Ask Your Doctor, Much Good It Will Do You

Q:  Oh, you’re a doctor!  Oh good!  I need a doctor.  I had the flu shot but I’ve got the flu anyway.  I feel like roadkill looks. A:  You do know, don’t you, that since this year’s flu shot is only 23% effective, you had an 89% chance of getting the flu. Q:  Is that […]

This Year’s Flu Vaccine Is Shoddy: Four Reasons to Get It Anyway

Influenza hit the US hard this winter. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that influenza had reached epidemic proportions across large swaths of the country. Most of us think of the flu as an inconvenience, but the virus can be deadly. In early January, a 26-year-old radiology technician in Wisconsin died […]

The Last Battle

For every year since 1840, life expectancy in the Western world has lengthened by three months. Many more of us can look forward to a full retirement and, in the Commonwealth countries, a letter from the Queen on our 100th birthdays. It’s worth asking, though, whether large-scale longevity is worth pursuing if more than half […]

Yelping My Eye Surgeon

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of waking up, opening my eyes, and seeing clearly. I’ve worn glasses since age 8. Without them, I can’t see my partner’s face in the bed next to me. I can’t see the clock on the phone sitting on my nightstand, or stargaze when I’m sleeping […]

Holiday Redux: I Can’t Put It Down

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in July 2012. Alarmist reporting about addictions to sex, to the internet or to exercise can suggest that new syndromes are being invented every day, that human existence is pathologized out of proportion. But some compulsive behaviors that caused […]

Guest Post: What science can learn from religion

Sharel was twenty when she died from an overdose. Her funeral was held at the Holy Temple Christian Church on Althea Street in Providence, Rhode Island. The church tried to raise $5,000 for the expense, but only managed to raise $347. Althea Street is short, only three blocks long. It is poor. Boarded up buildings […]

Cold Hands, Warm Space Heater

On my way to the dry cleaners, I passed a gaggle of highschoolers on their way home from class. The high was 16 degrees yesterday, and the wind made it feel like single digits. But most of these students were dressed for a crisp fall day. One kid, some Justin Bieberesque boy on a bike, […]