News and Views

Full Disclosure: Before five minutes ago, I was unsure what teams made it into the upcoming Super Bowl. I mean, if one of them isn’t the Eagles, then my attention span plummets to nonexistent.

But, being that “THE” game is apolitical and topical, what better way to contribute some semblance of expertise than through analysis of the ads and how they may or may not reflect the health interests and possible status of the audience? 

Given that the ads are my favorite part of the event anyway, they will be the focus.  Because they are the focus of a lot of people, the ads have become a cultural phenomenon, and so there is real investment in being entertaining. It sometimes makes or breaks companies for the year so they want to appeal even to those not captivated by...

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman are two social scientists, psychologists, who are the subject of Michael Lewis’s latest book, The Undoing Project. Their collaboration was the nursery that has given us the field of behavioral economics, the Nudge Unit, and an understanding of how our thinking helps and hinders us. Their working relationship and interaction was a crucible of forces pulling them together and forcing them apart and it is the central focus of the book. The narrative's beauty is in showing the origins of those forces, how their similarities and differences balanced, how it led to brilliant symbiotic exploration and conflict. Basically, The Undoing Project is a story of an...

After more than six years in science journalism, I have reached two very disturbing conclusions about the craft.

First, too many science journalists don't actually possess a well-rounded knowledge of science. In many cases, regular reporters are asked to cover complex science and health stories. What we end up with is entirely predictable: Articles that are nothing more than rehashed press releases, topped with click-bait headlines based on exaggerations and misunderstandings of the original research. That's how a nonsensical story like Nutella causing cancer goes...

One might think that those who are interested in improving their health are also the types who welcome suggestions on ways to do just that. But that's not always the case.

That's what researchers are investigating, as to why positive health messages get through to some people, while others fail to readily embrace and act on them. And the key, they are finding, may have to do with an individual's awareness of their physical being as well as being in touch, cognitively, with their present state of mind.

A team of researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that those "who are more mindful are more receptive to health messaging and more likely to be motivated to change." The team, headed by lead author Yoona Kang and senior...

A potentially heartwarming development has occurred in recent days. A grassroots movement supporting a "Science March" has amassed a gigantic following on social media, which in turn has resulted in substantial mainstream media coverage. The website, which is still in development, says that "anyone who values empirical science" can participate. Good.

Unfortunately, some of the other statements have sent mixed messages. Consider this:

I agree 100% with every sentence. So, what's the problem?

The problem is that this message is aimed at one particular side of the political...

HPV—Human Papillomavirus— is a frequently overshadowed sexually transmitted infection when the topic of STDs hits the spotlight. This is unfortunate as HPV impacts an estimated 79 million Americans currently infected. (1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports “every year approximately 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by cancers caused by HPV.” (2)

Due to the existence of many strains of HPV, the result of infection can lead to health issues like genital warts or an array of oropharyngeal (aka oral and throat) and anogenital (aka anus, vulva, cervical, vagina, penis) cancers. Many infected are unaware of their status and naturally clear the virus on...

In an all too common turn of events, former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara were admitted to the same hospital for respiratory issues-- pneumonia and bronchitis, respectively. President Bush is reported to be in the ICU (aka intensive care unit) implying a more serious bout of disease than his wife who as per the latest announcement by spokesman, Jim McGrath, feels "1,000% better" as of the morning of January 19, 2017.  

As the nation gears up for today's inauguration of the 45th President Donald J. Trump of the United States, sadly, the Bushes will be unable to be in attendance. Wishing them the speediest of recoveries, they are clearly where they need to be and, hopefully, will return to good health expeditiously.  

Bush implied the state of his...

McKesson Corporation [1] was fined $150 million in civil penalties related to failure to report suspicious opioid orders through their distribution network this week.

They were fined $20 million in 2008 over the same problem, but it apparently didn’t alter their behavior. In 2008 they committed to designing and implementing a system to identify and report suspicious orders. “The Justice Department says McKesson created a compliance program but failed to fully implement or adhere to it, resulting in the latest penalties.” [2]

Now an independent monitor is required to oversee McKesson’s...

Science is one of the few institutions in America that has largely remained above the hyperpartisanship gripping our nation. However, there is a small but growing perception among Americans that scientists are becoming politically biased. Indeed, surveys have confirmed that Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in academia. And, over the last few months, the behavior of high-profile scientific journals has only served to reconfirm these perceptions of bias. 

Consider an editorial in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, a journal...

Like most, my initial reaction to such a challenge is “umm, no thanks.” But, I admit I am not much like the long distance running extreme endurance athlete set. A unique club. One I simultaneously admire and am perpetually surprised by as the stakes in these wild endeavors seem to be getting higher and higher from ultra marathons in the Serengeti to the imminent World Marathon Challenge of 7 marathons on 7 Continents in 7 days.

Whereas I used to think there was a level of insanity that must accompany such extreme sport, a dear friend taught me invaluable lessons that enabled me to reframe these triumphs and feats of physical prowess. She had a life goal to run a marathon on every continent as just the United States would have...