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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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Breakthroughs Podcast Archive

Listen to the people behind the science

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is a research-intensive medical school that fosters powerful collaborations on a thriving academic medical campus. We are driven by our mission to transform the practice of medicine and profoundly impact human health beyond the individual patient. We believe better answers only come from discovery.

COVID-19 Deaths and Health Racial Disparities with Clyde Yancy, MD

Although COVID-19 doesn't necessarily discriminate, some communities are far more susceptible to the disease. People who are black or African-American are more likely to contract the virus - and to die from it. Clyde Yancy, MD, discusses reasons for these outcomes and the need to fully address health care disparities in America.  

The Dangers of Unproven COVID-19 Therapies with Benjamin Singer, MD

While the world anxiously awaits a vaccine for COVID-19, some physicians on the front lines are trying new or repurposed therapies in an effort to help COVID patients. Dr. Benjamin Singer, a Northwestern physician-scientist, discusses his experiences in the ICU during this time and his recently published letter warning against the use of unproven therapies.

High Risk Adults and COVID-19 with Michael Wolf, PhD, MPH

In mid-March, the early days of Chicago's COVID-19 outbreak, older adults with multiple chronic conditions didn’t think the disease would affect them and reported not changing their behaviors, according to the results of a Northwestern Medicine. Michael Wolf led this study and explains the results.

COVID-19: An Update on the Current Situation with Michael Ison, MD, MS

Today we are sharing a recent Northwestern Medical Grand Rounds presentation called "COVID-19: An Update on the Current Situation". This talk was given at Northwestern Medicine on March 17, 2020 by Dr. Michael Ison, professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Surgery in the Division of Transplant Surgery at Northwestern. He discusses the virology and epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as predictors of patient outcome and strategies to manage patients with the infection.

Reducing Firearm Deaths in Children with Hooman Azad

A new Northwestern Medicine study published in JAMA Pediatrics has revealed that more stringent negligence laws, which hold adults responsible for safe storage of firearms, may have potential to reduce firearm fatalities in children. Hooman Azad, a third-year medical student at Feinberg and first author of the study explains.    

Dark Chocolate and Peripheral Artery Disease with Mary McDermott, MD

Most people with peripheral artery disease, PAD, have great difficulty walking and few treatments to help. Preliminary results of a new Northwestern Medicine study suggest that cocoa may have a therapeutic effect on walking performance in people with PAD. Dr. Mary McDermott led this study and shares the results.

Meat Eaters and Heart Health with Norrina Allen, PhD

An important finding detailed in a new Northwestern Medicine study warns of the role certain kinds of meat may play in increasing cardiovascular disease risk and premature death. Norrina Allen, PhD, led this research and shares details about the study.

Investigating the New Coronavirus with Karla Satchell, PhD

Microbiologist Karla Satchell, PhD, is leading a national effort to investigate the structure biology of the components of the new coronavirus virus (2019-nCoV) and ultimately understand how to stop it from replicating in human cells through a medication or vaccine. This work is being done with the  at Northwestern, which is funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

Playing Sports for Quieter Brains with Nina Kraus, PhD

When we read about college and youth sports today, it's usually about the dangers to health - mainly, concussions. However, a new study led by Nina Kraus, PhD, director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, BrainVolts, has found that athletes have healthier brains than non-athletes. 

The Urgent Need for New Uterine Fibroid Treatments with Serdar Bulun, MD

It is the most common tumor found in women and is the cause of 200,000 hysterectomies in the United States every year. Yet, uterine fibroids have not been a frequent topic of medical research. Northwestern’s Serdar Bulun, MD, leads one of the few research programs focused on the molecular and cellular abnormalities that may cause uterine fibroids and is investigating novel targets to treat the condition.

The Future of Genetic Medicine with Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth McNally is a human geneticist, a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist and the director of the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern. In this episode, she talks about her recent discoveries in the genetics of cardiovascular and neuromuscular disorders and shares what we can expect in the next few years in the field of genetic medicine.

Treating Aggressive Prostate Cancer with Maha Hussain, MD

For those with advanced metastatic prostate cancer, treatments are limited, but a new Phase 3 international clinical trial shows that a genetic targeted therapy could offer new hope for patients with specific gene mutations in their tumors. Northwestern's Dr. Maha Hussain recently presented the results of this landmark trial and shares insight.

Epigenetics and Cancer with Ali Shilatifard, PhD

For more than two decades, Ali Shilatifard, PhD, has dedicated his career to revealing the causes of childhood leukemia and providing detailed molecular insight into the role of epigenetics in cancer. He hopes his discoveries will lead to a super drug that could end childhood leukemia and other cancers.

Investigating New Glioblastoma Therapies with Rimas Lukas, MD

Northwestern scientists are conducting dozens of experiments and clinical trials aimed at understanding and fighting glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults. Rimas Lukas, MD, shares results of a promising Phase 1 clinical trial and other projects underway.

Bioengineered Organs and Kidney Diseases with Susan Quaggin, MD

In the new Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center at Northwestern, tiny bio-artificial kidneys are growing in the lab of Dr. Susan Quaggin. She and a team of scientists, with expertise in stem cells, blood vessels and developmental biology, are accelerating the development of such bioengineered organs. But that’s not all. Dr. Quaggin talks about the projects and science underway that could lead to new treatments to prevent, manage and cure kidney diseases.

Improving Memory Loss in Older Adults with Joel Voss, PhD

As we age, almost all of us have some memory loss. This age-related affliction is normal, but a new Northwestern Medicine study suggests it can be improved with non-invasive brain stimulation that sends electromagnetic pulses into a specific area of the brain. Joel Voss, PhD, an associate professor at Northwestern, led this study, published in the journal Neurology.

New Evidence on Eggs and Heart Health with Norrina Allen, PhD

A large, new Northwestern Medicine study reports adults who ate more eggs and dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause. Norrina Allen, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, explains.

Serious Eczema Symptoms Beyond the Skin with Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH

The health issues facing people with severe eczema are not only skin deep. Aside from intense itching and dry, irritable skin, people with a type of eczema known as atopic dermatitis also have significantly higher rates of medical and mental health issues. Why does atopic dermatitis come with so many other health issues and what can be done to give patients relief? Northwestern's Dr. Jonathan Silverberg explains.  

Why Are Food Allergies on the Rise? with Ruchi Gupta, MD

There’s been an uptick in childhood food allergies in recent years, and new evidence from Northwestern shows that they’re also becoming more common in adults. Many of the reactions to these allergies are life-threatening. Why is this increase happening and how can we keep people affected by food allergy safe? Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH is trying to answer those questions.

Your Ideal Heart Health with Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones was named physician of the year in 2017 by the American Heart Association. Through his research and practice as a preventive cardiologist at Northwestern, Dr. Lloyd Jones is chasing a big goal – to improve and preserve the heart health of Americans, one patient at a time.

The Genetics of Coffee Drinkers with Marilyn Cornelis, PhD

Is drinking coffee a healthy habit or a vice? Why can some people drink coffee all day with little consequence while others get jittery after a cup? Marilyn Cornelis, PhD, studies the genetics of coffee consumption, caffeine metabolism and taste preferences and has some new findings to share about one of the most popular beverages in the world.

Precision Medicine for African-Americans with Minoli Perera, PharmD, PhD

The field of pharmacogenomics -- using a patient’s genome to predict how well they will respond to medication -- is a hot area of medicine today. But, almost all data used in these predictions comes from people of European decent. Minoli Perera, PharmD, PhD, wants to change that. She is a pioneer in the area of pharmacogenomics in African-Americans and has some new discoveries to share.

Chronic Pain and the Placebo Effect with A. Vania Apkarian, PhD

Chronic pain, such as lower back pain that lasts for months or years, affects 100 million Americans and costs half a trillion dollars a year in healthcare costs. It is also contributing to the current opioid crisis. A. Vania Apkarian, PhD, explains his recent discoveries related to chronic pain and how placebos may be a very effective option for some.

How to Stop Antibiotic Misuse with Jeffrey Linder, MD, MPH

Physicians are notorious for prescribing antibiotics to people who don't really need them. This can lead to dangerous side effects for patients. Jeffrey Linder, MD, MPH, has developed effective ways to reduce the number of inappropriate prescriptions. He explains how similar interventions can be used to address the prescription opioid crisis.

High BMI and Pregnancy Weight Gain with Alan Peaceman, MD

More than 50 percent of women who are of childbearing age are overweight or obese, which may put them at risk for complications during pregnancy and child birth and affect their babies’ health, too. Alan Peaceman, MD, shares results of a new clinical trial, aimed to help these women safely reduce their weight gain with diet and exercise interventions.

What Makes Someone a SuperAger? with Emily Rogalski, PhD

Some people’s brains are aging at a rate much slower than average. They are called SuperAgers, men and women over the age of 80 with the mental faculties of people decades younger. Emily Rogalski, PhD, has been studying SuperAgers for a decade and reveals some fascinating findings about their brains and lives.

Improving LGBTQ Health with Brian Mustanski, PhD

The health of LGBTQ people has long been understudied in the scientific community. Brian Mustanski, PhD, wants to change that. As the director of the Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern, he is leading an effort to study, intervene and improve the health of the sexual and gender minority community.

What Causes ALS? with Robert Kalb, MD

Northwestern has long been on the forefront of studying the causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and treating patients with the disease. Robert Kalb, MD, Director of the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, is optimistic that more breakthroughs in the basic biology of the disease are on the way and a cure is possible. Photo Credit: Evangelos Kiskinis Lab, Northwestern University

Modern-Day Fatherhood and the Health of Dads with Craig Garfield, MD

As a group, fathers have been understudied by scientists, but a growing body of literature has found that fathers can play an important role in the health of their children. Becoming a father can also impact a man's health, mentally and physically. Craig Garfield, MD, has published dozens of studies about fatherhood. He shares insights about modern-day dads that might surprise you.

A New Way to Diagnose Glioma Brain Tumors with Daniel Brat, MD, PhD

Pathology is a field that’s rapidly evolving, in parallel with advances in precision medicine and a trend toward sub-specialization. Daniel Brat, MD, PhD, a neuropathologist who has spent nearly two decades studying diffuse gliomas, is spearheading this evolution within the arena of brain tumor diagnostics while straddling the line between scientific investigation and the practice of medicine.

Chicago's Zip Code Issue with Melissa Simon, MD

In Chicago, where you live can impact your likelihood to die from cancer. Melissa Simon, MD, wants to change that. Find out how this scientist, educator and advocate for the underserved is working to improve the cancer mortality gap in Chicago.

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