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East Coast US
Mary is a medical editor with nearly 20 years of experience and a master's degree in public health from the Yale University School of Medicine.
Interests: ice cream and the movies
Recent Activity
Here's an interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal describing what scientists have learned recently about how what you eat may reduce your risk of a repeat heart attack. Here's a hint: Hope you like fish! Check it out. Continue reading
You should get to know Schwitzer peels away the layers on health and medical "news" like few others. He recently picked up this list of questions about colonoscopy that appeared on an NPR web site in Boston. Food for thought. Continue reading
Wow. An article in JAMA suggests that implementation of smoke-free workplace laws in one county in Minnesota led to significant reductions in heart attacks and sudden death that couldn't be explained by other factors, according to the authors. You can read about it here. The investigators feel stronly enough about their findings that they recommend that no one with coronary artery disease be exposed to second smoke. Continue reading
2012 has been a crazy year for West Nile encephalitis. What do you want to know about it? Start here, with an FAQ published today in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Click here ot check it out. Continue reading
We don’t mean the triggers — though that could be a fun post — but the actual physical process. What is it about our physiology that occasionally makes our tummy say, “Come on up, Chuck”? via Just because I thought you might find it interesting. Really. Continue reading
This was probably the most controversial science story last week, and with good reason considering the amount of money--and hope--people invest in organic food. So far, data showing an actualy health benefit. Most surprising, many organic foods are not completely free of pesticides. Click here to read a good summary at e! Science News. Organic produce still tastes better to me. What do you think? Continue reading
Your great-grandparents faced infectious diseases that hardly threaten you today: tuberculosis, polio, cholera, malaria, yellow fever, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, typhoid, typhus, tapeworm, hookworm…. But there's also a long list of modern illnesses that your great-grandparents barely knew: asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergies, Crohn's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis. The coincidence of the rise in these "inflammation" diseases, characterized by an overactive immune system, with the decline of infection is almost certainly not a coincidence. via Fascinating emerging science that may explain apparent increases in diseases ranging from autism to Crohn's disease. Continue reading
The WSJ tells the story of a possible TB apocalypse through the travails of one woman living with tuberculosis that is resistant to all known medications. She's still alive, apparently surviving while taking two experimental drugs. Frightening. Click here to read the entire article. Continue reading
The brain can be a messy place. Thankfully, it has good plumbing: Scientists have just discovered a cleansing river inside the brain, a fluid stream that might be enlisted to flush away the buildup of proteins associated with Alzheimer's, Huntington's and other neurodegenerative disorders. via how do we capitalize on this? Continue reading
EVERYONE knows that a placebo — a fake medication or sham procedure, typically used as a control in a medical trial — can nonetheless have a positive effect, relieving real symptoms like pain, bloating or a depressed mood. The placebo effect is a result of the patient’s expectation that the treatment will help. via This is a fascinating article--when knowing too much can hurt you. Continue reading
How We Create False Memories: Assessing Memory Performance in Older Adults (Nov. 7, 2011) — A new study addresses the influence of age-related stereotypes on memory performance and memory errors in older ... > read more via We all want to believe this is true. One thing is probably true, though--this won't hurt you! Continue reading
ScienceDaily (July 30, 2012) — Just grin and bear it! At some point, we have all probably heard or thought something like this when facing a tough situation. But is there any truth to this piece of advice? Feeling good usually makes us smile, but does it work the other way around? Can smiling actually make us feel better? via Continue reading
Interesting....thank, Mental Floss, for writing about how studies of the descendants of survivors of the "Bounty" mutiny are providing clues about the genetics of migrain. Continue reading
It's good to see Naomi Shaeffer Riley put a spotlight on the continuing problem of under-informed parents who decide to under-vaccinate their kids. It's bad enough that these well-intentioned folks are relying on bad science and ignoring their own docs when making vaccine decisions for their own kids. As Ms. Riley explains, their decision to not vaccinate their own kids endangers our kids, too. Click here to read about the concept of "herd immunity" and why it truly takes a village to protect infants and kids from diseases like whooping cough, measles, and other childhood infections. Do you have a... Continue reading
So one day last July, Dr. Timothy Ley, associate director of the university’s genome institute, summoned his team. Why not throw everything we have at seeing if we can find a rogue gene spurring Dr. Wartman’s cancer, adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he asked? “It’s now or never,” he recalled telling them. “We will only get one shot.” via Fascinating. Continue reading
I've heard this before: Using a fat-free salad dressing can be self-defeating, because fats help you take advantage of the nutrients in your salad vegetables. Click here to read about this recent study. Hint: Use dressings with monounsaturated fats to get most benefit from your salad with the least fat consumption. Continue reading
Well-toned muscles should be a hallmark of healthy aging. Here's more data linking strong muscles to healthy bones in men and women from a long-term study conducted at the Mayo Clinic. Continue reading
How lucky is Yasser Lopez, the teen who has survived the incredible--having his brain impaled by a fishing spear? In this article from Medical Daily, one of his surgeons makes a great point, one worth remembering: If the EMTs had tried to remove the thing at the scene, they might have killed him. It took the surgical team 3 hours to complete the removal. Good luck, Yasser! Photo: Jackson Memorial Hospital Continue reading
By Claire Bates via From the "What Will They Think of Next?" department! Continue reading
This is interesting stuff, so have a look at this free editorial and the article (access, $32) in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Here's an excerpt from the editorial by Edward Giovannucci, MD. Given the promise of a role of physical activity in reducing cancer-specific mortality, future research involving observational studies, interventions, and mechanistic studies should be a high priority. Few other leads have shown as much promise as physical activity in extending the lives of cancer survivors. Many treatments may increase survival, but at a cost of quality of life; physical activity may... Continue reading
None of this is very surprising... Continue reading
The National Spelling Bee of 2023 started out like any other, but controversy enveloped the contest when Suzy Hamilton, an 8-year-old from Tulsa, emerged as the new champion. Contestants had been getting younger for years; that was nothing new. But midway through the event it was discovered that Suzy was—in the words of one commentator—"amped." At the age of 4, suffering from seizures and severe attention and behavioral problems, Suzy had received an experimental new treatment: a neural implant that prevented her seizures and helped her to focus. As it turned out, the device also appeared to make her a... Continue reading
CHICAGO—Medical science efforts to harness the power of the immune system against cancer are beginning to bear fruit after decades of frustration, opening up a hopeful new front in the long battle against the disease. via This is an incredibly intriguing, breaking story. Continue reading
Personal note: My "Bread-is-Death" diet is working. Minus 8 lb! Continue reading
Maybe your kid has never had a concussion, but you still wonder about the cumulative effect of less serious head bumps. This is for you: A summary of a study just published in the journal Neurology that tried to assess the effects of repeated mild hits to the head--not concussions--that young athletes often experience during games. Continue reading