Guest Post: Learning to Appreciate the Untracked Life

In the weeks after I bought a Fitbit, I noticed I was acting bizarre. I started carrying bags with my left arm so my right arm – the one with the Fitbit – could swing freely to ensure the Fitbit’s accelerometer would count my every step. In the evening, I would pace around my apartment […]

Redux Baltimore: Drugs, Guns, and Real Life

This was originally published 8/23/2011.  More should have changed by now.  This is a sort of permanent redux.Today is my birthday, a good time to reflect. And one of the things I have found myself brooding over lately is my love of Baltimore. As fans of The Wire know, the city has more than its […]

Watkins’ Lethal Elixir

On September 27, 1937, Susie Mae DeLoach caught her leg on a strip of barbed wire. The wound festered, and the infection spread, eventually reaching her heart. None of the remedies DeLoach’s doctor recommended seemed to have any effect. And by the time her family called Dr. Johnston Peeples for a second opinion, she was gravely […]

Losing Control

When you’re carrying a child, you make certain sacrifices. I knew I’d have to give up Tanqueray and the occasional guilty cigarette. I was even prepared to forgo sushi. But I soon learned that the list was far longer than I imagined. No hot tubs, the experts advised. No queso fresco. No Advil. No deli meat. […]

Plan UVB

You may have read last week that you should start wearing sunscreen at night. This was bad news for me: I’m already a hopeless victim of sunscreen marketing, slathering the stuff in rain or shine, in London fog, at dusk. I just can’t stop, despite mounting evidence that regular sunscreen may be less protective than […]

Behind the Steel Door

In 2011, Yoshihiro Kawaoka reported that his team had engineered a pandemic form of the bird flu virus. Bird flu, also known as H5N1, has infected infected nearly 700 people worldwide and killed more than 400. But it hasn’t yet gained the ability to jump easily from human to human. Kawaoka’s research suggested that capability might be closer […]

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 […]