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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Alumni Host Benefit for ‘March for Our Lives’

(Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School / Facebook)

A benefit on March 18 on Chicago’s Near North Side to will raise funds for the March 24 event, which will coincide with marches across the country calling for gun reform in the U.S.

Naturopathic Physicians Pushing for State Licensing Law

Should naturopathic physicians be licensed in Illinois? A professional trade association says it’s a matter of public safety, but others say the move is not in the public’s best interest.

West Side United Aims to Improve Health, Life Expectancy of Residents

West Garfield Park residents have a life expectancy of 69 years, compared to an average life expectancy of 85 years in the Loop. By 2030, West Side United hopes to cut that life expectancy gap in half.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: March 1-4

(Chitaditarod / Facebook)

A shopping-cart race, eco-minded films, competitive chili and vintage finds usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

What Causes the Flu Vaccine to be Less Effective?

UChicago Study Finds Immune History Influences Effectiveness

This year’s flu vaccine is only 36 percent effective, according to the CDC. But a new study suggests that a person’s past flu experiences could influence how effective the flu vaccine is for them.

New Type of Wearable Electronics Could Boost Stroke Patients’ Recovery

(Elliott Abel / Shirley Ryan AbilityLab)

While inpatient settings help stroke victims recover, their progress tends to decline when they return home. Researchers are hoping that a new breed of wearable electronics could curb that drop-off in recovery.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 22-25

Chinese New Year celebrations take place around the globe each year, including London. (Paul / Flickr)

Lion dances, pancakes, beer tents and Oscar movie speculation usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

NIU Shooting Survivors Reflect on 10th Anniversary: ‘We’re Still Dealing With It’

Patrick Korellis places a rose on the memorial at Northern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Patrick Korellis)

Hundreds gathered Wednesday in suburban DeKalb to mark the 10th anniversary of a shooting at Northern Illinois University that left five people dead.

Florida School Shooting Spotlights Need for Mental Health Services

Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018 after a gunman opened fire.

The 19-year-old suspected of opening fire Wednesday inside a Florida high school had a troubled past. A pair of experts discuss mental health issues and how the threat of violence impacts young people.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 15-18

Book lovers, a Martian adventure, ciders and funny femmes usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Study: Scientists Discover Huntington’s Cancer Weapon

People with Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic illness, are less likely to develop cancer than the general population. Now, scientists have a better understanding as to why, thanks to the discovery of an “assassin molecule” by Northwestern University.

5,000 Doses of Lifesaving Narcan Donated to Illinois

NARCAN® Nasal Spray (Courtesy of Adapt Pharma)

Officials battling the state’s opioid epidemic got a boost this week with the donation of a medicine that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. In 2016, nearly 1,950 people died of opioid overdoses in Illinois.

Up to 10 Inches of Snow Could Blanket Chicago

Friday’s snowfall could be heavy at times but will gradually end later this morning after blanketing the area with another 2-4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s what you need to know.

Chicago Police Officers to Carry Lifesaving Naloxone

(Intropin / Wikimedia Commons)

As part of the city’s fight against opioids, Chicago Police officers will be equipped with naloxone. “Ensuring public safety goes beyond focusing solely on violent crime,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 8-11

(Chicago Auto Show)

Hot rods, cool jazz and sky-high views with four-legged friends usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Study: Teens Want Mobile Health Units to Address Sexual Health

A new University of Chicago study finds 92 percent of teens who received sexual and reproductive health care via mobile health units would recommend their friends use them too. 

Wilmette Man Completes Walk Across US for Parkinson’s Disease

(Uncorked Adventures NFP / Facebook)

Bill Bucklew walked more than 2,500 miles across the country in two months to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. “I have a whole range of emotions right now,” he said upon walking his final mile.

State Lawmakers Introduce Bill on Dense Breast Notifications

 (Army Medicine / Flickr)

Identical bills introduced in the Illinois House and Senate would mandate that mammogram providers notify women whose test results show they have dense breast tissue, a risk factor for breast cancer.

Study: ‘Guardian Molecule’ Protects Men from Multiple Sclerosis

Men are less likely to develop multiple sclerosis than women, and now scientists have a better understanding as to why that is, thanks to the discovery of a “guardian molecule” by Northwestern University scientists. 

Tavis Smiley to Host Town Hall in Chicago on Sexual Misconduct

(Tavis Smiley / Facebook)

The broadcaster whose show was suspended indefinitely by PBS in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct will moderate a panel Thursday at St. Sabina Church on the city’s South Side.

10 Things to Do This Weekend: Feb. 1-4

Arm wrestling, hot chocolate-inspired treats, freakish performances and a salute to Langston Hughes usher in the weekend. Here are 10 things to do in and around Chicago.

Risk of Getting the Flu Remains High in Chicago

City health officials remind residents it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. “This is a serious year,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita.

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

| Alexandra Silets

For first time since the height of the Cold War, the hands of the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic indicator of how close we are to a global catastrophe, have been moved to 11:58 p.m. This is the closest the clock has been to midnight since 1953.

Teen Smoking Rate Drops to Historic Low in 2017, City Says

Fewer Chicago teens are smoking cigarettes, according to city data. But the mayor and city health officials want to reach a “tobacco-free generation,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita.

Steve Bannon Accepts Invite to Speak at U of C, Students Protest

Steve Bannon (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Students at the University of Chicago protested early Thursday in response to news that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon had accepted an invitation to speak at the school.