Tech & Science

  • 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.
  • The Mechanics of Trauma

    New research reveals more about how the brain processes the kind of traumatic memories that result in posttraumatic stress disorder. Could these discoveries lead to better drug treatments?
  • Going, Going, Gone?

    Smallpox is the only disease we've ever eradicated. But others are on the endangered list: Guinea Worm, Polio and Lymphatic Filariasis could all be wiped out in the next few generations.
  • Study: Your Friends Can Make You Fat

    The list of reasons a person might pack on too many pounds is already plenty long: genes, hormone disorders, a couch-potato lifestyle, love of cheeseburgers. Thanks to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, you can add another culprit to the list: friends.Obesity spreads through social networks, according to the study, so if your friends put on weight, you’re more likely to put on the pounds, too. Your family members or spouse can also influence you; as they get heavier, you’re more likely to gain along with them. But, your friends—even if they don’t live anywhere near you—have the most sway. A close friend’s weight gain can even be downright dangerous.“If your close friend becomes obese in a given time interval, there’s triple the risk that you will follow suit,” says Nicholas Christakis, a coauthor of the study, which was published Wednesday and a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School. “Before you know it you have an obesity epidemic, where we're...
  • Tell Us How You Survived a Health Crisis

    Tell us how you met your greatest health challenge. Did you overcome an illness? Did you finally lose the weight you always wanted to lose? Did you start exercising after years of inactivity? Did you train for a marathon or quit smoking? Did you start eating right and stay with it? In your own words, take us through your experience.  What did you learn about your physical and emotional strengths? Were there people in your life that buoyed you with support or guidance? We'll run the best of our submissions online weekly throughout 2007. ...
  • Begley: The Puzzle of Hidden Ability

    Even their parents struggle to draw the tiniest hint of emotion or social connection from autistic children, so imagine what happens when a stranger sits with the child for hours to get through the standard IQ test. For 10 of the test's 12 sections, the child must listen and respond to spoken questions. Since for many autistics it is torture to try to engage with someone even on this impersonal level, it's no wonder so many wind up with IQ scores just above a carrot's (I wish I were exaggerating; 20s are not unknown). More precisely, fully three quarters of autistics are classified as having below-normal intelligence, with many deemed mentally retarded.It's finally dawning on scientists that there's a problem here. Testing autistic kids' intelligence in a way that requires them to engage with a stranger "is like giving a blind person an intelligence test that requires him to process visual information," says Michelle Dawson of Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital in Montreal. She and...
  • Evolution: Branches on the Tree

    The phrase "family bush" doesn't trip off the tongue the way "family tree" does, but anyone talking about human origins had better get used to it. For years scientists have known that the simple linear model in which one ancestor evolved into another is a myth. Starting 4 million years ago, half a dozen species of Australopithecus lived in Africa at the same time. Experts thought that once the Homo lineage debuted 2.5 million years ago in East Africa with Homo habilis, things settled down, with habilis evolving into Homo erectus, who evolved into Homo sapiens—us. But two fossils discovered in Kenya in 2000 (it takes scientists years to figure out what fossils mean) suggest evolution was a lot messier than that.One fossil, found just east of Kenya's Lake Turkana, is the upper jaw of a habilis from 1.44 million years ago. This species was thought to have gone extinct about 1.6 million years ago. The other find, from the same site, is an erectus skull from 1.55 million years ago. The...
  • New Ways to Map How the Face Ages

    New research into how the face stores fat could lead to more effective anti-aging strategies, better facial reconstruction techniques, and may even help doctors assess heart-disease risks.
  • Why Do Some People Shop Impulsively?

    Researchers have found that the way we process guilt has an impact on how prudent we are when it comes to buying that luxury item or eating that extra cookie.
  • Eight Ways To Improve Your Makeup

    Cold sores, dermatitis, acne bumps and eyelash lice are just some of the icky conditions that can be spread by unkempt cosmetics. How to keep your makeup clean.
  • Read an Excerpt from ‘The Center Cannot Hold’

    It’s ten o’clock on a Friday night. I am sitting with my two classmates in the Yale Law School Library. “Memos are visitations,” I announce. “They make certain points. The point is on your head. Have you ever killed anyone?”My study partners look at me as if they—or I—have been splashed with ice water. “This is a joke, right?” asks one. “What are you talking about, Elyn?” asks the other.“Oh, the usual. Heaven, and hell. Who’s what, what’s who. Hey!” I say, leaping out of my chair. “Let’s go out on the roof!”I practically sprint to the nearest large window, climb through it, and step out onto the roof, followed a few moments later by my reluctant partners in crime. “This is the real me!” I announce, my arms waving above my head. “Come to the Florida lemon tree! Come to the Florida sunshine bush! Where they make lemons. Where there are demons. Hey, what’s the matter with you guys?”“You’re frightening me,” one blurts out. A few uncertain moments later, “I’m going back inside,” says the...
  • Doctors Debate Over Lyme Disease

    There's a debate raging over Lyme disease, although you'd never know it unless you've been paying close attention—because on the surface it sounds like the dullest argument imaginable. Last year, the Infectious Diseases Society of America issued new guidelines saying physicians should treat Lyme with antibiotics for no longer than 30 days. Some docs think that's wrong. It's a seemingly straightforward difference of opinion. So why has the debate dissolved into animosity, with one side suggesting that its opponents have no credibility and the other slinging deeply personal insults on the Web? And why has it now spilled out of medical journals and into the office of a state attorney general? Clearly, something other than ticks is bugging a lot of doctors.Lyme disease—the most common insect-borne ailment in America, with roughly 20,000 cases diagnosed each year and more undetected—is transmitted mostly by a well-known pest, the deer tick. But the real culprit is something even nastier,...
  • Race for Life: Triathlon Camp for Diabetics

    There was a time—say, the fourth grade—when I was sure my genetic destiny was to be an athlete. My father was a three-time All-American wrestler in college. My mother was a runner and a yoga teacher. At school, whenever teams were picked, I was among the first chosen, and, without exception, the first girl. But at 11 a different genetic fate revealed itself when I developed type 1 diabetes. The disease—which I and about 3 million others in this country have—develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin, which the body needs to turn glucose into energy. As a type 1, my life is a perpetual balancing act that requires me to check my blood glucose level several times a day. If it's too low, I feel shaky, tired and confused and must give myself sugar or risk passing out. Too high, and I feel listless and nauseated until I give myself more insulin. Over time, too many "highs," as I call them, can lead to the disease's nastiest complications—blindness, kidney failure and limb...
  • Global Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine

    Sen. Barbara Boxer had been chair of the Senate's Environment Committee for less than a month when the verdict landed last February. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal," concluded a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, green groups and businesses in 40 countries. Worse, there was now at least a 90 percent likelihood that the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels is causing longer droughts, more flood-causing downpours and worse heat waves, way up from earlier studies.
  • Six of the Worst Workout Habits

    Some of the most common exercise routines could be turning your gym sessions into wasted time. Here's how to make every minute count.
  • Justice Roberts: What Do His Seizures Mean?

    A neurologist on the rapidly evolving study of seizures, how doctors treat episodes like those suffered by Chief Justice Roberts and whether it could affect his future work.