Archives: Ask the expert
Read Tribune question-and-answer interviews with health and lifestyle experts on a wide range of topics.
December 11, 2013
Some people consider taking control of end-of-life decisions as the human rights issue of the 21st century. Medical advances have created longer lives and sometimes, ironically, longer and more torturous deaths, according to groups like Final Exit Network.
9:04 PM EST, November 12, 2013
Don't let the holiday blues get you this season. While the family get-togethers, gift exchanges and parties are part of the joys of the holidays, for some people those things can be stressful and, in some cases, depressing. We talked to Dr. Fatima Ali, a psychiatrist with Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital and DuPage Mental Health Services, about holiday stress and ways to deal with it. Here is an edited transcript of our interview.
November 20, 2013
Chronic pain is a formidable foe. It's invisible and can't be measured by an X-ray or a blood test. Sometimes it has no identifiable cause and yet it can ruin lives, affecting everything from employment to family relationships.
October 9, 2013
A recent study out of Northwestern University suggests that presenting certain smells during sleep could help reduce fear memories.
September 18, 2013
Though summer is in its final days, this is not the time to let up on skin care when it comes to the sun. We talked to Dr. Mary Martini, a dermatologist and head of the dermatology, pigmented lesions and melanoma program at Northwestern Medicine, for information about skin cancer, warning signs and ways to prevent it. Here's an edited version of our conversation.
August 21, 2013
About 50 percent of Americans use alternative medicine — and 10 percent use it on their children, according to Paul Offit, author of the new book, "Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine." (HarperCollins).
September 11, 2013
While exercise is often recommended to help with insomnia, a recent study by Northwestern University shows that the impact of hitting the gym might take some time to kick in when it comes to better sleep. We talked to study author Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist and director of the behavioral sleep program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, about the connection between a good night's sleep and exercise. Here's an edited transcript on our interview.
August 7, 2013
Back-to-school time is just around the corner, and that means your child will soon be running out the door to catch the bus and waiting in cafeteria lines for lunch. We talked to Toni Havala, a dietitian for Aramark food service at Edward Hospital in Naperville, about ways to make sure your child is getting the right start to the day and eating right at lunch. Here is an edited transcript:
July 10, 2013
The warmer weather brings out the bugs and flying insects — and some of them bite and sting. But how do you know if you need to take a Benadryl, rush to the emergency room or just put some ice on the sting or bite? We talked to Dr. David Zich, a physician with Northwestern Medicine, for advice on how to handle bee stings, mosquito bites and ticks. Here's an edited version of our interview:
June 19, 2013
A recently published study in the American Journal of Psychiatry took a look at the relationship between fatigue and depression in teenagers. Though fatigue is often thought to be a symptom of depression, the study showed that may not always be the case.
May 15, 2013
In recent weeks, the March of Dimes has held its annual March for Babies walks across the Chicago area. The walks benefit community programs and research aimed at helping pregnant moms reach full-term pregnancy. According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 9 babies in the United States is born prematurely. We talked to Dr. Natalia Henner, a neonatologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, about premature births. Here is an edited version of the interview.
March 6, 2013
In this age of play dates and play groups we sometimes forget that playtime doesn't have to be organized to be fun. And now, a recent study shows that moms who take too much of a role in playtime could find that their children wind up being less engaged with them or showing some negative emotions toward them.
April 10, 2013
If your eyes are itching and your nose is running, chances are you know that allergy season already is starting up. So what's an allergy sufferer to do to make it through?
April 24, 2013
Before you know it, the kids will be out of school and enjoying summer. And while that usually means lots of fun for children, it can sometimes also mean an injury or a trip to the emergency room.
February 6, 2013
Once again, sugary soft drinks are making headlines — and some soda lovers may not like what they hear.
December 19, 2012
Some 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that results from the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Although there is no cure, researchers have begun to make progress on finding better treatments with fewer side effects, including medications, surgery and, most recently, the importance of exercise.
January 23, 2013
Ask The Expert
Flu season is upon us, and it's been a rough one. If you haven't had the flu this winter, chances are you know someone who has. So, what should we do to keep ourselves from getting it? Some folks are packing their own "flu survival kits," while others are loyal to flu shots. We talked to Dr. Michael Lin, an infectious disease physician with a research interest in influenza at Rush University Medical Center, for some tips on how to make it through the flu season.
January 30, 2013
A diagnosis of hepatitis C — a stubborn virus that is a common cause of chronic liver disease — can be devastating. In 2007, it passed HIV/AIDS in annual deaths, with more than 17,000 annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
November 28, 2012
It's the season of merriment and joy — or at least that's what every TV commercial, magazine ad and thousands of other messages will keep telling us over the next month.
March 27, 2013
Most of us wish we had more hours in a day. Then maybe there would be enough time to get the sleep too many of us are missing. We talked about sleep with Dr. Arnon Rubin, a sleep specialist and pulmonologist at Suburban Pulmonary and Sleep Associates. He treats patients at Adventist Hospitals in Hinsdale, La Grange and Bolingbrook and also at Delnor Hospital in Geneva. Here is an edited transcript:
January 2, 2013
What is it about the New Year that motivates us to take control of our health and our lives?
November 14, 2012
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, affects an estimated 1 in 20 Americans, according to the American Tinnitus Association. While it is often described as ringing, it can also be buzzing, hissing, whirring or whistling. While it may seem like a mere annoyance, for sufferers it can destroy day-to-day life.
September 26, 2012
The issue of drinking during pregnancy is one that just refuses to go away. It is believed that nearly 1 in 3 women imbibe while pregnant and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a recommendation that every child be screened for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD describes the range of effects in the offspring of women who drink alcohol while pregnant.
January 9, 2013
In this era of high-stakes testing, recess has taken a back seat to more scholarly pursuits. But don't be so quick to dismiss the value of downtime, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
November 7, 2012
The term "pelvic floor" was not part of polite conversation a generation ago, when women with pelvic floor disorders, or PFDs, often suffered in silence.
October 24, 2012
For parents of children with food allergies, navigating everyday life can be like side-stepping land mines.
October 17, 2012
Treatment for certain cancers can affect your sex life, causing a range of symptoms that can make sex with your partner more difficult — or nonexistent. But that doesn't mean you can't have a healthy sex life, says Jeffrey Albaugh, a urology clinical nurse specialist who runs the new Ross Clinic for Sexual Health at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital, which treats both male and female sexual dysfunction.
August 22, 2012
Everyone will exhibit some kind of cognitive decline with advancing years. But the idea that we can shield ourselves from the most devastating brain diseases,Alzheimer's disease and dementia, is an intriguing prospect and an area of great interest to scientists and an aging population.
October 3, 2012
It's always tragic when someone dies suddenly. But when such an unexpected event happens to a seemingly healthy child or young adult, it's especially devastating.
October 31, 2012
The clocks get turned back Sunday and although that extra hour of snoozing is a treat, don't think it can make a dent in the nation's sleep deficit.
August 15, 2012
Most people know they should have an advocate with them when they go into the hospital. But they don't know how to be a good advocate for others. Karen Curtiss isn't a health care professional, but a former marketing consultant and mother of four who started CampaignZERO in 2009 to provide consumers with the strategies and checklists to help reduce medical errors. She compiled her research into a handbook called "Safe and Sound in the Hospital," which is available on Amazon and at CampaignZERO.org. We talked with Curtiss at her Lake Bluff home.
August 1, 2012
The best way to reduce risk for osteoporosis — a thinning and weakening of the bones — seems to be the subject of ongoing debate. This month brought a fresh round of questions after a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that vitamin D is the key ingredient to preventing and reducing broken bones. Dr. Sonali Khandelwal, a rheumatologist and co-director of the Osteoporosis Center at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, gave us some answers.
September 12, 2012
The massacres in Aurora, Colo., and at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee. The shootings outside the Empire State Building, in which an ex-employee killed his boss. Escalating gang warfare. In recent months, violence seemed to erupt everywhere. To get a better understanding of aggression of all kinds, we called on Stevan Hobfoll, a clinical psychologist and head of the behavioral sciences department at Rush University Medical Center.
July 25, 2012
In a few weeks, thousands of parents, after saying goodbye to their children, will be driving away from college campuses with lumps in their throats.
August 29, 2012
With kids poised to delve into another school year, Madeline Levine has some advice for parents: Back off.
July 18, 2012
Health care has dominated the headlines recently at the federal, state and local levels:
September 5, 2012
We think about being heart healthy. We think about strengthening our bones. But we rarely pondered the state of our kidneys — that is, until Boston Market announced last month that it was removing salt shakers from the tables at its 476 locations.
July 4, 2012
Last month, Commerce Secretary John Bryson, 68, resigned from his Cabinet post after suffering a seizure while driving, resulting in two car crashes. To get a better understanding of this condition, we turned to Dr. John Ebersole, a national authority on seizure disorders and director of the University of Chicago Adult Epilepsy Center. Here's what the neurologist had to say:
May 16, 2012
Obstetric researchers have made much progress in the last decade to increase the safety of pregnancy and childbirth. But preeclampsia — a potentially life-threatening disorder — has continued to be a stubborn foe that affects almost 300,000 women annually. May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, and communities nationwide are sponsoring walks to raise funds and educate the public.
June 27, 2012
How much money should be spent to prolong a life?
May 9, 2012
With warmer weather, out come the sandals … and neglected feet. The scaly heels, yellowed nails and thick calluses that have been under wraps all winter are now on full display. No wonder there are a half-dozen "I Hate Feet" groups on Facebook.
March 7, 2012
Dr. Laura Jana and Dr. Jennifer Shu are co-authors of a new, updated edition of "Food Fights" — a real world guide to meeting the nutritional challenges of parenthood. The two pediatrician moms have cultivated a laid-back approach to instill healthy eating habits, without turning the dinner table into a battlefield.
June 6, 2012
A few decades ago — before computers or checkout scanners — few people had heard of a rare condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Today, in many offices, wrist splints are as common as Post-it notes. So, how do we keep this modern problem at bay?
March 14, 2012
Statins are the most prescribed drugs in the world, taken by nearly 21 million Americans. So when anything changes with these cholesterol-lowering medications, it makes headlines.
May 2, 2012
The sharp increase in asthma since the 1980s — some 34 million Americans now suffer from the condition — has confounded health professionals.
March 28, 2012
According to studies published last week in The Lancet, taking a daily dose of aspirin can reduce the risk of cancer.
April 4, 2012
Ask the Expert
It has been two years since a Tennessee mom sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia with a note that read: "I no longer wish to parent this child." While no definitive diagnosis ever was made public, the boy was thought to suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
April 25, 2012
Ask the expert: Audiologist Lauren O'Flaherty explains why many Americans live with untreated hearing loss
Only 1 in 7 people ages 50 and older who should be using hearing aids actually wears a device, according to a recent study led by two Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the "Archives of Internal Medicine."
April 18, 2012
Ask the Expert
In an age of assisted reproductive technology, can you rewind the biological clock? Not as much as you think, say Yale researchers in a study published in a recent issue of "Fertility and Sterility."
March 21, 2012
For more than 25 years, Donalee Markus, a Highland Park-based learning specialist, has helped struggling students by emphasizing the importance of "exercising their brain muscles."
January 4, 2012
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recently gave her first public interview since she was shot in the head almost a year ago. Her journey has increased awareness and interest in speech and language impairments.
January 18, 2012
January is the time for resolutions and as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Bechara Choucair is responsible for the wellness goals of an entire city.
March 7, 2012
No one wants to lose their hair, but for a woman it is particularly distressing. While men can look perfectly presentable — even sexy — with their exposed scalp, no such options exist for the 30 million American women who grapple with thinning tresses. Dr. Maria Colavincenzo, a dermatologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has a practice that specializes in preserving those precious strands — especially in cases of androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary condition that causes hair loss, mainly on the top and crown of the scalp. Without an appointment, she answered some of our questions:
January 25, 2012
David Finch was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild autism spectrum disorder, in 2008, at age 30. At that time, he said, his three-year marriage was in a downward spiral because of his odd habits and rigid adherence to routines.
February 1, 2012
Wouldn't it be great if we could get a "do-over" in life, like when you were a kid and a ball rolled into traffic? Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist at Cornell University, can't fix the mistakes of the past, but he does have some ideas on how we can have fewer regrets in the future.
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