October 10, 2017

MOUNT DESERT ROCK, Me. — From the top of the six-story lighthouse, water stretches beyond the horizon in every direction. A foghorn bleats twice at 22-second intervals, interrupting the endless chatter of herring gulls.

At least twice a day, beginning shortly after dawn...

September 10, 2017

Q. I feel great after getting a colonic. In addition to feeling energized and lighter, I have a sense of well-being. Are colonics dangerous? Can you have too many colonics? Is once a week O.K.?

A. There is no scientific support for a colonic, a popular “cleansing” proce...

August 18, 2017

Q. Is there any validity to the popular claim that one can “sweat out toxins?” If so, what “toxins” can the body sweat out?

A. The body does appear to sweat out toxic materials — heavy metals and bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastics, for instance, have been d...

August 15, 2017

NOXEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A quick glance around the picnic tables was enough to tell who had the genetic mutation and who didn’t. A few of the relatives gathered here before the start of their 75th family reunion fidgeted constantly, brushing away the insistent bugs. Other...

August 10, 2017

The idea of solving the human organ shortage with pigs has tantalized surgeons for decades. More than 117,000 Americans are currently on a transplant wait-list in the U.S., according to federal figures, and 22 people die every day awaiting a match.

Pig organs are simila...

June 30, 2017

An oversized poster of the Seinfeld character Kramer watches over Phil Rizzuto’s daily routine. When Rizzuto, named for the famous New York Yankees shortstop, swallows his 6 a.m. pills, Kramer is looming over him, looking quizzical. Same for the 9 a.m., noon, 6 p.m., a...

People whose limbs have been amputated are often left with phantom sensations or pain in the missing appendage. Prosthetics don't feel anything like the real thing. And people with artificial limbs have to keep looking down, because they can’t feel where their artifici...

May 15, 2017

Three MIT professors are innovating at the tiniest possible scale — developing tools to see, target and kill cancer cells before they can cause any harm.

“People have been making things tinier and tinier, mostly to make computers faster,” says Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, a bio...

Yes, unfortunately. Although it is possible to lose weight at any age, several factors make it harder to lose weight with age.

Even those who remain active lose muscle mass every decade beginning in their 30s, research suggests, replacing it with fat. Muscles use up mor...

February 24, 2017

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Eight of Melissa Cornett’s 10 children want to be doctors.

The oldest, at 29, hopes to become a family physician; the youngest, who’s “almost 9,” wants to be an ER doctor.

Although they all have endured the typical bumps, bruises, and medical crises...

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About me



journalist covering

the biological


Regular contributor to The

New York Times, The Washington Post, 

Scientific American.com, WBUR radio and others. 

Journalism educator and book




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