All posts by annekrall2019

Compulsive loyalty at Starbucks and clues to it from a neurology lab

By Annie Krall
Medill Reports

Starbucks has learned how to make customers keep coming back for more thanks to their rewards program.

And they’re not alone.

Thousands and thousands of businesses use rewards programs to draw customers in and keep them loyal. But why is potentially getting the next stamp or another level up so enjoyable to us?

Talia Lerner, a neurobiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and her team of researchers are trying to answer that question and many more. Using mice as test subjects they are analyzing the neurological pathways that make compulsive behaviors so difficult to stop, especially when it comes to alcoholism or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Helping to Close Science’s Gender Gap at 2019 Automation Fair

By Annie Krall

Even in 2019, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. That’s a startling statistic. It’s downright shameful. Yet, walking around the 2019 Automation Fair in Chicago from November 18-19, I’m optimistic. Watching a group of 7th grade girls play with robotics equipment in McCormick Place was eye-opening. Granted, they were playing hooky to come and hang out with their robotics team friends, but when you miss school to go have fun with NXT Mindstorm sets, I can assume you’re probably doing alright in the classroom.

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Must See Macy’s Holiday Windows on State Street!

By Annie Krall
Medill Reports

The holiday season is just around the corner and most of us are probably not ready here in Chicago. Yet, one man has been planning for this winter all year, and it is finally his “time to shine”. Take a look at a day in the life of Brian Peluso, the Macy’s Holiday Windows Visual Manager.

Step into this winter wonderland he has created on State Street for both locals and visitors.

Photo at top: The child in all of us can enjoy the magic of the Macy’s Holiday Windows now on display. (Annie Krall/MEDILL)

Recent vaping perceptions are more than just smoke and mirrors

By Annie Krall
Medill Reports

llinois now holds the title for the highest number of patients with vaping related illnesses in the country, according to a recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Over 900 cases of vaping induced lung disease have been reported in the United States as of Sept. 20. Illinois was home to 82 of those cases—mostly among teenagers.

The use of e-cigarettes to smoke nicotine or THC inspired conversation in Chicago, and recent research released may reveal what people really think about vaping and the danger it can cause.

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