Q: Can nightmares or upsetting dreams cause a heart attack while sleeping?

A:There are case reports of people with no previously known risks having a heart attack after a nightmare, though they appear to be quite rare.

No studies have been done to determine just how rare...

Ceniya Harris, age nine, of Boston should be a very sick little girl. Both her parents unknowingly passed her a copy of the genetic mutation for sickle-cell disease, a debilitating and sometimes fatal blood disorder. With a double dose of the mutant gene, Ceniya's body...

People who like milk chocolate have slightly different microbes in their intestines than those who prefer their chocolate dark, although researchers do not know why. Significant differences in the so-called microbiome are also found in individuals based on whether or n...

L-R,Jack Hanke, Ethan Finlan, New Michael Ingemi and Noah Britton Photo by Andrew Cohen

The four members of Asperger’s Are Us decided a long time ago that their main goal would be to amuse themselves.

But after nearly a decade of laughing and writing punch lines togeth...

Walk into any middle school classroom and it’s obvious that puberty hits some kids earlier than others. Some students daydream about kissing while others are still planning their latest LEGO creation. Now a new study suggests that the genes that drive puberty also infl...

If Michelle Boyer had received her diagnosis of advanced and aggressive skin cancer in 2010 instead of 2013, she would almost certainly be dead by now. Melanoma, the most lethal form of skin malignancy, had spread from a mole on her back to her lungs, and she knew her...


Q: There’s been lots of coverage lately about meeting exercise recommendations by completing small chunks of exercise throughout the day rather than one, continuous session. Does the same hold true for meeting sleep recommendations?

A:No. Unfortunately, slee...

Chatham House

Scientists are still scrambling to get a full scientific picture of the Zika virus, but experts already know enough to be scared of it.

“Strong public health actions should not wait for definitive scientific proof,” Margaret Chan, director general of the Wo...

February 29, 2016

TETIAROA, French Polynesia — On this remote South Pacific atoll owned by Marlon Brando’s family, a French biologist is undertaking an ambitious experiment that could help change how we fight mosquitoes — and the diseases they spread.

Hervé Bossin and his team have relea...

February 17, 2016

Josie Kuchta

TAHITI, French Polynesia —The jovial former pipe fitter still laughs with wheezing breaths, but no smile. His frozen facial muscles testify that he has not fully overcome the illness that changed his life.

His ailment, called Guillain-Barré syndrome, is know...

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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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