Eating disorder patients battle illness and insurance coverage

Johanna Kandel speaks at the first Mothers and Others March on Capitol Hill on Sept. 30. Kandel is president of the board of directors for the Eating Disorder Coalition for Research, Policy and Action and the founder and CEO of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. Photo by Rachel Rifkin.

by Sara Freund

Eating disorder patients fight to survive their mental illness but, as they start to recover, can face another unexpected opponent: insurance companies.

“When coverage is being denied because a patient is medically stable is not fair and it is not promoting recovery. Treating a physical aspect is only one part of the problem,” said Claire Mysko, the programs director at the National Eating Disorders Association. Continue reading “Eating disorder patients battle illness and insurance coverage”

Flaring up: New tool for early cancer detection

NanoFlares image courtesy of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University

By Sara Freund

A new tool lights up cancer cells before they can develop into a tumor. Northwestern University scientists are developing NanoFlare technology that illuminates and isolates cancerous cells in the bloodstream.

“The NanoFlare turns on a light in the cancer cells you are looking for,” said Dr. Colby Thaxton in a news release, an author of the NanoFlare study published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading “Flaring up: New tool for early cancer detection”

Grid transmission changes could power better rates

Sara Freund
Alexandra Klass discusses policy needs to support regional transmission of renewable energy. The Searle Center Conference on energy regulation Thursday.  Photo by Sara Freund/MEDILL

By Sara Freund

A federal order that mandates inter-regional coordination on cost allocation for large-scale electricity transmission projects could mean better rates for consumers.

The order also requires all transmission providers to participate in the regional planning process. The contracts to build new facilities will be open to all companies, instead of project awards based on service territory of existing companies. Continue reading “Grid transmission changes could power better rates”

GOP senate victory raises risks for environmental policy

by Sara Freund and Grace Eleyae

Creative Commons
Photo by Alfred Palmer, Creative Commons

While Illinois sent Sierra Club endorsed Sen. Dick Durbin (D) back to Congress, the GOP captured a Senate majority Tuesday and some environmentalists went on the attack.

“A Congress elected by corporate polluters may think it can force a polluter agenda on this country,” said Michael Brune, national executive director of the Sierra Club, in a post-election statement. “But, public support is solidly behind action to tackle the climate crisis.” Continue reading “GOP senate victory raises risks for environmental policy”

Northwest Side neighborhoods open state’s first community-funded mental health clinic

By Sara Freund

Kedzie Center Executive Director, Dr. Angela Sedeño, and Program Development Coordinator, Matthew Hiller discuss a map of neighborhoods that the Kedzie Center will serve.  Photo by Sara Freund.
Kedzie Center Executive Director Dr. Angela Sedeño and Program Development Coordinator Matthew Hiller review the neighborhoods that the Kedzie Center will serve. Photo by Sara Freund/MEDILL.

Illinois’ first community-funded public mental health center, the Kedzie Center, will open next Wednesday at 4137 N Kedzie Ave. The center plans to provide a variety of outpatient therapies to residents in Albany Park, Irving Park, North Park and part of Forest Glen, funded by tax revenues approved by a neighborhood referendum.

Service will be provided on a case-by-case basis when community residents cannot afford to pay for care.

The public is invited to the open house of the center to tour the new facility, get more information about the services and meet the staff at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. Continue reading “Northwest Side neighborhoods open state’s first community-funded mental health clinic”

Sugar highs: Modified product labels may help reduce intake
Graphic from

By Sara Freund

It’s hard to resist the smell of hot gooey cinnamon rolls and syrupy holiday coffee. It hits your taste buds and releases dopamine, lighting up the brain’s reward system.

“Food labels now don’t distinguish between added sugar and natural sugar. Milk might have 12 grams of sugar but that is different from the added sugar in a candy bar,” said Isabel Maples, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Including the amount of added sugars on nutrition facts labels is one change the FDA is assessing. The FDA is still reviewing whether they will make changes proposed in February, according to FDA representative Theresa Eisenman.

Continue reading “Sugar highs: Modified product labels may help reduce intake”

Navigating beyond the fads for diets that can help fight disease

National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute at

By Sara Freund

The raw food diet promotes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds but rules out fish, a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Juicing helps the body absorb nutrients more efficiently but the fiber from fruit and vegetable skin, essential for a balanced diet, is lost.

There are conflicting claims that coffee may pose an increased risk of cancer and red wine may help prevent it. The amount of information can be overwhelming especially when many experts disagree on the advice.

Continue reading “Navigating beyond the fads for diets that can help fight disease”