ALZHEIMER’S PATIENTS KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE BY SHARING STORIES
The New York Times
An unusual eight-week storytelling workshop at Northwestern University is helping to keep the spark of love alive in couples coping with the challenges of encroaching dementia. The workshop, which started in January of 2014, was the brainchild of Lauren Dowden, a social worker at Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She quickly learned from family members in a support group that “their concerns were not being addressed about dealing with loss, not just of memory, jobs and independence, but also what they shared as a couple.”
SHE WANTS TO MAKE AN AUTONOMOUS WHEELCHAIR
Crain’s Chicago Business
Brenna Argall, PhD, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and her colleagues are working on a smart version of a familiar off-road vehicle: a wheelchair. Backed with $2.5 million in federal grants, they hope to field a commercially feasible model within five years that leaves the user in charge but learns from what it’s told, making control simpler, reaction time faster and collision avoidance easier.
WHY I GO TO ALEPPO
The New York Times
Samer Attar, MD, assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery wrote about his work at an underground hospital in Syria. “They are exhausted, endangered and they need help. That is why I volunteer for medical work in Syria; even the few weeks a year that I can offer provide some respite for the handful of surgeons who serve a population of 300,000 in a war zone. It is a heavy responsibility, but I feel I cannot ask world leaders to risk their citizens’ lives to save people there if I myself am unwilling to take such risks.”
ILLINOIS EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS INCREASED AFTER OBAMACARE
Hospital emergency department visits increased in Illinois after the Affordable Care Act took effect — the opposite of what many hoped would happen under the landmark health care law, according to a new study. “Emergency departments are already overcrowded, and bringing more patients in will continue to make that worse,” said Scott Dresden, MD, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and lead author of the study. Emergency department visits were increasing before the Affordable Care Act took effect, Dresden said, but the jumps revealed by the study go beyond those increases.
Angira Patel, MD, ’10 ’11 GME, and Sarah Bauer, MD, both assistant professors of Pediatrics, wrote a commentary about the inequalities women face in academic medicine. “… we need to stand behind our choices — to work, to stay at home, to have a family, to not have a family, to do both — and not be saddled with regret or anguish. Supporting one another in executing these choices should be the next mission of women in medicine, and the workplace in general. Only with this frame of mind and an open honest dialogue can we address the existing dearth of inequalities and female leadership in medicine and encourage women to stay in the game.”
NFL PLAYERS’ CAREERS MOST IMPACTED BY CERTAIN KNEE INJURIES
WTTW CHICAGO TONIGHT
Avid sports fan Wellington Hsu, MD, Clifford C. Raisbeck, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, said he’s frequently heard sportscasters make “very bold comments” about injured players’ futures, including “the players are never the same again or their career is done after this injury.” In 2009, Hsu began researching how spinal injuries affected athletes’ ability to return to play, as well as the players’ subsequent performance and career length. The results of his various studies showed that the players exceeded speculation by sportscasters.
Since the 1960s, life expectancy for Americans has been steadily increasing, thanks to a remarkable reduction in heart disease. Now that trend is slowing. “The greater cause of the stagnation in cardiovascular death rates is that the obesity epidemic, which started in this country in about 1985, is finally coming home to roost,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, chair of Preventive Medicine. Obesity raises blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of diabetes. “All the things that put us at risk for heart disease and stroke get much, much worse,” he said.