I love working at the intersection of science, medicine and journalism. I have more than 20 years of experience in health and science writing. I was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2015, and have received top awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. While I specialize in matters of health and science, I have also written about gun-toting liberals for D Magazine, and was the writer-reporter of the “Thugs” episode for the NPR series This American Life.
You can read some of my articles below. I welcome new story ideas.
Texas Monthly, December 2017
Texas is at risk of a deadly measles outbreak, and yet few have been willing to cast blame on the state’s combative anti-vaccine movement. Enter Peter Hotez, an affable, bow-tie-wearing scientist who decided he’d had enough.
This story originally appeared in the December 2017 issue with the headline “Going Viral.”READ ARTICLE
The risk is elevated for all veterans no matter when or where they served, whether they went to combat or not,” says Hebert’s physician Richard Bedlack, M.D., who is head of the ALS clinic at Duke University Health Center. No one really knows why anyone contracts ALS, says Bedlack, who theorizes that some veterans might be genetically predisposed to develop the disease and that the stress and rigors of military service might amplify injury to the body’s nervous system.READ ARTICLE
From the moment the idea struck him, Sorrell realized that a farm could change Paul Quinn’s entire narrative. Problem was, the school didn’t have an agriculture program. Staff members had never raised more than houseplants… “All we had was a willingness to fail,” he says. “And if we were going to fail, we were going to fail doing things that mattered to the people we cared about.READ ARTICLE
CREATURE FROM THE GREEN LAGOON
The National Australian researchers have calculated that, given the right conditions, an M&M-size salvinia plant could blanket 39 square miles of water in just over three months. As the advancing front reaches maturity, it swells into a carpet of vegetation up to three feet thick, smothering other life in its path by consuming nutrients and blocking sunlight from penetrating the water below. Fish can’t survive. Native plants and amphibians struggle. Lake recreation halts as viny roots clog boat engines and become ensnared in propeller blades. In some areas, the dense layer of salvinia can even become a substrate for other opportunistic weeds, making it difficult to tell where the lake ends and the shore begins.READ ARTICLE
At its core, the debate is about how studies are designed, carried out, evaluated and sliced and diced after the fact. No one argues that the vast majority of people prescribed a statin will be taking a drug — probably for the rest of their lives — that they never needed. At issue is whether they stand a good chance of gain, and whether they are putting themselves in unacceptable danger.READ ARTICLE
Long considered an affliction of women, eating disorders — the most deadly of all mental illnesses — are increasingly affecting men. The National Eating Disorders Association predicts that 10 million American men alive today will be affected, but that number is only an estimate based on the limited research available. The official criteria for diagnosing eating disorders were updated to be more inclusive of men only in 2013. And last year, Australian researchers writing in the Journal of Eating Disorders noted that “the prevalence of extreme weight control behaviors, such as extreme dietary restriction and purging” may be increasing at a faster rate in men than women.READ ARTICLE
Are all those three-hundred-pound high school football players a health crisis waiting to happen?
The first time John Jones played football for Cedar Hill High School, he was a 240-pound freshman who knew so little about the game he trotted into Longhorn Stadium with his shoulder pads on backward. He bumbled along for weeks, unimpressive in every position he tried. During a warm-up midway through the season, he finally found his footing on the offensive line and knocked the helmet off a guy from the opposing side. After that, he was a starter.READ ARTICLE
Cosmopolitan, July 2016
Childbirth is one of nature’s most wondrous but biologically brutal feats. For nine months, a woman’s muscles and bones bear the increasing weight of a baby that isn’t even slightly ergonomically positioned. During a vaginal birth, muscles and other tissues stretch and often tear as something the size of a cantaloupe is forced through an opening that is normally about the size of a carrot…
Reader’s Digest, April 2016
Clearing a clogged carotid artery could be a solution in search of a problem. During or after a Coloprocedure, bits of plaque may break free and lodge in the small vessels of the brain, triggering the stroke you’re trying to stop.
Advocates of a connection between the artery disease atherosclerosis and microbes are hoping to find convincing proof of their suspicions, while exploring links between ailing gums and other conditions, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease.
The work has profound implications for public health, given that more than 65 million American adults are thought to have periodontal disease, which occurs when bacterial overgrowth inflames the gums and can lead to erosion of gums and bone.READ ARTICLE