Doctor, Your Patient Is Waiting. It’s a Red Panda.

BOSTON — Hoppy, a young red panda, was the first patient of the day, carried — and anesthetized — into the exam room so he could get a physical. Then Mildred, a 24-year-old barnacle goose, wobbled painfully across the floor as veterinarians analyzed her gait. They couldn’t see any improvement 10 days after an earlier exam. Replacement of the degenerating joints isn’t an option for a goose. Maybe acupuncture could help? Next up was Sofina, an 8-year-old diabetic lemur that had done well on insulin shots for six years, but displayed troubling new symptoms. She kept her right hand clenched, though she could use it when necessary — reminiscent of a human diabetes patient coping with neuropathy

An anti-aging researcher faces the loss of his inspiration: his 96-year-old father

Leonid Peshkin calmly strokes his father’s thin, white hair. He gently exercises the old man’s arms to acivate his muscles and get the blood flowing. He speaks, voice raised to reach him through the fog of age, poor hearing, and illness. “Papa,” he asks in their native Russian, “are you in pain?” Almost imperceptibly, Miron Peshkin, age 96 and silenced by a minor heart attack, delirium, antibiotic-resistant infections, and six months of medical care, shifts his head to indicate “no.” The younger Peshkin, 48, studies the biology of aging at Harvard Medical School in Boston. A broad-shouldered man with a twinkle always lurking in his brown eyes, Peshkin has been obsessed with aging since child

Blood test might help predict both preterm and healthy delivery dates

For most women, one of the most stressful parts of giving birth is not knowing when it’s going to happen. Roughly 15 million pregnant women face life-threatening spontaneous preterm birth every year. And doctors don’t really understand why some pregnancies — nearly 10 percent of all U.S. births — end suddenly, weeks or even months before they should. Now, a pilot study from researchers at Stanford University suggests that it may soon be possible to use a blood test to improve predictions of both healthy and too-early due dates. Such predictions could also help better explain why some births begin in crisis. “It’s really hard to understate the potential of what these folks are proposing,” sai

Biotech Startups: Dreams, Risk, Failure And — Sometimes — Success

Click here to listen to the piece on WBUR. Patsy Freeland went to work for a health care startup soon after graduating from college, because she wanted to help addicted people quit their opioid habit. Her idealism didn’t last long. One day, a little more than a year after she joined, all 60 employees were gathered into a room. "They just sat us down and they said, 'This is the end. Everybody, your last paycheck's in the back. Pack up your box and please leave,' " Freeland recalls. Lots of people share in the startup dream. They want to invent the next Facebook or Snapchat -- or at least get in on the ground floor. They’ll make a fortune, help the world, and then be set for life. Such startup

In The Heart Of Biotech, Leaders Explain The Boston Area’s 'BioBoom'

Click here to listen to the radio piece. The intersection of Ames and Main streets in Cambridge's Kendall Square is perhaps the best place to stand if you want to see the biotech industry boom that has overtaken this region since the turn of the century. Little more than a decade ago, there was only a Legal Sea Foods facing an old chocolate factory-turned-cancer research center. Today, the sound of construction comes from several directions, and newish buildings are everywhere. Two buildings attest to the more than $2 billion the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has raised from grants, industry and donations to further genetic research. Across Main Street, the Koch Institute for Integrativ

About me

Cover COVID-19 

and patient safety

for USA Today.

Former long-time health/science

journalist, contributing to The

New York Times, The Washington Post, 

Scientific, and others. Journalism educator and book author.


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