Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives?

“Colon cancer screening saves lives.” That’s how I began my latest article for Nature Medicine. The news story was about new non-invasive tests that aim to make screening a lot more pleasant. The lead wasn’t great. You could probably find a dozen other stories that begin the same way. But it at least seemed solid. […]

Guest Post: Put Your Money Where Darwin’s Mouth Is

In the fourteen years that I’ve been teaching high school biology, I’ve been asked a lot of weird questions about evolution. But, until recently, I’ve not been asked whether Charles Darwin could make you rich. Is evolution good for business? In a recent debate, Bill Nye, the popular science educator, argued it is. Actually, Nye […]

Death Barged In

Pia’s birthday was last week. I didn’t call her or send a card or bake a cake. Such efforts would have fallen on deaf ears, because she died six years ago in January. Pia was the older sister I’d never had, and she’d welcomed me into her life with apricots and a warm pot of […]

Breast cancer’s latest saga: misfearing and misplaced goalposts

What’s the number one killer of women? It’s a question that practitioners asked every new patient at a clinic where physician Lisa Rosenbaum once worked, and she hasn’t forgotten the answer given to her by one middle-aged woman with high blood pressure and elevated blood lipids. “I know the right answer is heart disease,” the […]

Guest Post: Painful Lessons

It used to go like this: The nice doctor smiles and checks your heart, ears, and knees, pronounces you healthy, and off you go. Grab a lollipop on your way out! (Doctors used to have candy jars. Dentists used to give out toothbrushes.)  You are not yet 20! Life is good! Then suddenly you’ve flown […]

TGIPF: A Penis Shaped Like a Musical Instrument

By the time dermatologist Sanjeev Vaishampayan met his patient, a 45-year-old father of four, the man was in a bad way. Antibiotics had taken care of the infected lesions on his legs, but now the man had a new and mortifying problem: His genitals were bulging and bloated. “The scrotum was huge and its contents […]

Once Upon a Bacterium

I need a new disease. Not for me, not exactly, but for my son. Instead of stories about two mystery solvers named Sam and Lydia, he wants me to regale him with chronicles of ailments, with tales of viruses and bacteria. This started yesterday, because we were going to the doctor to get Hepatitis A […]