San Francisco is in the midst of a heat wave this week, and the ability to walk the summer streets without a parka is having a regrettable effect on our workforce. For once, the shorts-sporting tourists are properly dressed, and office workers are lingering alongside them on the downtown sidewalks, noticing that it actually feels […]
“There are so many women in the world, so many fresh and young and virtuous women, so many good and kind women. Why have I been cursed with women who destroy the children in their own wombs?” So complains Hilary Mantel’s fictional version of Henry VIII – and this Sunday marks the date, 477 years […]
We often lament hype in science journalism. But seldom do we worry about underhype – of downplaying the significance of a study. In March, I had reason to worry about this. Just after Nature published a story that I wrote about a massive cancer genetics project, I received an email from my editor: “Should we […]
The emergence of the H7N9 bird flu virus has rekindled memories of our last flu pandemic – just as the United States is debating whether it can afford to prepare for the next one. Remember the H1N1 flu scare of 2009? I always will, because pregnant women were vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying […]
Early in my pregnancy, a research assistant sat down next to me in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, where I was scheduled to undergo a routine checkup. She asked me if I wanted to take part in a research study and described the study’s goals, risks and benefits. After I agreed to join […]
In which we ask our enlightened readers to solve a household mystery. Scene: The Check-Hayden kitchen. Erika (opens the refrigerator): Hm, this apple juice has been in here for a while. I should probably just finish it off.
Last year, after years of writing about research studies, I agreed to become a research subject myself. I agreed to allow a local medical center to use my tissue, health records, fluids, cells, and other “specimens” for research. Not only that – I also allowed the researchers to use the same types of information and […]
As I’ve been thinking about the challenges facing science journalism, a little voice in my head has been murmuring, “Yes, but isn’t all this navel-gazing a bit biology-centric?” Number one on my list of lessons from the “limits of DNA” story is that datasets are getting bigger, and few of us reporters are well-equipped to […]