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Well

Your guide to living healthier and better in Chicago.

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Valerie Bertinelli writes of acceptance, empowerment in compelling ‘Enough Already’

Throughout the collection of essays, the actress and Food Network star gives insight into her self-doubt, relationship with rocker Eddie Van Halen and the troubles plaguing her second marriage.

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Ask the Doctors: New FDA guidance asks food manufacturers to cut salt in their products

It’s targeting food manufacturers, restaurants and other vendors of prepared foods in an effort to help reduce how much sodium Americans consume.

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When it comes to taste and freshness, don’t bypass frozen fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are picked when they are at their peak ripeness and flash-frozen to retain all of their nutrients, antioxidants and flavor.

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Olive oil linked to lower death risk from Alzheimer’s, other causes, new research suggests

The health benefits of olive oil have long been touted. That’s because it’s packed with healthy fats, nutrients and antioxidants.

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Ask the Doctors: Vocal changes are common as we age

The changes that occur in the larynx, where the voice originates, are known as presbylaryngis, also called vocal fold atrophy.

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Medicare limits coverage of $28,000-a-year Alzheimer’s drug

The initial determination from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services means that for Medicare to pay, patients taking Biogen’s Aduhelm medication will have to be part of clinical trials to assess the drug’s effectiveness in slowing the progression of early-stage dementia as well as its safety.

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Multi-cooker makes cooking healthy meals easy and quick

With a multi-cooker, the nutrients are retained, and flavors and colors are brighter.

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Is your lip balm making your chapped lips worse?

The best way to keep your lips moist in winter is to moisturize frequently with healing ointments like Vaseline or Aquaphor, one expert recommends. Chapsticks are better in warmer weather.

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Record weekly jump in COVID-19 cases worldwide but fewer deaths: WHO

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was certain that was an underestimate because of a backlog in testing around the year-end holidays.

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US advisers endorse Pfizer COVID boosters for younger teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes recommendations for vaccinations and on Wednesday, its advisers voted that a booster was safe for the younger teens and should be offered to them once enough time — five months — has passed since their last shot.

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Anatomy of a hangover: Why your head hurts, what cures work

Hangovers — whatever time of year — are only temporary, even if they don’t feel that way. Here are some tips.

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A morning at Midway: Travelers returning to Chicago after holidays face long lines, delays

With winter weather delaying flights and COVID-19 spurring staff shortages, many travelers returning to the city Sunday or early Monday waited hours just to get their luggage.

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Too old to shovel snow? If you’re older, middle-aged, beware of heart attacks, doctors say

Regardless of age, people with a medical condition should find somebody else to clear the driveway or possibly to opt for a snow blower, one doctor says.

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FDA expands Pfizer boosters for 12- to 15-year-olds

Boosters already are recommended for everyone 16 and older, and federal regulators on Monday decided they’re also warranted for 12- to 15-year-olds once enough time has passed since their last dose.

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Pet insurance can help keep costs for your fur baby in check

It won’t reimburse you for every penny you spend at the vet, but it can help prevent you from being slapped with an expensive bill.

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Why you should rethink weight loss as a New Year’s resolution

January’s anti-fatness may be cloaked in wellness and body positivity, but its core message to potential customers is the same it’s always been: their body is not good enough and they have not been disciplined enough to lose weight.

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Ask the Doctors: Immune system, age make a difference in UTI symptoms

A urinary tract infection that goes untreated can lead to serious problems, such as kidney damage or even sepsis. These so-called "silent" UTIs can present a grave threat to the health of older adults.

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Michigan schools try cognitive therapy-based programs to help ‘overwhelmed’ kids

In a school year that was supposed to be a return to normal, a Michigan school district has launched an educational program based on cognitive behavior therapy.

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Ask the Doctors: Obsessive-compulsive disorder often begins in childhood

OCD is marked by a stressful cycle of unwanted and disruptive thoughts, images or sensations and repetitive behaviors that become a compulsion.

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Pfizer pill becomes 1st US-authorized home COVID treatment

The drug, Paxlovid, is a faster, cheaper way to treat early COVID-19 infections, though initial supplies will be extremely limited. All of the previously authorized drugs against the disease require an IV or an injection.

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Biden pledges 500M free virus tests to counter omicron

In remarks Tuesday at the White House, President Joe Biden detailed major changes to his COVID-19 winter plan, his hand forced by the arrival of the fast-spreading variant, whose properties are yet not fully understood by scientists.

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Passport books will soon cost more due to increased fees

Travelers 16 and older who are applying for the first time must pay $165 starting next week.

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Omicron now 73% of US COVID-19 cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week.

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Retiree cooking up a volunteer career at Peoria mission

Ron Rasberry attended the South Side Mission’s Culinary Arts Training School. When he finished with classes, he stuck around at the mission, where he now volunteers five days a week in the soup kitchen.

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Can ‘clean eating’ become detrimental to your health?

What starts out as a worthy desire to kick a sugar habit or reduce the intake of packaged foods can become an unhealthy obsession with not eating anything with sweeteners or multiple ingredients.

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CDC panel recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J shot

Clotting problems have caused nine confirmed deaths after J&J vaccinations — while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don’t come with that risk and also appear to be more effective, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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US regulators lift in-person restrictions on abortion pill

Officials said Thursday that a scientific review supported broadening access and allowing more pharmacies — including mail-order services— to distribute the medication.

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Ask the Doctors: Music therapy proving effective with Alzheimer’s patients

There’s a robust body of research into the therapeutic uses of music for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

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U.S. COVID death toll hits 800,000

The number of deaths, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Atlanta and St. Louis combined, or Minneapolis and Cleveland put together. It is roughly equivalent to how many Americans die each year from heart disease or stroke.

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Matt Muse hosting Love & Nappyness benefit drive, concert for Chicagoans

The Chicago hip hop artist is celebrating the third year of the drive with a benefit concert Dec. 17 featuring a lineup that includes fellow local staples Jamila Woods and theMIND.

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Lifestyle habits, balance key to a heart-healthy diet, American Heart Association says

In a bit of an about-face, the group now is stressing the ‘importance of looking at the total dietary pattern’ rather than what are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods and drinks.

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FDA expands Pfizer COVID booster, opens extra dose to age 16

The U.S. and many other nations already were urging adults to get booster shots to pump up immunity that can wane months after vaccination, calls that intensified with the discovery of the worrisome new omicron variant.