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Katharin Czink is WGN’s Medical Watch Producer.

Recent Articles
  • Dividing donated organ can sometimes conquer two life-threatening conditions and save two lives

    CHICAGO — One donor organ, two recipients. It’s not always possible but under the right circumstances, a scarce resource is divided … and conquers not one but two life-threatening conditions. Two-year-old Omkaara Kamath wasn’t up for a high five with Madison Whitlow, but the two share a much deeper connection. Just three months ago, they each received a portion of one deceased donor’s liver. Dr Saeed Mohammad, Lurie Children’s gastroenterologist: “The liver is unique in the way it can be […]

  • Exoskeleton helps veteran make history

    CHICAGO — He’s one of the first in the world and the only patient in Chicago. Today, Sergeant Roosevelt J. Anderson, Jr, walked out of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago wearing an exoskeleton — a wearable, robotic device designed to power the legs of patients with spinal cord injuries. Seeing the technology in action is impressive. But seeing what it’s done for the army veteran injured in a motorcycle accident is awe-inspiring. Sgt Roosevelt J. Anderson, Jr: “I wanted the […]

  • Mrs Hayes’s creativity in adaptive PE gives students a voice: Teacher of the Month

    ST CHARLES, Ill — WGN’s Teacher of the Month belongs to that special breed of educators who takes students with special needs off the sidelines and eases them into the game. Shari Hayes is an adaptive physical ed instructor at St Charles North High School in suburban St Charles. Tenth grader Jack McGraw is one of her students. It was jack who brought her to our attention. Jack McGraw: “Mrs Hayes is the most fantastic teacher in the world. She’s […]

  • Study says long term marijuana use impacts memory

    CHICAGO — Memory and marijuana. A new study looks at heavy cannabis use in adolescence and uncovers a memorable finding. Matthew Smith, PhD, Northwestern Medicine researcher: “So this is the hippocampus.” The curved structure rests in the mid-brain – a center for long-term memory storage. Matthew Smith, PhD: “The hippocampus is involved in just kind of day-to-day conversation. If you’re going to talk to somebody, and you want to remember what you’re talking about later on in the day or […]

  • Fighting cancer by revving up the immune system

    CHICAGO — Revving up the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The idea has been studied and tested for years – now a breakthrough for some lung cancer patients. Alford Thomas: “I do have my days where I have depression.” Deborah and Alford Thomas have been married forty years. Together they faced Alford’s stroke in 2005. Five years later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Alford Thomas: “It was good for a while …” But in 2013, the cancer not […]

  • How surgeons are navigating deep inside the brain

    Minimally invasive procedures are common when it comes to the heart and other organs, but the brain has lagged behind. Now, taking advantage of the organ’s natural anatomy, surgeons tunnel through to reach tumors deep in the brain. “We just assumed that it was exhaustion.” For weeks, 44-year-old Jill Vannatta pushed through the unusual fatigue she felt. But there were other signs that troubled the active mother of three and her husband, Jeremy. “We noticed a little bit of short term […]

  • What brains are teaching us about Alzheimer’s

    CHICAGO — A surprise for researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease. An unprecedented discovery in the brains of twenty-somethings – the build-up of a damaging protein associated with the disease begins in early adulthood and continues throughout the lifespan. “So these are the blocks of the brain that we obtain when we have a whole donated brain.” It’s just one of the hundreds of human specimens at Northwestern Medicine’s brain bank. Changiz Geula, PhD: “Having human brain is crucial for studies of […]

  • How to prevent and treat frostbite

    CHICAGO — Why your skin is at risk in frigid temperatures. When it gets cold, your body conserves heat by limiting blood flow to your skin … instead sending blood flow to protect vital internal organs. So how do you protect your outer layer while outside in the elements? This may just be a dummy, but it was designed by very wise people to show you exactly what happens when frigid air grips your body. Jason Dupuis, Museum of Science and […]

  • Loss of loves can have physical effects

    CHICAGO — Love … when it comes to matters of the heart, the emotion can be healthy. But for others, a lack of it stirs darker feelings. The signs are everywhere. Sweet treats fill the pastry cases at local bakeries. Displays of cards, candies and gifts take center stage in neighborhood shops. Valentine’s Day is upon us. Karen Larimer, PhD, DePaul University assistant professor of nursing: “Love, I would say, is good for the heart.” Especially when it comes in […]

  • Option to freeze fertility gives cancer patients hope

    CHICAGO — Preserving life but threatening a patient’s ability to bring life into the world. That’s the dilemma with cancer drugs — some medicines rob young patients of their fertility. Even those much too young to understand the potential loss, now may have an option — the chance to freeze their fertility in time with the hope science will grow as they do. Katie Palermo, cancer patient: “I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 12 before going into […]


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