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.

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.

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-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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Difficult Gift: Pamela Madsen's Struggle to Donate Her Embryos Continues

One year ago, I called Pamela Madsen, a well-known advocate in the fertility world, to interview her about the fate of some 400,000 frozen embryos stored in clinics across the country. My goal was to get her professional take on what has become, over the years, a highly charged moral and political debate. But the conversation quickly became personal. Madsen told me that she and her husband had conceived their two sons, now 17 and 21, through in vitro fertilization and that they still had four...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...