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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Virtual Doctor in Development to Explain Test Results

(NEC Corporation of America / Flickr)

Annual physicals often come with a roster of tests, and the results of those tests can leave many of us scratching our heads. Scientists at the University of Illinois are trying to change that.

Cool, Wet Weather Ideal for Spring Planting

| Paul Caine

It may not seem like gardening weather, but The Organic Gardener Jeanne Nolan says now’s the ideal time to plant lettuces, radishes and peas which thrive in cooler temperatures.

Simple Mills CEO Focused on Cleaning Up Inner Grocery Aisles

Simple Mills CEO and Founder Katlin Smith (Credit: Simple Mills)

“I started Simple Mills with that mission of cleaning up the inner grocery aisles and taking processed foods and making them unprocessed and out of simple, whole food ingredients that you can pronounce,” said CEO Katlin Smith.

Study: Intermittent Fasting as Effective as Calorie Cutting for Weight Loss

(Courtesy of Canadian Obesity Network)

Feasting while dieting may sound counterintuitive, but a new study found that dieters who alternated between feasting and fasting lost as much weight as those who cut calories. 

Rabid Bat Found in Suburban Cook County Prompts Warning

(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Cook County Department of Public Health officials are reminding residents that bats become active this time of year, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing.

Bill Proposes Food Allergen Safety Training for Restaurants

Food allergies affect 15 million Americans and cause approximately 30,000 emergency department visits each year. Can the restaurant industry help bring these figures down?

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.