Scientists say they’ve documented an unseen drag on major league baseball players that can wipe out home field advantage, make pitchers give up more homeruns and take some punch out of a team’s bats. The culprit: jet lag. Ravi Allada, MD, professor of Pathology, and his colleagues wanted to study the effects of body clock disruptions on human performance. So they chose baseball, a game with plenty of performance measures gathered from hundreds of games a year, played by people who get little chance to settle in to new time zones when they travel. Their analysis was released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Margaret Danilovich, ’07 PT, ’07 DPT, PhD, instructor of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, wrote a column explaining why it’s important to help patients improve their health literacy and described some current efforts underway to do so. “Early in my career as a physical therapist, patients who missed appointments or did not complete their home exercise program frustrated me. I found myself blaming patients for not improving while not fully realizing I was the one who needed to change. As I gained more experience, I recognized that patients were not ignoring my instructions; they simply did not understand what to do,” she wrote.
A small new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests that one easy way for older adults to get deeper sleep and stronger memories is to listen to a certain soothing sound called “pink noise” — a mix of high and low frequencies that sounds more balanced and natural than its better-known cousin, “white noise.” “The effect here, at least for memory, is quite related to the ability of the sound stimulus to enhance slow-wave sleep,” said senior author Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, ’87, ’89 GME, chief of Sleep and Circadian Medicine in the Department of Neurology.
PARENTS OF PREEMIES WILL SOON HAVE AN APP
Crains Chicago Business
Craig Garfield, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences, is developing a smartphone app that directly connects new parents to real-time information about their babies in intensive care. The app, called SMART NICU2HOME and still in the development stages, aims to provide a child’s real-time vital statistics, plus a selection of research about the baby’s condition that is better curated — and less panic-inducing — than late-night Google searches. “No parent expects their baby to be in the neonatal intensive care,” said Garfield. “It’s shocking: They’ve lost all their touchstones and expectations. We want to give them the key pieces of information that can make this difficult time more manageable.”
NORTHWESTERN MEDICAL STUDENTS DECRY EFFORTS TO REPEAL OBAMACARE
The Chicago Tribune
Dozens of students and faculty laid down their white coats to raise awareness about people who may lose their health insurance with changes to the Affordable Care Act. The Chicago Tribune visited campus to film the student-organized demonstration, and medical student Wil Gibb took photos.