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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Breakthroughs Podcast

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.

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Cover image for episode 25

Influenza and COVID-19 with Michael Ison, MD

As flu season begins and COVID-19 continues to spread, Michael Ison, MD, is here to share some of his latest findings. He is part of Northwestern research teams running studies on both COVID-19 and on influenza vaccines and treatments.

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At-Home Care for COVID-19 Patients with Jeffrey Linder, MD, MPH

Millions of people are now living with COVID-19 and their long-term outcomes are unknown. Northwestern's Dr. Jeffrey Linder says more research studies on this group are needed to provide better information about COVID-19 care before, during, and beyond the hospital.

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COVID-19 Antibody Testing with Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD

A team of Northwestern scientists have come together from across disciplines to develop a COVID-19 antibody test designed for at-home use. Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, is part of the team working on this test to determine prior exposure to the virus.

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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.

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Wearable Device to Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms with John A. Rogers, PhD

Monitoring patients and frontline health care workers for symptoms of COVID-19 could get much easier with a small wireless sensor developed by scientists at Northwestern and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Northwestern’s John A. Rogers explains. 

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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.

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Investigating the New Coronavirus with Karla Satchell, PhD, Part 2

This is an update to the Jan. 28, 2020 episode about Northwestern's Karla Satchell's effort to lead an investigation into the structure biology of the components of COVID-19. The goal is to ultimately understand how to stop it from replicating in human cells through a medication or vaccine.

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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.

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Staying Positive During Social Isolation with Judith Moskowitz, PhD, MPH

Judith Moskowitz, PhD, MPH, is a social psychologist and professor of Medical Social Sciences at Feinberg who studies the impact of positive emotion on health-related and other life stress. She discusses her research and things you can do to increase positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 and the Epidemiological Response with Chad Achenbach, MD, MPH

As an epidemiologist and infectious disease physician, Chad Achenbach, MD, MPH, has shared his expertise on a variety of global public health crises such as Ebola and Zika outbreaks. In this episode, he sheds light on the global emergence, epidemiology and response to COVID-19.

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Institute for AI in Medicine with Abel Kho, MD

Abel Kho, MD, is the director of the new Institute for Augmented Intelligence in Medicine at Feinberg. He discusses his vision for the institute and how AI can enhance healthcare.


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

This talk was given at Northwestern Medicine on March 17, 2020 by Dr. Michael Ison. He discusses the virology and epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as predictors of patient outcome and strategies to manage patients with the infection.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern, which is funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


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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. 

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Bonus Episode: Heart Healthy Tips for 2020 with Clyde Yancy, MD, and Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD

In this bonus episode, Clyde Yancy, MD, and Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, offer tips for people to consider in the new year, that can improve their health.

Lloyd-Jones suggests experimenting with different tactics to lose or maintain weight, such as intermittent fasting. 

"The important thing, if you need to lose weight, is to find out what works for you. It doesn't really matter how you do it, as long as you do it," Lloyd-Jones says. "75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese; we are the fattest nation there has ever been. It is not anyone's fault, but it is something we have to do something about."

If losing weight feels like an overwhelming goal, Lloyd-Jones suggests people concentrate on not gaining any additional weight instead.

Yancy often quotes to his patients a phrase coined by Northwestern physician Neil Stone, MD: "eat less, do more and know your numbers (such as blood pressure)." But Yancy says he would add one more idea to that phrase: maintain a healthy social life. 

"Remain engaged with people who matter to you and people for whom you matter, because it looks like it can add years to your life expectancy and cognitive function," he says. 

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Big Stories in Cardiology Research 2019 with Clyde Yancy, MD and Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD

Of the thousands of studies published by Northwestern scientists in 2019, some of the most discussed came from the field of cardiology. Two Northwestern physician scientists, Dr. Clyde Yancy and Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, review some of these findings and share their thoughts on advances in cardiology to come in 2020. 

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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.

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What Drives Female Resident Burnout Rates? with Karl Bilimoria, MD & Yue-Yung Hu, MD

In recent Northwestern Medicine study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women surgical residents reported more mistreatment than men, which was linked to higher burnout rates and more suicidal thoughts.

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Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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