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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Chicago Drops to No. 3 City for Bedbugs

After four consecutive years of reigning as the top city for bedbugs, Chicago drops to the No. 3 spot, according to a recent study by pest control company Orkin. 

Women to March, Rally in Chicago Day After Trump is Inaugurated

Thousands of women are expected to march through the city on Jan. 21 – regardless of the weather. “It could be 4 degrees out and we’ll be marching,” said organizer Liz Radford.

Can Someone Die of a Broken Heart?

Carrie Fisher, left, died Tuesday. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, right, died Wednesday after having a stroke. She was 84 years old. (Debbie Reynolds / Facebook)

Before her death Wednesday, actress Debbie Reynolds reportedly said she missed her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who died Tuesday. Can stress or grief cause death? Local doctors explain what broken heart syndrome is.

17 New Illinois Laws to Know in 2017

(Meagan Davis via Wikimedia Commons)

Higher city property taxes and a slew of new state laws go into effect at the start of the New Year. We give you the rundown.

Study: Immediate Rewards Boost Success of Long-term Goals

Will 2017 be the year you start exercising regularly or eating healthy? If you’re planning on making such a New Year’s resolution, you might want to bake some immediate rewards into your plan of attack.

Study: Exposure to Violence Can Trigger PTSD Symptoms

Women from Impoverished Neighborhoods at Higher Risk

A new study reveals a possible link between African-American women who live in impoverished neighborhoods and the chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Illinois Ranked 26th Healthiest State, Says Report

State Among the Worst for Excessive Drinking, Air Pollution

Fewer people are smoking in Illinois than other states but more are drinking excessively, according to a report released Thursday that ranks Illinois as the 26th healthiest in the nation. 

Ald. Willie Cochran Indicted, Charged with Fraud, Extortion, Bribery

| Brandis Friedman

Charges were announced Wednesday as the South Side alderman, a former Chicago police officer, attended the final City Council meeting of the year.

Northwestern Researchers Rewire Cells to Attack Cancer

Method Could be Used to Treat Other Diseases

Northwestern University synthetic biologists have developed a technology for engineering customized immune cells to build programmable therapeutics. (Credit: Image by Joshua Leonard and Kelly Schwarz, Northwestern University. Cell image by NIAID/NIH via Flickr)

A new study offers a possible look at the future of fighting cancer and other diseases that suppress the immune system.

City Wants Your Feedback on New Streetlights, Ahead of Installation

(Leefon / Wikimedia Commons)

Early next year around 270,000 streetlights in Chicago will be replaced with energy-efficient LED lights. Before the massive project begins, residents are being asked to give feedback on samples installed in seven neighborhoods. 

IHSA to Limit Baseball Pitchers to 105 Throws per Game

Starting this spring, high school baseball pitchers will be limited to throwing 105 pitches in a game, according to guidelines adopted by the Illinois High School Association.

Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Fails in Large Study, But Hope Persists

Disappointing results from a clinical trial released late last month by Eli Lilly, but the drug is still being studied as a potential therapy for those who are at risk for memory loss.

Study: Treating Malnutrition Shortens Hospital Stays, Decreases Readmissions

Addressing hospital patients’ malnutrition can reduce patient stays by nearly two days and decrease hospital readmissions by nearly 30 percent, according to a new study.

Addressing hospital patients’ malnutrition can reduce patient stays by nearly two days and decrease hospital readmissions by nearly 30 percent, according to a new study.                       

Hairdressers to Help Recognize Signs of Domestic Violence

(Dean Wissing / Wikimedia Commons)

Starting next year, cosmetologists working in Illinois will be required to learn how to recognize signs of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Share Your Squirrel Stories with Chicago Researchers

A fox squirrel (Toadberry / Wikimedia Commons)

Next time you see a squirrel, take a picture. That photo, along with additional location and observation data, can help Chicago researchers better understand the local urban ecosystem.

Emanuel Creates Legal Fund with $1M to Protect Immigrants, Refugees

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday the creation of a legal protection fund to help thousands of immigrants and refugees threatened with deportation and pledged $1 million to start the fund.

Teenage Binge Drinking Can Affect Future Children, Study Says

Binge drinking as a teen could affect the brain function of your future children, according to a recent Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study.

Mother Inspires Hope, Raises Awareness of Rare Infant Seizure Disorder

Ellen Wehrman and her son, Charlie, spend his first birthday preparing for an EEG. Wehrman, a former Loyola University Chicago student activities coordinator, will receive an award this week for raising awareness of infantile spasms, a rare disorder. (Courtesy Ellen Wehrman)

Only 2,500 children are diagnosed with infantile spasms in the U.S. each year. Meet one family that is sharing their story to raise awareness of the uncommon disorder.

Chicago Runners: Get Safety, Self-Defense Tips at Upcoming Event

The Chicago Area Runners Association is hosting a free safety and self-defense seminar for runners on Thursday. (Ed Dunens / Flickr)

In light of attacks on runners earlier this fall, the Chicago Area Runners Association is hosting a free safety seminar on Thursday. 

What You Need to Know About Food Allergy Labels

(Hustvedt / Wikimedia Commons)

What does it mean when a food label says it “may contain” peanuts or was “processed in a facility” that also uses peanuts? A local pediatrician explains what these labels mean and why consumers should be wary of them.

Study: Spending on Activities, Not Possessions, Inspires More Gratitude

Tempted to buy yourself a gift this week? Consider buying tickets to a show rather than a new pair of shoes. Not only will you be more grateful for the experience, but that gratitude can lead to more generosity, according to a recent study.

Watch Out for These Recalled Toys, Children’s Products

The Illinois Attorney General’s office is warning parents that hoverboards can overheat and catch fire in the recently released 2016 Safe Shopping Guide.  ( / Flickr)

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping. As consumers make their holiday gift lists, they’re being urged to check them twice for toys that have been recalled over the past year. Find out which items should be left on the shelf.

Elderly with Superior Memory Found to Have ‘Hallmarks’ of Alzheimer’s

(Alan Levine / Flickr)

Several 90-year-olds with superior memory were found to have the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease yet never developed dementia in their lifetimes. Scientists are now researching what protected these individuals from acquiring the disease.

O’Hare Airport Workers to Strike After Thanksgiving

Heading to O’Hare International Airport this week? You can breathe a sigh of relief: Airport workers announced Monday they won't walk off the job until Nov. 29.

Bryan Bickell, Former Blackhawk, Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (Credit: Chicago Blackhawks / Facebook)

Late last week it was announced that former Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A local neurologist talks about the disease.