Barbara Kantrowitz

Stories by Barbara Kantrowitz

  • Her Body: The 100-Calorie Snack Report

    Dozens of tasty foods are now available in 100-calorie packages. But is that a good thing? We get to the bottom of many little bags.
  • America's 25 Hot Schools

    Competition's intense and there are scores of colleges. Large, small, public, private, urban, rural—what's best for you? Here are our top picks for the places that everyone's talking about for 2005.
  • Her Body: Sex After Cancer

    A new book takes on a subject even doctors rarely talk about—shattering taboos and shedding light on how survivors can reclaim intimacy in their lives. A conversation with the author.
  • Skin Care: What to Do About Sun Spots

    Though medically harmless, sun spots on your skin can be an unwelcome reminder of aging. How to get rid of old ones and avoid new ones.
  • Alzheimer's: Role Reversal for Adult Children

    Millions of boomers are caring for parents afflicted with a disease that steals minds and memories. What life is like when your mother doesn't know you, or her own name.
  • Past Newsweek Coverage

    He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, the future King of England. She was, quite literally, the girl next door, a 20-year-old who had grown up on an estate in the shadow of the royal family's Sandringham retreat. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century.It was the opening scene of a grand, 16-year soap opera that had Diana playing a dizzying array of roles, from innocent bride to loving young mother to glamorous style setter. The gap between her public and private lives was vast. She was the most celebrated woman in the world and yet achingly lonely. Movie stars and factory workers lined up to meet her, but she felt so unloved that she repeatedly tried to harm herself. The higher her rating in the popularity polls, the more her husband seemed to keep his distance. She suffered from bulimia and depression, but...
  • The Principal Principle

    Many things go into making a high school great, but a strong, effective principal is always at the top of the list. As part of our survey of America's Best High Schools, we take a look at the many roles a head must play.
  • Diabetes Drug Linked to Heart Attacks

    More than 6 million people around the world have taken the drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to treat Type II diabetes. But a new study published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the drug is linked to a higher risk of heart attack and death. In the study, Dr. Steven Nissen and Kathy Wolski of the Cleveland Clinic analyzed the results of 42 existing trials and found that Avandia increased heart-attack risk 43 percent. In response to the study, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety alert advising patients to talk to their doctors about whether they should continue taking the medication. Three major medical groups—the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Diabetes Association—also issued a joint advisory urging patients to call their doctors. "We don't feel this is an emergency or a crisis," says Dr. Sue Kirkman, vice president, clinical affairs, at the American Diabetes Association. Although it has...
  • Her Body: Interview With a Former Fat Girl

    In a new book that pulls no punches, Lisa Delaney describes how she changed her life, dropped 70 pounds and kept the weight off. All about the 'mint-chocolate chip incident.'
  • Are 'Brainy' Toys for Babies a Waste of Money?

    You see them everywhere: harried parents hauling their little ones off to classes in Mandarin, gymnastics or classical violin. At home, they're filling nurseries with "educational" rattles and mobiles. It's all for a worthy goal: making the most of the first three years of life, when critical changes in brain structure determine whether little Madison or Matthew will one day enter the Ivy League. At least that is what a growing number of parents have been led to believe. Sadly, it may all be a waste of time and money.Thanks to what journalist Susan Gregory Thomas calls the "toddler-industrial complex," parents have become suckers for toys with "Einstein" or "genius" in their names. In her new book, "Buy Buy Baby," Thomas explains how a well-meaning 1994 report by the Carnegie Corporation led to the creation of a vast marketing effort aimed at parents of young children. The report, called "Starting Points," used neuroscience to make the case for more federally funded services for...
  • What Breast-Cancer Survivors Can Expect

    Last fall, Elizabeth Edwards was the guest speaker at a conference sponsored by NEWSWEEK and Harvard Medical School. Although she spoke about the sorrows in her life, she conveyed an inspiring optimism. Now she faces another tough fight. To learn more about what Mrs. Edwards and other breast-cancer survivors might expect, Barbara Kantrowitz interviewed Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). ...
  • Fighting Cancer: What Elizabeth Edwards Can Expect

    Last fall, Elizabeth Edwards was the guest speaker at a Boston conference sponsored by NEWSWEEK and Harvard Medical School. She was in the midst of a tour promoting her recently published book, "Saving Graces." Although Edwards spoke in detail about the greatest trials in her life, especially the death of her 16-year-old son in a car accident and her struggle with breast cancer, she conveyed an inspiring optimism about her future. That optimism reappeared today when she and her husband, presidential contender John Edwards, announced that her cancer has returned, this time to her bones. Still, she told a crowded press conference: "I don't look sickly. I don't feel sickly." Despite the devastating news, the couple vowed to continue campaigning. "This is the most extraordinarily unselfish woman I have ever known," her husband said, with a touch of awe in his voice. Her doctor is waiting for the results of some tests taken this week before starting treatment. To find out more about what...
  • Secrets, Lies and Love

    A few years ago, just as her father was about to disappear into the fog of dementia, journalist Lucinda Franks stumbled upon a small box in a corner of his dilapidated apartment. The contents shocked her. Beneath some mysterious maps and crumpled foreign bank notes, she found a military cap embellished with the raised metal insignia of an eagle, a skull and crossbones—and a swastika. Franks knew little about her father's military service during World War II, and had always sensed that he was hiding something. Now questions consumed her. "Was my sphinx-like father presenting one character and living another?" she writes in her new memoir, "My Father's Secret War." "Whose side was he really on?" When she pressed for an explanation, her father refused to talk, citing a decades-old pledge of secrecy.But after years of detective work and long conversations with her ailing father, Franks eventually pieced together most of his story. Fluent in German, he was a spy and occasionally an...
  • National Sleep Survey Finds Weary Women

    In a new national survey, 60 percent of American women say they don't get enough sleep. What's keeping them awake? And what can they do about it?
  • Don’T Forget The Artificial Tears

    When our book, “Is it hot in here? Or is it me? The Complete Guide to Menopause” ( Workman ), was released a few weeks ago, “The Today Show” invited us on to talk about the topic and put together a “menopause survival kit.” After the show ran, we got lots of e-mails asking for a list of the contents. While this “kit” is not all-inclusive, these items will help you weather the menopause transition more successfully. Here’s a breakdown of our purchases:Face wipes. Stow these in your purse or desk drawer. They’re great for mopping up after a sweaty hot flash.Water bottle. Drinking some ice water helps many women reduce the severity of hot flashes. Keep it handy.Nightwear made of fabric that wicks away moisture. We have a friend who sleeps in a flannel nightgown and then complains of night sweats. A simple solution is to buy T-shirts or sleepwear made of wicking fabric. That way, you won’t feel so cold and clammy. Look for the same fabric you see in athletic wear.Cream moisturizer....
  • The Royal Romance

    A photogenic young woman is thronged by paparazzi. Tabloids scream of an imminent proposal by the heir to the throne. Reporters pore over her ancestry. In 1981, the prey was a shy 19-year-old named Lady Diana Spencer, a nursery-school teacher from an aristocratic family whose royal romance ended in a scandalous divorce. This year, it's Kate Middleton, 25, Prince William's steady girlfriend for more than three years. An accessories buyer who met William at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Middleton faces a new generation of paparazzi clamoring for a single shot of a future queen in a bikini. But her story could have a much happier ending.Diana faced the media hordes on her own. Middleton clearly has her prince on her side. Middleton's lawyers (who also happen to represent William) are examining possible legal restraints against the onslaught of cameras. "William is angry and upset about it," says a member of his staff, "because of what happened to his mother." Both William...
  • ‘First Momma’ in the White House

    When Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, he proclaimed himself “indebted to no man and only to one woman.” His job was clear: to heal a nation torn apart by Watergate and Vietnam. But what about that woman? Betty Ford has called Aug. 9, 1974, “the saddest day” of her life. The transition was not easy. Her press secretary, Sheila Rabb Weidenfeld, remembers her first job interview with the new First Lady. She asked Ford what a First Lady’s press secretary should do. Ford replied: “How should I know? I don’t even know what I am supposed to do.”Within a month, Ford and Weidenfeld had their answer. Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Weidenfeld says it was at Ford’s insistence that the press statement talked honestly about the First Lady’s health. It was a decision Ford made “on the operating table,” Weidenfeld says. At the time, it was a radical move. “Cancer was not a word that could be mentioned out loud,” Weidenfeld...
  • Autism: What Happens When They Grow Up

    Teenagers and young adults are the emerging face of autism as the disorder continues to challenge science and unite determined families.
  • A Gulf War Link to Lou Gehrig's Disease?

    A diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is devastating. Victims of this fatal neurological disease lose almost all muscle control, even the ability to breathe on their own. That’s why it might seem alarming that a new report from the Institute of Medicine, released today, suggests a possible connection between military service and later development of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease (after its most famous victim). But the chairman of the committee that wrote the report cautions against overreaction. “It’s a rare disease, and it’s rare in veterans,” says Dr. Richard Johnson, a neurologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “I served in the military, and it didn’t cross my mind that this would increase my risk of the disease.”The report analyzed five studies that examined a potential link between military service and ALS. Three of the studies focused on Persian Gulf War veterans and found that their risk of developing ALS was as much as two times...
  • Brush With Perfection

    Without the fat lip and the funeral, who knows how this story would have turned out? The fat lip belonged to New York Times writer Alex Kuczynski. The funeral was for her close friend Jerry Nachman, a journalist who died of cancer in 2003. As she grieved, Kuczynski faced a dilemma: the service was the same day as her regular skin-rejuvenating session with her plastic surgeon. Appointments were hard to get and she didn't dare skip one. So she decided to squeeze in a little microdermabrasion between the funeral and a tribute afterward at a Manhattan restaurant.What happened next was not pretty. After the funeral, Kuczynski sped across town to her doctor, who blasted her skin with crystals that swept away dead cells. Then she asked for a quick injection of Restylane, a mucouslike substance that she hoped would plump up her upper lip. The needle had barely been withdrawn when Kuczynski felt a strange mass on her face. Her lip was so grotesquely swollen (eventually reaching the size of a...
  • Is Your College a Lemon?

    When you're in the market for a new car, you read reviews of various makes, visit dealers and go for a few test-drives. You want to know about things like gas mileage, repair costs and resale value. That kind of careful consumerism is exactly what Education Secretary Margaret Spellings would like to bring to the process of picking a college. "We need to make higher education more accountable," says Spellings, "by opening up the ivory towers and putting information at the fingertips of students and families."Making data more accessible is a major recommendation of a new report from a commission Spellings created to study the future of higher education. With the annual bill at $40,000 for elite private universities, college is a huge investment and a source of enormous future debt. But it's almost impossible for students to compare schools in differ-ent states to see which ones are really worth those big bucks. Families generally rely on what they hear from relatives, friends and...
  • The Royal Treatment

    When Helen Mirren was growing up in postwar London, millions of Britons revered the royal family. Mirren's parents were not among them. "They didn't like the class system, and the royal family is the pinnacle of the class system," she says. "I was brought up very antimonarchist." Mirren recalls being "a bit cheeky" herself about the royals in her younger days: "I was a little uppity about why the queen won't smile. 'Does it hurt her to smile? Isn't that what she's there for?' "Mirren has since tried the crown on twice. Just a month after winning an Emmy for her lusty turn as Elizabeth I on HBO, Mirren's nuanced performance as Elizabeth II has won her the best-actress award at the Venice Film Festival--and made her a top Oscar contender. In Stephen Frears's marvelous, and surprisingly intimate, new movie "The Queen," she plays Elizabeth II in the days after Diana's shocking death on Aug. 30, 1997. It was a week when Her Majesty seemed strikingly out of touch with not just her people...