News and Views

Mention the word "selfie" and the prevaling thought is usually one, to some degree, of self-indulgence.

The act of photographing oneself can often appear as being both superfluous and superficial, which is why a study focusing on the behavior behind this popular and growing behavior might be perceived as pointless, rather than productive.

But if one can get past the bubblehead-type perceptions, there's value in understanding why the selfie has become a global phenomenon, and what in human nature drives billions of people to engage in such behavior. In fact, it's so consuming that more than 125...

Starting off with one broad (but bulletproof) generalization, the folks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are a pretty sharp bunch. They can analyze and project and theorize with the best of them, using computer models to do anything and everything – and much, much more often than not they leave those of us enamored with science and math in a wonderous, awe-inducing state.

But – and after that introduction, you knew a "but" was coming – on rare occasions all that supercharged brain power gets tripped up by the darnest things.

So in response to a new MIT study projecting that innovative carpooling on the streets of New York City can create unimaginable reductions and euphoric efficiencies in taxi traffic, may I politely suggest that those brilliant researchers...

Atul Gawande popularized the concept of medical ‘hot spotting” - originally, hot spotting was the practice of focusing on known crime areas and it became vital for reducing crime in New York City - to health matters in a 2011 article in the New Yorker. Medical hot spotting was using data to identify patterns (models) to identify which groups can be targeted for further intervention pr even prevention. Ben Green, et al., in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, extend hot spotting in a new direction, to rampant gun violence in Chicago, so I am wading...

In a span of 72 hours, the Cleveland Clinic has fallen from being regarded as one of the top medical institutions in the country to a near 'trending topic' on twitter (and the hashtags are not good.)

At the center of the backlash is a blog post written by the medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Dr. Daniel Neides. The details of the post have been described, and appropriately challenged, in full detail by our own Dr. Josh Bloom in his article, The Fool at The Cleveland Clinic.  

In essence, the blog post was a bunch of anti-science quackery as Dr. Neides opined on toxins, chemicals and food.

But, what caught people's...

We know that exercise is good for us, but, most of us don't do it. Only about 20% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. (1)

There are a lot of reasons why we don't work out. We are busy. Gyms and classes can be expensive. We don't appreciate its value and are not motivated. It is (at best) slightly uncomfortable to downright painful. And, for most people, it's not fun. 

All of these reasons work together to create a multitude of exercise fads.... all aiming to make exercise easier, faster, less painful, more fun - less exercise-y. 

And, the newest fad is trying to do just that, by making your workout more interesting and personal by incorporating ...

China, with one of the largest – if not the largest – elderly population on Earth, has a strong incentive to learn how to support or improve cognitive function for its older citizens. And as people all around the world live longer, understanding how to slow mental impairment and dementia has become an ever-growing concern.

That's in part what has led a multinational research team to look for ways to mitigate cognitive degeneration. And a new, interesting study focusing on post-lunchtime napping for the elderly is helping shed light on this important issue.

In their paper published today online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, this group of Chinese and American researchers...

Back when I was editor of RealClearScience, Slate's science page was a daily must-read. Now, I never read it because the quality of its reportage has fallen dramatically and because I grew tired of Phil Plait deceiving readers about science policy and posting selfies with his goat.

There are plenty of other reasons to avoid Slate. Perhaps the best is that the site is enamored with publishing contrarian news articles. Their formula is time-tested: (1) Take a statement that is obviously stupid; (2) Write a headline vigorously...

2016 was a year to forget. A rough-and-tumble election, partisan rhetoric and "fake news," and the loss of many beloved and talented people -- from Prince to Carrie Fisher -- made this calendar cycle a bit more difficult than most. Surely, 2017 must have something better in store.

To ensure that it does, we all must resolve to make it so. And as a science journalist, I can do my part by adopting these four resolutions. I hope other journalists join me.

(1) We resolve to be as objective as humanly possible. Total objectivity is impossible. Even if we do not have strong political leanings, all humans differ in their priorities and values. That alone prevents 100% objectivity. (For instance, I believe biomedical science is far more important than climate...

In Britain, Careline is a service much like LifeCall – you know, help me I can’t get up. It is offered, is far as I can tell by the local government of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk. For a sum of a little over $26/month you get a pendant, answered within 16 seconds, to assist you. As with the US equivalents, medical help is dispatched to your aid. But what I found fascinating was that one of the towns that provide this service had added a new surcharge – dubbed by critics as a ‘falling fee.’

 

“At the moment, Careline users who fall at home have to wait for a...

In the last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a final regulation [1] initiating a demonstration project involving the bundling of care for two new diagnostic categories. First, acute myocardial infarctions (AMI) – heart attacks including their medical and minimally invasive treatment (coronary artery angioplasty and stents) and second, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) – surgery to improve/restore circulation to the heart arteries.

And I should care why?  For two reasons. First Congressman Tom Price the presumptive new Health and Human Services Secretary feels the...