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.
We live in the era of super-gonorrhea. Drug-resistant gonococci that had been breeding in Asian nations are now spreading to such an extent that the World Health Organization has declared gonorrhea a global concern and warned that without new drugs, infections may one day become untreatable.
“This is clearly a superbug,” says Peter Leone, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina.READ THE ARTICLE
Eating Well, May 2015
Rather than negating the value of veggies, the underlying message is: you can’t count on easy, singular solutions. Just like the disease itself, diet advice is complicated. While experts still say plants are a major part of an overall pattern of eating that your body prefers, they now recognize that what you’re not having when you help yourself to broccoli may be as important as eating the vegetable itself.
O Magazine, February, 2015
“A woman saying she doesn’t want a mammogram is being wrongly interpreted as though she doesn’t care about her body or her health,” says leading breast cancer expert Susan Love, MD, founder of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. Love, 66, who herself gets screened every two years, isn’t against mammograms, but she is among a growing group of doctors at the forefront of breast cancer prevention and research who are backing away from the one-size-fits-all guidelines. Instead of asking a woman when she wants to schedule a mammogram, says Love, doctors need to ask whether she wants one to begin with.
No one doubts that chikungunya is making its way, person by person, to the United States; more than 12 million Americans visit the Caribbean each year, and so far dozens bearing chikungunya have returned to Indiana, Florida, and other states. Given air travel patterns and mosquito concentrations, a study in June put the entire East Coast, from New York City southward, at risk. If an outbreak doesn’t arise from the blood of an infected traveler, the virus could simply travel up through Central America and Mexico.READ THE ARTICLE
It does sound promising: precision machines displacing fallible human beings, operating in the most sensitive areas. But a growing number of practitioners–and patients like Whitlow—worry that the robot revolution came before the advantages were proven, and that marketing, not medicine, has led the charge. Others question whether the astronomical price of these robots (ultimately added to your rising insurance premium) justifies their uncertain benefits in an era of runaway health care costs.
READ THE ARTICLE
Cosmopolitan, March 2014
So why aren’t people clamoring for an anticancer shot? Because somewhere on the road to disease prevention, the HPV vaccine came to embody everything that’s wrong with America, at least in some circles — premarital promiscuity, Big Pharma greed, and government control. “The vaccine acquired this kind of identity as an STD shot for young girls,” says Dan Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School. Meanwhile, unfounded rumors about the shot’s safety and effectiveness have spread. Not the lifesaving image developers envisioned.
On February 2, 2013, the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history was gunned down at point-blank range, apparently by a troubled soldier he was trying to help. As Eddie Routh heads to trial, we begin to see that there may have been an unwitting accomplice: our broken VA medical system.READ THE ARTICLE
Interviews about the article:
Scientists have discovered that fat, bone marrow and other parts of the body contain stem cells, immature cells that can rejuvenate themselves, at least in the tissue they are naturally found. But it has yet to be proved that these cells can regenerate no matter where they are placed, or under what conditions this might occur. Moreover, questions about safety remain unanswered. These sober realities do not appear to have slowed the rise of an international industry catering to customers who may pay tens of thousands of dollars in cash for their shot at a personal miracle. (Some foreign operators offer creative variations on the theme, like cells from sharks and sheep.)READ ARTICLE
“At his gym, Tony Weathers was known as Weatherman—a ripped demigod who could curl 225 pounds and run a mile in under 5 minutes. Outwardly he was a humble sort, but inside, down to his bone marrow, he hated to lose. If his fitness class was assigned one sprint around the gym in 15 seconds, Weathers ran two…”READ THE ARTICLE
“It’s called reprocessing. Most of the time, that job is handled by technicians who, depending on the hospital and state they work in, might not have formal certification for what they do. They might have a copy of the cleaning instructions, or they might not. They may be trying to make sense of dozens of sets of instructions, which can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer for the same kind of instrument…”READ THE ARTICLE
“A growing number of supplements have been spiked with prescription, banned, or completely untested drugs that you won’t find listed on the label. Makers of these suspect potions often claim they’re confused by overlapping government jurisdictions over what is and is not legal. More often the adulteration is deliberate and criminal, carried out by sellers who want to grab a share of a $27 billion market by touting a pill that really delivers…”READ THE ARTICLE