Health and Science

Weight loss surgery leads to longer life

By Jamie Friedlander

Tony Gambee, the CEO of a software company in Boulder, Colorado, used to be able to eat an entire slab of ribs in one sitting at his favorite barbecue joint.

Now, it’s two ribs and he’s full. His secret is gastric bypass, a type of weight loss surgery that promises dramatic results, but often involves a lot of maintenance afterward and some difficult side effects at first, such as vomiting.

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Indiana HIV Outbreak Continues to Grow

By Jamie Friedlander

Southeastern Indiana health officials confirmed today an HIV outbreak there continues unabated. As of March 6 there are 44 confirmed and 11 preliminary cases of HIV. The outbreak is connected to injection of the prescription drug Opana, an opioid painkiller that contains oxymorphone, a narcotic pain reliever.

State officials first reported the outbreak Feb. 25, after identifying  26 confirmed and 4 preliminary HIV positive cases since mid-December. These cases have been reported in Scott, Clark, Jackson, Perry and Washington counties. Continue reading

Social media creates solidarity for those affected by eating disorders

By Lucy Vernasco

Tweets lit up the emotional landscape for people affected by eating disorders. The messages surged through an hour session Sunday to kick off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Social media outlets have become conversation spaces for providing support and a community oasis for those who the know the toll disordered eating can take on people’s lives. So on Sunday night, Adios Barbie, a media outlet celebrating healthy body image, hosted a party – the third annual #AdiosED twitter party. Body-image activists served as  “panelists” participating from their laptops included Sharon Haywood, Melanie Klein, Melissa A. Fabello, Dagan VanDemark and Gloria Tepiliuelia.

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VIDEO: Chicago’s food deserts still a problem

By Janel Forte

Imagine having to go further than 2 miles from your home to get fresh produce, and even then it’s not guaranteed that it’ll be affordable. That’s a reality for many people throughout the Chicagoland area.

Despite efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to cut the number of food deserts, many Chicago neighborhoods still don’t have accessibility to fresh produce, fruits and vegetables. Continue reading

Boys suffer from eating disorders too

By Priyam Vora

“The first time I made myself throw up was at age 14.

It was a Sunday night and my family was in the living room watching television. I sat in my room with a carton of sugar-free chocolate ice cream and a spoon, shoveling every drip of the quickly melting ice cream down my throat.

Eating in my room had become a daily habit over the years, especially after I started dieting around age 10. That particular week I was on a quick-fix diet that my stepmother had given me. The new diet was supposed to help me lose 10 pounds in one week. I was on day three and starving. I had lost four pounds already.

I ran to the bathroom to throw up that ice-cream. That would be a lot of calories, I thought to myself.”

– Zac Stafford, 26, survivor of anorexia. He is now a counselor helping boys in Chicago recover from eating disorders.

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Oil prices freeze the Illinois fracking boom

By Holly LaFon

Illinois may have missed the fracking boom, as oil prices simmer near $50 a barrel. But a heated drama to reclaim the gold rush is playing out downstate with a cast of environmental activists, big oil, farmers, politicians and Saudi Arabians.

Only one company, Strata-X signed up to apply for a permit to drill in Illinois to date. The boomtown era of just three years ago eroded rapidly over the past six months as oil prices lost half their value. Continue reading

VIDEO: Citizen Scientists Catch Clues about Star Formation

By Lizz Giordano

Citizen scientists are leading astronomers to new clues about star formation.

Citizen scientist volunteers discovered the more than 900 mysterious bright yellow objects that became the subject of recent paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Continue reading

VIDEO: First large-scale green roof in Chicago

By Adriana Cargill

Chicago’s first permitted large-scale commercial green roof farm is set to open in the West Loop this summer. The two Chicago companies behind the project will begin planting in mid to late April.  They hope this will be the start of something big.

According to City of Chicago Data from 2010, there is the equivalent of 95 football fields’ worth of green roofs in Chicago and that number grows every year.

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Chicago day cares, parents tighten measles precautions

By Meg Anderson

Young moms chatted between cloth diaper displays, with wide-eyed babies dangling and cooing in carriers. But amid the heady odor of lotion samples and soiled diapers, the threat of measles loomed in many minds at MommyCon, a natural parenting convention.

“Honestly, it pisses me off that we have to worry about it,” said Michelle Pizarro, 30, as she sat feeding eight-month-old Mila at the Feb. 21 convention in Rosemont.

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Cutting the wheat from the chaff: truths behind gluten free

By Jamie Friedlander

After spending six weeks in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2006, I returned home incredibly sick. I had sallow skin, dark circles under my eyes, severe fatigue, abdominal pain and more than anything, I had to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes. My parents took one look at me when I got off the plane and knew something was wrong.

My pediatrician assumed I had contracted some sort of parasite in Mexico, but after months of testing, he was stumped. He sent me to a gastroenterologist, who specializes in diseases of the digestive tract.  But she  couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was still sick. I knew the doctors were worried because for several months (brace yourself) my stools were pale peach. Continue reading