A Time To Decide

Women diagnosed with breast cancer know one basic fact: the earlier their malignant cells were detected, the better the odds for survival. But things aren't so simple when it comes to treatment--especially if the diagnosis is ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS.

Coping With The Darkness

Anne Breon had been through it all before. For seven years she watched an aunt who had Alzheimer's disease languish in a traditional nursing home. The care was adequate, but Breon was desperate to do better for her aunt's sister, 88-year-old Lillian Reinke.

The War On Disease Goes Miniature

The future of medicine is vast--and it's also amazingly small. One day in the next century, thanks to the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, you could walk out of the doctor's office with a prescription for cancer detectors so tiny you can't see them.

Mideast: The First Steps In A Delicate Dance

They never shook hands, not even in private. So say U.S. officials describing the chilly if historic two-day meeting in Washington between Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

A Debate On The Origins Of A Plague

It is an ironic and unsettling hypothesis--that the effort to fight one great human scourge might have given rise to another. But in "The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS," British writer Edward Hooper builds a case for the possibility that the HIV-1 virus first reached humans in oral polio vaccines given to a million people in Africa between 1957 and 1960.

Viagra May Still Be Mostly A Guy Thing

Viagra's got a pretty solid record when it comes to performance in men. But will it work for women, too? Some swear by it, and a small pilot study of women has found that the drug can boost sexual response significantly.

What Dreams Are Made Of

The stuff of dreams--bizarre, fleeting and mysterious. But are they significant? Psychoanalysts and neuroscientists have been on opposite sides of the couch over that question for decades.

How Parents Can Help

One day they're crawling around in the sandbox; the next day they're prowling the Internet. Tweens like to think of themselves as all grown up--but they still need plenty of support and guidance from parents.

The Miracle Of Motion

The body's joints are amazing contraptions. When they work well, we take them for granted. But for the 2.1 million Americans who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis--most of them women struck between the ages of 25 and 50--the joints are enemy terrain.

Necessary Shots?

Since the birth of her twin daughters last May, Theresa Sakamoto of Santa Monica, Calif., hasn't been getting much sleep. It's not just the babies who are keeping her up--it's Sakamoto's own internal debate over whether to vaccinate them. "If I knew my kids wouldn't have any [adverse] reaction, I would just do it.

A Deadly Strain Of Staph

Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium known by its nickname "staph," has been the bane of medical experts for decades. Not just because it can trigger nasty blood, bone and skin infections, but because the stubborn microbe has a striking ability to mutate and thwart antibiotic drugs.

Schools On The Alert

It has been only a few months, but life has changed radically at Permian High in Odessa, Texas. Last May, when the dismissal bell rang out the old academic year, students were Jane and John Anonymous, and the closest thing to surveillance was a couple of security guards passing through the hallways.

Our Quest To Be Perfect

Ten years ago, when she was only 25, Holly Lagalante shelled out $2,500 for an eyelid lift. The tab nearly maxed out her credit card, but the results--more bright-eyed, less droopy--left her absolutely giddy.

Doctors Go Dot.Com

Dina Wildey of Owings Mills, Md., is one wired woman. She uses e-mail every day to keep in touch with family members, and she spends hours browsing the Web--especially the health sites.

Our Quest To Be Perfect

Ten years ago, when she was only 25, Holly Lagalante shelled out $2,500 for an eyelid lift. The tab nearly maxed out her credit card, but the results--more bright-eyed, less droopy--left her absolutely giddy.

Beware The Unruly Sun

The summer sun. It warms the sand and the soul. But as Kathleen Black will remind you, those brilliant rays can also ravage the body. Just weeks before her 35th birthday last fall, Black was told that the funny-looking spot on her left shin--no bigger than a pencil eraser--was a deadly form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. "Boy, those two words will echo in your brain," she says. "I saw my life flashing in front of me."In the United States, the incidence of melanoma is rising faster...

Fighting Cellulite

When Cellasene made its debut in drugstores across America this March, women eagerly shelled out $40 for a 10-day supply of the heavily advertised pill, which its manufacturer promises will help "eliminate cellulite" in a "natural, safe, effective" way.

The Jock V. The Clock

Julie Anderson was one of those dazzling childhood athletes. A ballerina, and tap and jazz dancer. A top-ranked gymnast and a competitive freestyle skier.

Pen, Paper, Power!

For decades, Lori Galloway had recurring dreams about shooting or bombing her father and stepfather. Years of sexual abuse as a child left her feeling like "the most worthless person on the face of the earth." Just talking about the trauma prompted a physical response: "I would shake violently and my voice would quiver," she says.

Hormones And The Mind

You hop into your car, but, wait, where are the keys? You meet someone new, but her name is gone before the handshake's over. Those are failures of your short-term, or "working," memory--the place you file information for immediate, everyday retrieval.

Baby Boom: The $50,000 Egg

With high-tech babies come high-tech quandaries. The latest: should people with bigger bucks be able to buy better genes? The question stems from an ad recently placed in Ivy League newspapers by an infertile couple seeking an "intelligent, athletic" egg donor who is at least 5 feet 10 and has an SAT score of 1400 or better.

A One-Two Vs. Cancer

In cancer research, the next best thing to finding a cure is upping the odds of survival. Last week the National Cancer Institute announced a new treatment for cervical cancer that can do just that.

A Little Help In The Bedroom

Ah, that little blue pill. You know the one. It knocked the shame out of impotence. It boosted virility. It rattled the stock market. But, you may wonder, what has Viagra done for me?Possibly a lot--even if you've never set eyes on the drug.

Autoimmune Disorders

Joann Anastasi never imagined that her body would betray her. At 51, she was a full-time hair stylist with plenty of extra energy for dancing and handicrafts. "I was always busy," she says. "I was a whirlwind." But all that changed when Anastasi began to feel sluggish and achy.

The Octuplet Question

FOR WEEKS, NKEM CHUKWU AND THE babies in her belly had defied gravity. In her Houston hospital bed, the 27-year-old lay tilted head down, feet in the air, as doctors tried desperately to withhold from the world--and medical history--a major delivery.

In Boston, Banishing Blame And Shame

Impotence. What an assignment. Millions of men suffer it, but most won't discuss it with a brother, let alone, I feared, a female reporter. For women, health talk starts at puberty and never stops.

The Pill That Transformed America

FROM THE DAY SHE opened her first clinic in 1916, Margaret Sanger longed for a simple, reliable, nonintrusive birth-control technique: a pill. Traditional "barrier" methods failed too often.

A Struggle By Degrees

FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, CERTAIN GRADUATION requirements at Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences have remained unchanged: no math and foreign-language credits, no diploma.

Caring From Afar

SEVERAL MORNINGS A WEEK, Marti Kotin Mirken calls her mother, Yadeh Kotin, in Hollywood, Fla. The 79-year-old Kotin suffers from emphysema and was hospitalized earlier this year with a collapsed lung.

Pages