Media Spotlight

FROM A PEDIATRICIAN, LESSONS FOR DADS-TO-BE

THE NEW YORK TIMES

In a conference room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on a recent evening, a group of men sat down for a class on pregnancy and childbirth led by Craig Garfield, MD, associate professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences. Garfield has found that helping fathers benefits the children they raise — and that some of the health issues new moms face also affect new dads.

He discovered that new fathers gain significant weight and that many experience a major increase in depressive symptoms, which could lead to them being neglectful of their children. He also found that fathers of premature babies experience higher levels of stress than their partners during the transition home. Garfield has called for wider health screening in new and expectant fathers, many of whom do not have primary care physicians. Garfield is working on a pilot study expected to start in August to track health behaviors in new fathers.

NORTHWESTERN MICROBIOME PROJECT ON BOARD SPACEX

ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, ABC NEWS, THE WASHINGTON POST

In June, a SpaceX rocket launched the first orbiting robot with artificial intelligence and other station supplies. Also on board are two sets of genetically identical brown female mice, or 20 mousetronauts altogether.

Northwestern University scientists, including Fred Turek, PhD, professor of Neurology and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, want to study the bacteria in the animals’ guts and compare them to their identical sisters on the ground. They did the same with former NASA astronauts and identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly, during Scott’s yearlong space station mission a few years ago.

NEW TOOLS FOR TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

THE WASHINGTON POST

Half of all U.S. counties have no psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, and that lack of access, plus cost, has put traditional treatment beyond the reach of many. The breach is being filled with a new field of mental-health technology. IntelliCare, developed at Northwestern’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, includes a suite of programs aimed at depression and anxiety.

Among other features, individuals who are depressed and likely to stay in bed all day might be prompted with “goals” to get out of bed, brush their teeth and eat something. “As you check them off, you’re given harder things to accomplish,” said Stephen Schueller, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of Preventive Medicine and one of the apps’ developers. “People really like being challenged.”

A SURPRISE MEDICAL SOLUTION: HYPNOSIS

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Hypnotherapy — when patients enter a trance-like state using relaxation and visual images — is often associated with alternative medicine. But increasingly medical centers are using it to treat digestive conditions like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis. “It doesn’t get rid of the stimulus. Your GI tract is still moving. It’s just changing the threshold of perception so you’re not paying attention or feeling it with the same intensity,” said John Pandolfino, MD, chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Northwestern Memorial Hospital started offering hypnotherapy in 2006 and has plans to expand to two regional hospitals. Because there aren’t many treatments for IBS, hypnotherapy has become “the front-line therapy,” Pandolfino said.