News and Views

Scientific research is not cheap. Conducting experiments requires people, reagents, technology and a lot of very expensive equipment.

The funding for science can come from two sources, private funds (from companies and foundations) or public funds, which can come from a number of different government agencies. 

In general, companies focus on specific goals, such as drug design or vaccine development, for specific diseases. Therefore, deciding which projects get funded is typically not determined by the people running the experiments in the private sector (there are exceptions to this, of course.) 

In the arena of public funding - the source of financial resources for the majority of academic science - the system works very differently. Because there are more ideas...

While many Super Bowl advertisers scored heavily from the massive U.S. television audience that kept growing as the New England Patriots staged their unprecedented comeback and thrilling overtime victory, one jilted company is steaming mad after being ejected from the annual spotlight of pricey commercials.  

That company, GNC, is crying foul over the late decision by the Fox network to reject its spot just days before Sunday night's kickoff in Houston. By being banished, the purveyor of supplements, vitamins and shelves filled with all sorts of unsavory stuff is charging the business equivalent of unsportsmanlike conduct, while at the same time threatening to sue the network, and possibly the NFL, for being denied the opportunity to have its commercial seen by 111.3 million...

A much-discussed "Science March," which germinated on the social news site Reddit and then experienced a meteoric rise on all social media in the past two weeks, now has an official date: April 22nd. While a march to support science sounds like a good idea, given the agenda, this scientist will not be attending.

I wrote previously of my concern that the Science March would be hijacked by the kind of political partisanship it should instead be concerned about – and that has indeed come true. This fear was based on not-so-subtle hints provided by its Twitter feed, such as embracing "intersectionality" (a concept taught in classes on feminism) as a core principle. To its...

Co-Authored By Pamela Paresky, Ph.D.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently advised parents to stop using and immediately discard certain homeopathic teething products for infants because they contain belladonna, a toxic chemical in amounts that cannot be verified as safe. To medical professionals, this is no surprise. Despite the fact that many natural products contain harmful ingredients, the FDA has been playing catch-up ever since these “non-medical” products began to saturate the market after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 was passed over the protests of the medical community, and allowed sale of almost anything with...

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...