Health and Science

VIDEO: East meets West: Acupuncturist crosses cultures in Chicago

By Siyao Long

Stephen Bonzak, a licensed acupuncturist and professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, is bringing Eastern medicine to the art of healing.  Continue reading

Electronic health records help the healing

By Mary Lee

Ocean-themed décor splashes the walls of La Rabida Children’s Hospital in a room filled with bright, plush chairs contoured like the candy Dots. But perky colors can’t erase the worry on Maria Gallegos’ face as she sits in the room waiting for her 6-year-old daughter to finish her appointment.

She’s lost count of the routine check-ups after dipping in and out of hospitals since her daughter’s conception. Born seven weeks premature, Lindsey championed through multiple surgeries including a tracheostomy, which helped her breathe; and a gastrostromy (G-Tube), which channeled nutrients through her body via an inserted tube. At eight months old, Lindsey and her twin Mackenzie were diagnosed with Achondroplasia dwarfism, a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Continue reading

Chicagoans waste 55 million pounds of food each month

By Sarah Kramer

Picture your fridge – the leftovers from last night’s dinner, the half-finished meal from the corner deli, the bag of avocados trucked in from California, the loaf of multigrain bread slowly getting stale.

How much of the food in your fridge and the rest of your kitchen at this moment will you eat before you throw it out? If you’re anything like most Americans, you throw out at least a quarter of everything that comes through your kitchen. Continue reading

Extension denied: Pet coke piles must be covered by June 2016

By Sarah Kramer

The Chicago Department of Public Health denied a request on Monday to extend the deadline for covering the piles of petroleum coke stored at terminals along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Far South Side.

Koch Industries subsidiary KCBX Terminals asked the city in December to allow an 18-month extension – with a new deadline of December 2017 – for completion of the 1,000-foot-long enclosure to cover the pet coke storage piles. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the public health department have mandated that the piles be fully covered by June 2016. Continue reading

Humboldt Park residents stand up to HIV/AIDS

By Dawnn Anderson

Residents of Humboldt Park recently assembled to learn more about the disproportionate effects of HIV/AIDS in Latinos and African-Americans. Human rights activist Ricardo Jimenez led the discussion about the services offered at VIDA/Sida, a non-profit that serves the Latino LGBTQ and HIV positive community. Continue reading

Chicago Celiac Catholics celebrate communion in the low-gluten way

By Ellen Kobe

On a Saturday evening in January, Carol Shilson, a parishioner at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Lincoln Park participated in a common experience among Roman Catholics: the Eucharist. As the sun went down and the church’s stained glass windows turned from vibrant colors to darkness, the Rev. Jeremy Dixon consecrated the communion — turning the bread and the wine into what Catholics believe is the actual body and blood of Christ.

From the left-side pews, Shilson made her way down the main aisle with the rest of the congregation, which sang a hymn, folded their hands and strode back to their seats while the wafers melted in their mouths and the burning sensation of wine seeped down their throats.

Holy Communion is a shared experience for Shilson and other Catholics. They are only required to go through these motions once a year, although the sacrament is more routine for many who go to Mass every Sunday or even daily.

But for Shilson, receiving traditional communion is a health hazard. She has Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder activated by ingesting a gluten protein in wheat. Continue reading

ObamaCare sign-up runs smoothly after changes

By Margaret Anderson

After healthcare.gov’s rocky start in 2013, healthcare workers and officials made Sunday’s enrollment deadline run more smoothly by extending the hours for free enrollment assistance at 26 locations across Chicago.

There were 82 locations with extended hours across the state, up from no more than 10 locations last year, according to Brian Gorman, director of outreach and consumer education for Get Covered Illinois.

Continue reading

Measles vaccination rates at public schools lowest in poorest areas

By Emily Hoerner

Less than 90 percent of students at 14 Chicago Public Schools were vaccinated for measles last school year, according to data by the Illinois State Board of Education. Nearly all of those schools are located in low-income neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.

Francis M. McKay Elementary in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood had only 80.8 percent of students vaccinated last year, while Legacy Elementary Charter School in North Lawndale had 84.8 percent of children vaccinated against the measles. Both neighborhoods hosted more than one school with low vaccination rates. Continue reading

VIDEO: Humboldt Park residents save feral cats, reduce population

By Beth Lawrence

According to the ASPCA there are an estimated 70 million stray cats in the United States. In the winter, stray cats need more energy to grow thicker coats and gain weight, but their food sources are more limited.

One Chicago resident is helping these cats, but it’s not by helping them get adopted.

Continue reading

Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild

By Sara Freund

Leafless trees stretch their branches toward the gray sky like ageless giants at the Chicago Botanic Garden .

The trees appear frozen still, but they are warriors. Some species of oak trees sense when they’re under attack – they detect the saliva of chewing insects and retaliate.  The oaks release chemicals to warn their neighbors of an impending attack. Continue reading Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild