By The Numbers: The Truth Behind Those Scary Diet-Soda Myths

What is it about diet soda that seems so naughty? Maybe it\'s because enjoying something without any calories leads people to feel like they\'re going to have to pay one way or another-if not with their waistline now, then with ambiguous bad health later (a tumor? osteoporosis?). Maybe it\'s because it takes an already unnatural beverage-there\'s no such thing as a soda tree-and fills it with even more foreign substances. Either way, people often have a complex, love-hate relationship with diet...

The Consult: The Pros and Cons of Long Life, and Other News From the Web.

The Benefits of Aging Besides a bigger bank account, better insurance, and crazy dinner specials if you go before 6, the elderly have another added perk: immunity to the "swine flu" (sorry: H1N1) virus. Researchers found that one third of people over sixty have antibodies that protect them from H1N1, which they hope will aid in developing a vaccine. (Washington Post)...And The Drawbacks "Dowager's Hump" may predict early death in elderly women. Can we address what a horrible term...

Before and After: Both Sides of Face Transplant Surgery

The morning links are coming up in a second, but I wanted to give this it's own post: The nation's second face transplant recipient went public yesterday.  James Maki, the first American man to receive the procedure, was disfigured four years ago in an electrical accident. The boston.com article about the transplant features a gallery with some pretty shocking photos—the accident left Maki without any nose to speak of, just a hole on his face.  It appears that the surgeons at...

The Consult: High Competition at the 2010 Olympic Games, And Other News From Around the Web

Olympic Buzz The Toronto Star asks if the torch designed for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver looks like a marijuana cigarette.  The Stranger's David Schmader thinks it more closely resembles "a pregnancy test that reveals you're having Satan's baby." It reminds me of either an orange-peeling tool that I have in my kitchen but never use, or a fancy new razor that singes off hair in lieu of using blades. Your thoughts?   (Slog) Fossil Finds Just what I need before...

The Consult: Swine Flu Statistics, Street-Legal Swim Suits, and Other News From the Web

Will Fast Suits Sink Swimmers? The international swimming federation has banned 146 types of high-performance racing suits from amateur competition: 10 suits were rejected outright, while 136, if modified within 30 days, will be reconsidered for approval. The suits improve buoyancy and reduce drag, leading to faster times - times that some officials think give competitors an unfair advantage. "There are some athletes that probably have fooled themselves that they are swimming faster, that it\'s...

When the "Best Interest" Isn't Good Enough: Daniel Hauser and Medical Ethics

Last week, life was complicated enough for poor Daniel Hauser.  He was a 13-year old kid with Hodginks Lymphoma, stuck at the center of a heated court case. At issue: could his parents refuse chemotherapy and radiation in favor of nutritional supplements? Now he's still all those things, plus a hostage—or a fugitive, depending on how much autonomy one gives a sick teenager. Either way, Daniel Hauser is dealing with a lot more stress then your average 13-year-old cancer patient should...

New Gene Linked to Autism Discovered: What Are the Consequences?

Scientists are getting ever closer to determining autism's genetic roots. Today on Newswise.com, UCLA researchers announced a new discovery in that quest: a variant of a gene called CACNA1G, which may increase a child\'s risk of developing autism, particularly in boys. What could read like a very small, specialized discovery—there's a lot of room for speculation in that "may"—is a source of both hope and consternation for autism activists, as Claudia Kalb writes in this...

The Consult: Prehistoric Fetish Objects and Patriarchial Cigarettes

Mein Liebling: German scientists may have uncovered the first representation of modern woman, and they're pretty sure it's a sex toy. The figure - what the novelist Tom Harris might call "a woman and a half in every direction" - rocks some serious curves, and is thought to have been carved over 35,000 years ago. Pros: a testament to beauty and sex appeal in women of all sizes, throughout time. Cons: It's been over 35,000 years of women as porn objects. I need coffee.  (BBC) The...

A Gift From The Heart: Donating Used Pacemakers

A pacemaker helps helps a beating heart - but once that heart stops due to other reasons, what becomes of the pacemaker? Researchers estimate about 45 percent of pacemakers are removed before burial - either due to family request or because of the dangers during creamation (they can explode - who knew?) With an estimate 1.5 million Americans currently using pacemakers, that means there's a whole lot of viable devices being retired before their time. Enter Timir Baman, a cardiac fellow at...

What's Inside The New NEWSWEEK: Autism Ends and Eternal Life Begins?

I am holding in my hot little hands the first issue of the new NEWSWEEK, and dig it before I even start reading. It seems like the trend in most magazines is to get thinner, both in content and page stock. (Times are tough all over.)  This issue is thick and heavy and printed on a high quality, glossy paper, which makes the reading that much more pleasurable (and less likely that my thighs turn into an ink-stained mess when I take the magazine to the beach this weekend).But what is it they...

The Consult: In-Group Role Models in Action, and other news from the web.

ALS, The FDA, and a Ticking Clock: ALS is a horrible disease: it promises a slow, undignified death with no real treatment options, but lots of false, straggling hopes that don't pan out in the end. The New York Times has a heartbreaking story about one family's fight to gain access to a drug that might - might - provide their son some relief. First the have to cut through corporate red tape, then government bureaucracy, then doctors reluctant to work with experimental treatments....

OMG! Grey's Anatomy Finale Mystery SOLVED!

Last night, about 11 minutes into the season finale of  ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," the Chief surprises Dr. Bailey with a DaVinci Surgical System. In an effort to keep her from decamping from general surgery to pediatric surgery, he tempts her with the chance to perform a cutting-edge procedure. "You know, Doctor Chalikonda at Cleveland Clinic is doing single incision gallbladder removal through the belly button," he says. "Why should Dr. Chalikonda have all the fun?"If you're...

The Consult: Stings, Czars, and Free Viagra

When Animals Attack ABC takes an in-depth look at the worst animal bites and sting -- including a creature called a Tarrantula Hawk Wasp, which isn't so much a name as a list of scary animals. The article does a great job of describing the horrible pain caused by animals you didn't even know existed. For instance, did you know that a bite from something called the bullet ant feels like,  "pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch rusty...

Double X Takes On Kate Gosselin's Hair

Yesterday, the gang at Slate launched a new website,  Double X,  described as, "mostly by women but not just for women." The online magazine-sized version of Slate's incredibly popular XX Blog is already full of thoughtful and entertaining content: discussions on the state of modern feminism (or, conversely, why modern feminism can suck it), astonishment at the mystery that is "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" star Kate Gosselin's hair, and a fantastic essay by blogger Marie Myung-Ok Lee,...

The Five Worst Gym Machines: Top Trainers Tell What Doesn't Work

When it comes to the pursuit of a better body, image isn\'t everything. That\'s because the shiny, intimidating, powerful-looking machines cluttering up your gym floor aren\'t nearly as good a workout as the one you can get with some dumbbells, your own body weight and a mat. \"Machines are eventually going to be obsolete in major gyms,\" says Patrick Murphy, an L.A.-based celebrity trainer. That\'s because while your body is built to use lots of muscles in lots of ways, most machines isolate...

Taco Town: A Meditation

Raina Kelley, who will soon be making her first blog post on the Human Condition, wonders:  Are Pizza Hut and Domino's in a race to give the most Americans heart attacks?  In a response to Pizza Hut's new pasta bakes, Domino's has come out with baked pasta in bread bowls.  A serving of Pizza Hut pasta plus one piece of garlic bread averages about 1000 calories (over 400 calories from fat) while Domino's entry into the pasta market is about 700 calories per serving with an...

The Consult: The Soft Bigotry of Camel Lights, and Other News From The Web.

Another Reason to Hate Cigarettes. They're kind of racist. The darker your coloring, the more likely you succeptible to smoking addiction. That's what Penn State researchers found when they studied the connection between melanin, responsible for skin and hair pigmentation, and nicotine dependency in African Americans. Scientists already knew that nicotine liked to bind with melanin on a cellular level; this study shows that darker skin color is also related to the amount of cigarettes...

More Accolades for NEWSWEEK Health Journalists

This has been a fantastic week to start blogging - my co-workers keep winning awards for their work, which means I have lots of excuses to link back to great content. On Monday, it was Dina Fine Maron's piece on mental illness getting all the attention. Now, reporter staff writer Jessica Bennett, senior video producer Jennifer Molina, and senior writer Mary Carmichael are all raking in recognition from the Newswomen's Club of New York. Bennett and Molina won the Front Page Award in the online...

Can Biggest Losers Stay Thin? We Ask Trainer Bob Harper

    Break out the Kleenex and the cookie dough. Tonight is NBC\'s  weight loss reality show mega-hit The Biggest Loser\'s seventh season finale, which means three hours of jaw-dropping transformations, tear-inducing montages, and Jenny-O turkey product placement (plus about 90 minutes of filler). To commemorate the occasion, NEWSWEEK\'s Kate Dailey sat down with Bob Harper, one of the trainers charged with getting Biggest Loser contestants in shape—at least for the duration of...

Public Feedings: The Strange Food Confessionals Inspired By "The Biggest Loser"

Has anyone else noticed a strange phenomenon on Tuesday nights, right around the time NBC's "The Biggest Loser" airs? It seems like a noticeable amount of my friends and family start running to their computers to post about what it is they're eating-- or planning to eat-- while watching the show. For some reason, two hours of weigh-loss-focused reality television seems to encourage a kind of public feeding. And despite the copious and heavy-handed product placement on the show,...

Farrah's Fight

There's no such thing as a "fun" cancer. But anal cancer has got to be one of the worst in terms of ravaging the body, robbing one of dignity, and making life all-around uncomfortable. That's why it was so sad to learn that Farrah Fawcett is in the final stages of her battle against anal cancer. News reports indicate that she's declined to continue fighting the disease through aggressive medical treatment, and is instead seeking comfort and (relative) peace in the days to come....

A Fine Reporter

It's a pleasure to report that the National Alliance on Mental Illness has awarded Dina Fine Maron, a NEWSWEEK intern, their 2009 Outstanding Media Award for News Reporting. Maron, a 2008 graduate of Brandeis University,  won for "TV's Split Personality," her insightful piece detailing how mental illnesses are portrayed in pop culture. We could go on and on about how much we like this article - it embodied the spirit of Human Condition  before Human Condition even existed - but...

The Best Diet Is No Diet: Fat Acceptance Authors Weigh In

  After years of battling the bulge, conquering cravings, fighting fat, and waging war on weight gain, Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby were tired of the struggle. "Think about the language of dieting," says Kirby. "All of these things set you up as a disconnected being, as an enemy of your physical body." Both Harding, founder of the blog Shapely Prose, and Kirby, who created The Rotund blog know that life's too short to worry about weight (yours or the person sitting next to you on the...

Surviving a Layoff: You Kept Your Job. Now Keep Sane.

Survive the latest round of layoffs? Congratulations! Unlike your previous co-workers, you have both a job and higher rates of depression, more psychosomatic illnesses like headaches, ulcers and insomnia, and a nasty case of survivor's guilt. You've got more work and fewer co-workers, as well as the lingering suspicion that you might be next. "The anticipation of something is often worst than finding out you've been laid off," says Leon Grunberg, professor of comparative...

The Consult

Your morning health highlights from around the Web: Polio Personnel:  As polio survivors age, they face new complications - but the doctors who understand the complexities of the disease are aging, too. (NPR)A Malignant Growth:  One third of major cancer studies have a conflict of interest; researchers say the ways studies are funded and organized need to be re-evaluated. (MSN)Swine Flu Still Squealing The H1N1 virus hits China. In the US, there have been 2500 cases and three deaths....

Manga Publishers Look to Hollywood

Japan's newly elected prime minister, Taro Aso, is mad for manga, the comic books that embody Japanese pop-culture cool. Analysts say Aso's been playing up his passion in order to woo young voters. Bad news for Aso then that manga sales in Japan are down for the first time in 12 years, indicating waning interest.A decade ago, manga was a surefire cash cow for Japanese publishing houses. But as consumers turn increasingly to the Internet and mobile phones for entertainment, manga publishers are...

European Films Find Less American Distribution

Global forces are trapping Americans at home this summer, and those who hope to escape in foreign films are out of luck, too. The same reasons that have Americans taking "staycations"—high gas prices and a weak dollar—are also making it difficult to acquire and distribute European movies. The 14 percent fall in the greenback since last August has taken much of the appeal out of American bids for film rights. "Typical minimum guarantees begin to look sort of measly for foreign sales agents,...

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