For Trans Youths, a Tough Path to Gender Harmony

For Michelle Fleisher, the confusion started in sixth or seventh grade. “I wasn’t really sure what I was,” Fleisher says. “I knew I wasn’t a boy ... I felt really off-put by my own being. I knew trans people existed, but I knew almost nothing about them. I felt more like a monster than that.” Now 17, Fleisher appears more feminine, though prefers to be referred to by the pronouns “they” and “them” that don’t denote a gender. They’ve taken hormones for about 2 years, and have reached a more comfortable place. Fleisher dreams of going to Yale University, near their Glastonbury, CT, home, and someday becoming a lawyer fighting for the rights of other trans people. But it isn’t easy being a tran

Not so fast: 5 reasons to view declining cancer death rates with a dash of skepticism

Not to be a downer at the start of the new year, but might it be that all the headlines, news reports, and tweets this week about a decline in cancer death rates in 2017 were just a little too exuberant? “U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration,” President Trump tweeted Thursday morning after reading the headlines. The trend is encouraging: Since the early 1990s, death rates are down 51% for men with lung cancer, 40% for women with breast cancer, and 52% for men with prostate cancer, according to the new report from the American Cancer Society. The decline in overall cancer mortality from 2016 to 2017 was the biggest one-year dr

Trove of New Bird Species Found on Remote Indonesian Islands

One day in 2009, Frank Rheindt was wandering up a forested mountainside on an Indonesian island when the skies opened up. He had spent months planning this trip, days finding a charter boat that would carry him to this remote place, and hours plodding uphill, but the local tour guides insisted that the rain would make the search impossible. Reluctantly, Dr. Rheindt agreed to head to lower ground. But on the way down, even with the deluge, he was startled by the sight of a thrush sitting on a log. Dr. Rheindt, an ornithologist, knew that a thrush shouldn’t have been on that island, and that the species normally would seek shelter from the rain. A little farther along, he heard the distinctive

How AI is Transforming Health Care

Jan. 2, 2020 -- Matthew Might’s son Bertrand was born with a devastating, ultra-rare genetic disorder. Now 12, Bertrand has vibrant eyes, a quick smile, and a love of dolphins. But he nearly died last spring from a runaway infection. He can’t sit up on his own anymore, and he struggles to use his hands to play with toys. Puberty will likely wreak more havoc. Might, who has a PhD in computer science, has been able to use his professional expertise to change the trajectory of his son’s life. With computational simulation and by digitally combing through vast amounts of data, Might discovered two therapies that have extended Bertrand’s life and improved its quality. Similar artificial intellige

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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