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Stories by Kristen Thometz

Researchers Seek to Find Cause of Fibromyalgia via Genetic Testing

Fibromyalgia affects up to 6 percent of the world’s population, yet little is known about the cause of the disorder, characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. University of Illinois at Chicago researchers now hope to uncover its origins.

Cancer Survivor Pushing for State Law on Dense Breast Notifications

Patti Beyer (Jon Hillebrand / NorthShore University HealthSystem)

Glenview resident Patti Beyer is advocating for a state law that would require mammography reports to inform women if they have dense breast tissue, a risk factor for cancer. “It’s already in the mammography report to the doctor but unless the doctor tells you, it’s kept from you,” she said.

Joel Weisman to Retire as Host of ‘The Week in Review’

“After 40 years I've decided to end my term as host and senior editor of this show I helped create,” Joel Weisman said. A special show next month will mark the show’s fourth decade, and Weisman’s final appearance as host.

Love Shopping, Hate Making Returns? There’s a (New) App for That

The holiday season and shopping go hand-in-hand – as do the dreaded holiday returns. One local startup wants to take headache out of making returns – by making them for you.

Self-Taught Businesswoman Launches Chicago Black Women’s Business Week

A weeklong initiative geared toward women of color offers networking opportunities, workshops and more. “It’s good to be part of a community,” said Chicago native Tranette Williams, who founded the event.

Researchers to Design App to Reduce Back-to-Back Pregnancies in Teens

In an effort to reduce the number of back-to-back pregnancies among adolescents, Chicago researchers are designing a multimedia tool kit to educate, engage and offer resources to young women.

Smoking Rates Drop in Young Adults Following Tobacco 21 Law, City Says

Since the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Chicago was increased to 21 in July 2016, fewer young adults in the city are smoking, according to data from a newly released survey.

State Creates Program to Find Missing People with Alzheimer’s Disease

The new Silver Search program provides education and resources to help locate people who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia when they go missing.

‘Hamilton’ Star Begins ‘My Shot at Epilepsy’ to Raise Awareness, Funds

“Hamilton” star Miguel Cervantes and a group of children demonstrate the “My Shot” pose used in the viral campaign started by Cervantes and his wife, Kelly, to raise awareness and funds for epilepsy research. (CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy / Facebook)

Inspired by the song “My Shot,” from the blockbuster musical, actor Miguel Cervantes is challenging the public to take their “shot” and help raise awareness and funds to find a cure for epilepsy. 

Rev. Jesse Jackson Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

The civil rights advocate announced Friday that he was diagnosed with the progressive degenerative disorder in 2015. 

Letter: Extend Federal Funds for Children’s Health Insurance Program

More than 50 organizations are urging the Illinois congressional delegation to reauthorize funding for programs that provide health insurance to children and support for low-income and at-risk families, before it becomes a crisis in the state.

Imperfect to Deliver ‘Ugly’ Fruits, Vegetables to Chicagoans

(Courtesy of Imperfect)

Fruits and vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, but only those that meet strict cosmetic requirements end up in grocery stores, while “ugly” produce goes to waste. Imperfect, a new produce delivery service, hopes to change that.

Chicago Teen Birth Rate Drops to New Low

Teen birth rates in Chicago have reached a new low, according to city officials. In 2015, there were 27.5 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19, a 67-percent drop from 1999.

UChicago’s Chuan He Awarded 2017 Paul Marks Prize in Cancer Research

University of Chicago professor Chuan He (Lloyd DeGrane for the University of Chicago)

The biennial award is bestowed upon three promising researchers under the age of 45 making significant contributions to understanding the disease or improving treatments. 

Scientists Target Cancer’s ‘Achilles’ Heel’ to Stop Therapy Resistance

(Mike Mitchell / National Cancer Institute)

Northwestern University scientists believe they may have found the “Achilles’ heel” of cancer. In a recent study, researchers were able to almost completely eradicate the disease in laboratory cell cultures.

ADA Responds to Chicago, County Officials’ Letter on Opioids

(David Kessler / Flickr)

Responding to local officials’ call for restrictions on opioid prescriptions, the American Dental Association outlines the steps it’s taking to address the opioid epidemic. 

Local Salon Owner Seeks Blow-Dry Only State License

A North Shore salon owner says cosmetology licenses should not be required for employees of salons specializing in styling hair, rather than cutting it. But not everyone in the industry agrees that a blow-dry license is a good idea.

Chicago, County Officials Take Action Against Opioid Epidemic

(The Javorac / Flickr)

Local officials call for restrictions on opioid prescriptions as Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposes a $500,000 investment to fight the opioid epidemic.

Basketball Memories Help South Side Artist Paint ‘Honest’ Chicago Story

“Black Enough” by Max Sansing (Courtesy of Gallery 19 / SOFA Chicago)

Basketball kept Max Sansing and his friends out of trouble, but when the rims were removed from neighborhood parks and schools, their lives were changed. Now Sansing is using old backboards to tell that story.

Earth Microbiome Project Seeks to Map Planet’s Microbial Diversity

The Earth Microbiome Project aims to catalog all of the world’s microbial communities. (G.M. King)

Scientists say there are more bacteria in the ocean than stars in the universe, yet little is known about them. A new study outlines the “crazy idea” that led to a project described by one scientist as the “Google database for microbes.”

UIC Researchers to Address Pharmacy Deserts, Closures in Chicago

(Linda Bartlett / Wikimedia Commons)

In some Chicago neighborhoods, pharmacies appear to be in abundant supply. In others, they’re scarce. Researchers will spend the next three years addressing their dwindling numbers on the city’s South and West Sides.

UChicago Scientists Develop Tool to Predict Severity of Flu Season

A new tool developed by University of Chicago scientists could boost public health officials’ ability to predict how severe an upcoming flu season will be. 

Northwestern Scientists Discover Molecules Capable of Killing Cancer

“Our research may be tapping into one of nature’s original kill switches, and we hope the impact will affect many cancers,” said Northwestern scientist Marcus Peter. “Our findings could be disruptive.”

‘Past the Naked Eye’ Captures Science, Fine Art

(Kalyee Costello)

“I’d like more people to be interested in science,” said Chicago student photographer Kaylee Costello. “These images will hopefully grab their attention, so they also know there is art within science.”

Northwestern Opens Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause

(Credit: Northwestern Medicine)

A first-of-its-kind center brings together physicians, advanced practice nurses, certified sex therapists and pelvic floor therapists to address two often unmet areas of women’s health care.