Claudia Kalb

Stories by Claudia Kalb

  • chronic-fatigue-FE07-artlede

    Could a Virus Cause Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome?

    Since the illness first surfaced in the U.S. in the ’80s, chronic-fatigue patients have endured skepticism from doctors, who have not known what to make of a constellation of symptoms that has no known cause, no diagnostic test, and no specific treatment.
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    Preserving Parenthood for Young Cancer Patients

    Over the last decade, the fledgling field of “oncofertility” has focused largely on banking sperm or freezing eggs or embryos for teenagers and adults diagnosed with cancer.
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    Why You Should Ditch Old Painkillers Safely

    Seven million Americans are taking prescription drugs for “nonmedical reasons.” Tomorrow, the Drug Enforcement Agency hosts its first national effort to collect unwanted meds to keep them away from people who might abuse or sell them, especially teenagers.
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    Angie Dickinson Speaks Out on Autism

    Health and celebrities can be an intoxicating and major money-raising mix. Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, has raised awareness—and large amounts of money. Now Angie Dickinson is telling the story of her daughter’s struggle with autism.
  • Stem cells,x-default

    Stem-Cell Research’s Controversial Past

    Embryonic-stem-cell research has provoked more controversy—political, religious, and ethical—than almost any other area of scientific inquiry. This week the field suffered a legal blow with U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s ruling, which blocks the Obama administration’s 2009 regulations expanding embryonic-stem-cell research.
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    Fighting Against Smoking in the Movies

    Earlier this year, Stanton A. Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and James Cameron, director of the science-fiction thriller "Avatar," got into a public sparring match over Hollywood and cigarettes. Now Glantz is back on the attack against the continuing presence of smoking in movies.
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    A Is for Apple

    Food insecurity goes hand in hand with "food deserts"—neighborhoods that don’t have good access to grocery stores. Here's how "Sesame Street" is trying to deal with that issue.
  • Food Insecurity Rising in America

    Food insecurity is on the rise. In 2008, 14.6 percent of U.S. households fell into the food-insecure category at some point during the year—the highest rate since the Department of Agriculture started recording stats in 1995. At the same time, legislation to improve childhood nutrition is now making its way through Congress.
  • Three Big Medical News Items You Shouldn't Miss

    A slew of important medical developments includes a report that adult stem cells have memories, the advent of a vaginal gel that reduces the risk of HIV infection among women, and a change in guidelines that may lead to a decrease in the number of births by Caesarean section.
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    Is Sitting While Autistic a Crime?

    Autism is a diverse condition, but one characterized by behaviors that can be misinterpreted as unusual and even disrespectful by law-enforcement officers trained to seek out those acting suspiciously. One activist is educating police so they can better serve citizens on the spectrum.
  • gal-tease-the-obesity-epidemic

    Parents Oblivious to Overweight Kids

    As obesity rates hit record levels, a new study finds that many adults don’t recognize weight problems in their children. The consequences, for families and the country, can be severe.
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    Healthy Living from 2 to 12

    The Childhood Years: As your children grow, so do their medical needs. Plus: childhood obesity, and how to fight it.
  • Zoonoses: When Animal Diseases Attack

    Animal-based diseases account for 75 percent of newly emerging infections, including H1N1. Can health agencies work together to stop their spread?
  • Too Fat to Fight? Army Recruiters Discuss New Report

    Childhood obesity isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the military. But Mission: Readiness, a D.C.-based organization of retired generals, admirals, and civilian military leaders, is seriously worked up about the epidemic. In "Too Fat to Fight," a new report released on the Hill today, the group says more than 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24—that's more than 9 million young men and women—are too overweight to join the military. And it's calling on Congress to do something about it: to get junk food out of schools and to provide more-effective programs for kids to lose weight. "I was overwhelmed by the number," says Mission's Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who retired from the U.S. Air Force last fall. "We need a force out there that's fit to fight." ...
  • Adoption Isn't Always Easy: The New York Times With More Stories of Struggling Parents

    I first met Josephine Ruggiero 13 years ago when I was reporting a story about international adoption, "Bringing Kids All the Way Home." Ruggiero and her husband had adopted three young biological siblings from Russia in 1994 and they invited me into their home, where they talked openly about how difficult adoption can turn out to be—for parents and children alike. The couple had high hopes that their son and two daughters would adjust to family life in the U.S., but there were physical and behavioral issues from the start, including fetal-alcohol syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder—information that was not shared by the Russian orphanage directors or their adoption agency. ...
  • Dennis Quaid: Making Hospitals Safer

    After his twins almost died in a medical accident, actor Dennis Quaid takes his mission to improve hospital safety worldwide.
  • Ari Ne’eman and the Controversy Over an Autism Cure

    Last week, I called attention to a candid and illuminating memoir about autism in Harper’s magazine. The piece, as I pointed out, is refreshingly devoid of controversy. But that is rare in the world of autism, as this story in Sunday’s New York Times about Ari Ne’eman, the founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, makes clear. Last December, President Obama nominated Ne’eman to be a member of the National Council on Disability. Ne’eman, 22, and his supporters—who include other people on the autism spectrum—were thrilled. His critics were not. Charges: he’s too young and inexperienced, he’s out of touch with the most profoundly affected on the spectrum, and he doesn’t support the hunt for a cure. Now, a hold has been placed on Ne’eman’s Senate confirmation—he would have been the first person with autism to serve on the council—though it is unclear why. Ne’eman, as the Times points out, is a “lightning rod” for a dispute over how autism should be perceived and treated....
  • A Mother Shares the Pain and Pleasures—Not Politics—of Raising a Child With Autism

    Stories about autism tend to feel like literary battlefields, with vaccine-theory supporters on one side and vaccine-theory opponents on the other. Which makes Sallie Tisdale’s memoir, “My Daughter, Her Autism, Our Life,” in the April issue of Harper’s Magazine so illuminating. In six pages, there’s no mention of mercury; instead, Tisdale writes with compassion and candor about what it’s like to care for her autistic daughter, Annie—“a peculiar, sweet, amusing person, irritating and courageous.” Annie drives Tisdale mad with her incessant pacing in her big running shoes in the kitchen, but the 26-year-old also manages to make her mother laugh almost every day. The emotional impact on Tisdale—and on so many other parents who have adult children with developmental disorders—is overwhelming and never-ending. She spends endless hours caring for Annie, but beats herself up anyway: “I feel sad and sorry for myself or pissed off, and then I feel petty because I’m sad and sorry for myself,...
  • Home From Haiti: A Navy Medical Ship Returns to Heroes' Welcome

    As he stood on a Baltimore dock in a glorious March sun, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Tim Donahue remembered the Haitians. The 44 patients with spinal-cord injuries, two of whom broke their necks. The 23-year-old woman who underwent 14 surgeries in 38 days to save her leg. The 16 adults and 13 children who were too sick or injured to be saved. Minutes earlier, Donahue had disembarked from the USNS Comfort, the massive and gleaming white hospital ship that pulled into its home port last week, two months after departing for its medical mission to Haiti. Donahue, the Comfort’s director of surgery, and his colleagues treated some 1,000 men, women, and children injured in the 7.0 earthquake that decimated Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. They rescued lives, they reunited parents and children, they brought hope to the sickest patients. “It was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done in the Navy,” he said. It is the best kind of military mission. For two months, Navy and civilian doct...

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