines for high school athletes aimed at curbing injuries are scheduled to be voted on at the Illinois High School Association’s Dec. 12 Board of Directors meeting. (Pixabay)

The Illinois High School Association wants to hear from school principals and athletic directors before voting on proposed pitch count guidelines.

Local Author Helps Kids Find Voice, Courage to Stand Up to Bullies

Regina McCarthy’s book “Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog” teaches children to understand and express their feelings and offers tips for dealing with a bully. (Illustration by Sue Dettman)

October is national bullying prevention month. Holistic psychotherapist and author Regina E. McCarthy wants to help children of all ages find their voice and the courage to stand up to bullying.

Officials Warn of Rabid Outdoor Cats, Urge Vaccinations of Pets

The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control is urging pet owners to vaccinate their cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies after two outdoor cats tested positive for the virus in Illinois and Missouri.

Study: Social Justice Appeals May Influence Healthy Eating Among Teens

Framing healthy eating as a rebellious act against a manipulative industry can inspire teens to choose healthier snacks and drinks, a recent study found.

What is Postpartum Psychosis?

The rare psychiatric disorder increases the risk that a mother will harm herself or her newborn, according to a recent study. A local psychiatrist explains the seriousness of the illness and how it differs from the more commonly studied postpartum depression.

Northwestern Scientists Create Synthetic Bone Using 3-D Printer

Photograph of a 3-D printed hyper-elastic bone of the human spine. (Credit: Adam E. Jakus, PhD)

New technology developed in Chicago could lead to major advances in healing broken bones and other sports medicine injuries.

Chicago Hospital Gets $2M to Treat Kids, Families Affected by Violence

University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital (Kramchang / Flickr)

As violent crime in Chicago continues to soar, Comer Children’s Hospital announced it’s creating a new program to treat families and children affected by violence.

Study: Intensive Lowering of Blood Pressure Could Save 100,000 Lives

Nearly 107,500 lives could be saved each year in the U.S. if a more intensive approach to lowering high blood pressure was implemented, a recent study asserts.

Pediatricians: Stop Giving Kids Codeine

Children under the age of 18 should not be given codeine, says the American Academy of Pediatrics in a new report that cites life-threatening events and even deaths linked to the drug.

U of C Researchers Develop Therapy to Treat Lethal Cancers

A new form of cancer treatment developed by University of Chicago scientists was so effective in studies that one researcher said it’d be a “breakthrough” if it were replicated in humans. 

IHSA Proposing Pitch Count Limits to Curb Pitcher Injuries

As speculation around the Chicago Cubs making a World Series appearance reaches a fever pitch, the Illinois High School Association is proposing pitch count limits for its athletes in an effort to curb throwing-related injuries. 

What Causes the Flu to Spread Globally?

University of Chicago Study Analyzes Geographical Origins of Seasonal Flu

A new study by researchers at the University of Chicago analyzes the geographical origins of the seasonal flu.

The changing leaves signal not only the approach of fall but also the flu season. A new study shines a light on where most seasonal flu strains originate each year.

Study: College Students’ PTSD, Depression Linked to Childhood Bullying

Childhood bullying can cause female college students the same long-lasting psychological distress as severe childhood physical or sexual abuse, according to a new study. (Twentyfour Students / Flickr)

For female college students, peer victimization appears to inflict the same long-term distress associated with severe childhood physical or sexual abuse, according to a new study.

Prevent Teen Obesity, Eating Disorders with Family Meals, Exercise

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to have family dinners to prevent teen obesity and eating disorders. (Pixabay)

When it comes to preventing teen obesity and eating disorders, parents and health officials should avoid focusing on teens’ weight or diet, according to new guidelines. Healthy eating and lifestyle habits should be encouraged instead.

NFL Players’ Careers Most Impacted by Certain Knee Injuries

NFL players who had knee surgeries such as ACL reconstruction or patellar tendon repair experienced the most significant decline in performance, according to a new study. (Pixabay)

The Chicago Bears open the season Sunday with several players sidelined by injuries. A new study analyzing common orthopedic surgeries NFL players receive could shed some light onto when fans can expect them back.

Chemotherapy Has Long-Lasting Effects on Cognition, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Illinois analyzed the long-term effects of chemotherapy on cognition using a rodent model. (Linda Bartlett / Wikimedia Commons)

Breast cancer patients and survivors often report forgetfulness and difficulty focusing after chemotherapy. A recent study analyzes these symptoms, commonly referred to as “chemo brain.”

Polo Tournament This Weekend at North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach will be transformed into a beach polo arena this weekend. (Credit: Qatar Airways Chicago Beach Polo Cup / Facebook)

Giddy on up to North Avenue Beach this weekend to watch the “sport of kings” at the Qatar Airways Chicago Beach Polo Cup.

Study Finds Illinois Emergency Room Visits Up After Obamacare

Average monthly emergency department visits increased by 5.7 percent in Illinois after Obamacare’s launch, even though the state’s population remained unchanged. (KOMUnews / Eric Staszczak via Flickr)

Visits to emergency rooms increased in the state following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.

Allergist, Mom Says Mylan Should Lower Cost of EpiPen

As public outcry over the cost of EpiPen continues, Mylan announces it will create a generic version of the brand name life-saving drug.(Intropin via Wikimedia Commons)

The maker of the EpiPen announced Monday it will create a generic version of the life-saving drug at half the cost of the brand name. But a local allergist is skeptical about how much that will help.

Midwest Native Driving to All 412 National Park Sites

Trip Includes Stop in Chicago, Expected to Take 3 Years

(Courtesy Mikah Meyer)

When most people visit a National Park Service site, they visit the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. Not many realize that there are more than 400 National Park Service sites. But that’s one thing Mikah Meyer hopes to change as he travels cross-country visiting all 412 of those sites.