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Katharin Czink is WGN’s Medical Watch Producer.

Recent Articles
  • 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 […]

  • Tips on staying healthy and safe while shoveling

    Digging out without passing out. Shoveling snow carries a real danger for triggering a heart attack. Clean up day is traditionally a busy day at the ER. Why? Because whether you realize it or not, clearing your driveway is like hitting the gym at the highest intensity. Tarlan Hedayati, MD, attending physician Stroger Hospital: “Snow shoveling, like the snow we have out there right now, which is the wet, dense, heavy snow, is the same as running on a treadmill […]

  • Multivitamin

    How to find the right multivitamin for you

    CHICAGO — The multiple questions that lead to the right multivitamin. Two doctors put their heads together to give patients a more personalized formula. The shelves are loaded with them — a variety of vitamin supplements so overwhelming, how do you choose the right one? “We were both seeing a number of patients coming in very confused about what they should or shouldn’t be taking,” said internist and Vous Vitamin founder Dr. Arielle Levitan. For years, Levitan and endocrinologist Dr. Romy […]

  • Teacher of the Month: Alex Polanco

    In this computer driven world, our teacher of the month encourages his students to give their computers a rest — and get their hands dirty. WGN’s Teacher of the Month is Alex Polanco.  He’s an art teacher at Keller Junior High in northwest suburban Schaumburg. The Clay Project — dirty hands and all — is just one of many activities he uses to tap into his students creative abilities. Alex Polanco, Teacher of the Month: “I consider myself an acoustic art teacher, […]


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