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Obama pal Eric Whitaker stonewalls feds on sex question in grant-fraud case

THE WATCHDOGS: Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, has refused to answer federal prosecutors’ questions about whether he had a “sexual relationship” with a former aide who has pleaded guilty to stealing taxpayers’ money, court records show.

University of Chicago’s Dr. Donald F. Steiner, pioneer in diabetes research, dead at 84

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Dr. Donald F. Steiner’s work improved the lives of diabetes patients around the globe. Nearly half a century ago, he discovered that the insulin molecule was composed of a single protein chain, not two, as previously thought. He called it proinsulin.

Dr. Lawrence Solomon: Renowned dermatologist, book collector loved a mystery

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Dr. Lawrence M. “Larry” Solomon loved a mystery — in medicine and also in fiction. His collection of 6,000 books, many of them featuring Sherlock Holmes, was testament to that. Like Holmes, he’d use his powers of observation to arrive at deductions that dazzled and sometimes confounded patients and other physicians. The former University of Illinois dermatology chief Oct. 8 at his North Shore home. He was 83.

Dr. Rory Childers, U. of C. heart expert who treated Brendan Behan, dead at 83

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Dr. Rory Childers was an expert on heart disease who helped set the standards for interpreting electrocardiograms that guided first-responders on life-saving action. A University of Chicago professor for half a century, Dr. Childers, 83, died Aug. 27 after a heart attack while vacationing in East Hampton, New York.

VA manipulated vets’ appointment data in Chicago, elsewhere, audit finds

Internal VA documents show the depth of fraudulent scheduling, manipulation of data and in some cases intimidation of staff to hide delays in medical care to veterans in the 6-million patient national system. At the Edward HInes Jr. VA hospital west of Chicago, “Staff felt they would be subject to disciplinary action” if appointment records weren’t changed, one report shows.

Chicago’s Ritz rolls out red carpet for kids with cancer

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A special camp is coming to Chicago in August, the first of its kind. Thanks to a dream realized by sports marketing executive Blaine Blanchard, nearly three dozen children battling serious cancer challenges will participate in the groundbreaking “Camp Kids Are Kids Chicago” program.

ROC Race offers fun, game-show challenges

If you’ve ever watched “Wipeout” or the obstacle challenges on “Biggest Loser” and wished you could try that, now’s your chance.

Supernanny Jo Frost takes on tantrums in new book

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Jo Frost of “Supernanny” fame is out with her seventh book, and she’s taking aim at the thing so many parents dread: toddlers and tantrums.

Doctors find first success with immune therapy against cervical cancer, Chicago conference told

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Doctors are reporting their first success using immune therapy against cervical cancer, a disease caused by the virus HPV. In a pilot study, the tumors of two out of nine women completely disappeared — and those women remain cancer-free more than a year later, doctors reported at a conference this week in Chicago of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. That’s far better than any other treatment has achieved.

A World Cup soccer quandary: Sex or abstinence before games?

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If you’re intending to score in a World Cup soccer match, should you score the night before? The age-old argument over whether abstaining from sex improves performance on the field has been triggered anew by Mexico national soccer team coach Miguel Herrera, who said he expects his players to refrain during their stay in Brazil, where the monthlong tournament opens next week.

More evidence it’s the carbohydrates that make us fat

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The evidence continues to mount that the traditional diet advice — eat fewer calories, exercise more — we have all been following (and more often than not failing at) is wrong.

Beauty sleep: Healthy, good looking women get it

Ladies, we know you are busy. But you need to get more sleep — for good health, to look good, for optimal multitasking. In fact, science suggests that women actually need more sleep than men do. Without restful sleep, women are more prone to waking …

Powerade drops controversial ingredient

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Coca-Cola is dropping a controversial ingredient from its Powerade sports drink, after a similar move by PepsiCo’s Gatorade last year.

Using genes to track disease

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Northwestern Medicine and 31 other clinical sites hope that by studying Ashkenazi Jews, as well as people of Basque or North African Berber origin who either have Parkinson’s disease or carry the mutation, they might be able to identify so-called biomarkers that could, for the first time on a large scale, tip them off to who might develop Parkinson’s disease and help track the disease. The research could eventually result in better treatment for all people who have the disease.

A primer on e-cigarettes

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Smokers are increasingly turning to battery-powered electronic cigarettes to get their nicotine fix. They’re about to find out what federal regulators have to say about the popular devices.

Big riders mean big horses on Western trails

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BOISE, Idaho — Wranglers in the West who have for decades cashed in on the allure of getting on a horse and setting out on an open trail say they have had to add bigger horses to their stables to help carry larger tourists over …