Karen Springen

Going For Broke

Last year, the number of personal bankruptcies ballooned to two million as people rushed to beat last deadline for a new law that made it harder and more expensive for consumers to declare themselves broke.

Health Hazards

Four years ago, Candice Jackson, then 12, racked up about $90,000 in uncovered medical bills because an uninsured driver hit her while she was getting off a school bus in Windthorst, Texas.

Series: Lemony's Last Laugh

Young readers, already worried about Harry Potter, now face a new threat. Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler, 36) says at least two characters will die in his 13th and final "A Series of Unfortunate Events" book, "The End." The fate of the Baudelaire orphans and their nemesis, Count Olaf, will be revealed when 2.5 million copies go on sale at 12:01 a.m.

Cafeterias: Big Mother Is Watching

Darin Jones, 15, liked to buy three slices of pizza, a Gatorade and a cookie for lunch at his Vero Beach, Fla., high school. But that stopped once his school started using MealpayPlus.com, which allowed his mom to prepay for his food--and go online to track his purchases. "I noticed stuff I had no idea he was buying," she says.

Technology: A Digital Photo Finish

For the best snapshots, photographers are now clicking more with their computers. Credit online photo sites, which are growing in a ... flash. (We couldn't resist.) This year, U.S. consumers will spend $300 million ordering prints or photo booty--mugs, mousepads, calendars--over the Internet, up 50 percent from 2004.

Books: On the Road Again

The "Magic School Bus" series is flying back onto shelves. After a seven-year absence, the beloved series about an airborne schoolbus that takes kids on farfetched educational field trips is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new book in September and possibly even a movie and a computer game. "The franchise doesn't need to be reinvented," says Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media. "It needs to be extended."The series, featuring the eccentric teacher Ms.

The Premature Birth Problem

Last year, one in every eight babies in the United States was born prematurely—a 30 percent increase over 1981 rates, according to a report released Thursday by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine.

Yes, People Like Me Do Get HIV

A decade ago, Regan Hofmann was shocked to learn that she had contracted HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—from her boyfriend. Then a 28-year-old editor, Hofmann hardly fit the stereotype: she was a white, well-educated, straight divorcée in a monogamous relationship.

Health: Bitten By the Bug

At least 20,000 Americans a year are afflicted with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by ticks. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the heart, joints and nervous system.

Microchips: Fido Once Was Lost, But Now He's Found

A few weeks ago Chelsea, a cavalier King Charles spaniel, escaped from her home. A Wayne, N.J., animal-control officer waved a scanner over a micro-chip embedded in the skin between Chelsea's shoulders--and looked up the address that matched her ID number. "Within minutes they were able to reunite her with us," says her owner, Robert Gordon, a vet who routinely inserts microchips into pets.Microchips aren't new--the technology's been around for two decades--but they've been slow to catch on in...

Books: The Choice Is Yours

You're a high-school sophomore who's moved to a new school. Should you hang out with the cool kids--or is that not your scene? What should you wear? What's more embarrassing: riding the bus to school or having Dad drive you?

Pets: What Big Teeth ...

Every year, 4.7 million people--mostly children--are bitten by dogs, and 150,000 of them are rushed to emergency rooms. With National Dog Bite Prevention Week coming up, here's how to stay safe and scar-free:Teach your kids never to approach an unfamiliar pooch, says Dr.

Libraries: Graphic-Novel Idea

A half century ago, psychologist Frederic Wertham testified to Congress that comic books contributed to juvenile delinquency. "Comics were thought to rot your brain," says David Saylor, creative director of Scholastic Trade Books.

Viagra: Not Just for Dad

Aging boomers aren't the only ones using Viagra--college men are, too. In a new anonymous survey of 234 sexually active male students at three college campuses, researchers at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago found that 6 percent have used erectile-dysfunction medications.

The War on HPV

Amelia Togba-Addy, a nurse at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, had always been in good health. But last October her gynecologist called with disturbing news: Togba-Addy's latest Pap smear showed abnormal cells on her cervix.

Gender Equality

Lauren Kennedy was only 9 years old when she snuck her first sip of her dad's whiskey. At 12, she started drinking margaritas with friends. Two years later, she drank so much hard alcohol at a friend's house that she passed out.

The War on HPV

Amelia Togba-Addy, a nurse at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, had always been in good health. But last October her gynecologist called with disturbing news: Togba-Addy's latest Pap smear showed abnormal cells on her cervix.

Fashion: Corn Clothes

Corn on the ... bod? This week, at the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Chicago, Ford fashion models will strut down a catwalk in dresses by designers like Oscar de la Renta made of fabric produced from corn kernels.

This Week Online

Harvard doctor and author, "the denial of aging": What we need to do is to recognize that we can't necessarily prevent some degree of disability or frailty in old age.

The Good Life

With temperatures--as well as the price of public transport--on the rise, it's the perfect time to leave your car at home and take a scooter to work. For Andy Church of London, the advantages include easy (and often free) parking, no congestion charge and a quicker commute. "And besides a push-pedal bike," he adds, "it's the greenest way of getting round." And they are just plain cool.

Case Study

Published in The New England Journal of Medicine; led by A. John Rush at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. KEY FINDING: About half the patients who take antidepressants for depression do not get better after initial treatment and should try a different medication.While the study does raise questions about the effectiveness of treatments, don't give up right away.

Sports: A Safety Course

With spring officially starting this week, golfers are gearing up for the green. And injuries. Every year, more than 100,000 get hurt on the course. We asked health experts for advice.