The Science of Healthy Living

When it comes to health, we’re not living in the age of Too Much Information so much as the age of Not Quite Enough. Medical science has generated vast amounts of data and laypeople have more access to it than ever before. Look closely at that data, though, and it starts to seem disturbingly incomplete. We scoured the studies to find out exactly what you need at every age.

Healthy Living from 65 On

The longer the human lifespan stretches, the more doctors understand about staying healthy and vibrant into the senior years. What you need to know to make sure that you live long and live well.

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

Is there anyone who could resist a book about sex, food, art, and fun? Didn’t think so. This book is about all those things, but what turns it from a guilty pleasure into a guiltless one is its deep understanding of philosophy, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory. Yes, it’s a science book, and a brainy one at that. But look! There’s an index entry for Jennifer Aniston! So don’t be scared

No Sex, Please, We’re Soccer Players

There's nothing hotter than a sweaty, well-muscled athlete, unless he's fresh off play at the World Cup and happens to be from Britain or Ghana. The only scoring those guys will be doing in the next month is on the field. Their countries reportedly have banned them from sex while they're playing in the tournament, for fear that they'll waste themselves on the wrong kind of action.

FDA Director on Cracking Down on Do-It-Yourself Genome Tests

Fresh off sending stern letters to five consumer-genomics companies indicating that, as currently marketed, the companies’ tests will require clearance by the FDA, Alberto Gutierrez—the agency’s director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health—spoke to NEWSWEEK.

Personal Genomics Tests to Face Regulation

The FDA has sent letters to five personal genomics companies outlining its intentions for regulation of direct-to-consumer tests, and if 23andMe thought it was having a bad week before, it's sure not going to be happy now.
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How the Web Affects Your Brain

The "Google makes us stoopid" argument is a perennial of modern life, and right now, it's in season. The most thorough take on the topic is Nicholas Carr’s new book, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," but anyone who's been spending a lot of time surfing is probably going to be so distracted by e-mails and Facebook, etc., that he won't be able to finish the book.

'Autism Doctor' Loses His Medical License

Andrew Wakefield, the sham scientist whose now-retracted 1998 paper led millions of parents to believe in a link between autism and the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, has just lost his license to practice medicine in Britain. This sounds like an important development, but Wakefield doesn't think so. On the "Today Show" this morning, he described it as "a little bump in the road." ...

Should Sex Offenders Be Jailed Indefinitely?

On Monday, the Supreme Court released two important decisions about the prison system: one ruling that juveniles can’t receive life sentences for crimes other than murder and another that the federal government is allowed to hold sex offenders in custody indefinitely, even after they have completed their sentences.

Why Don't More Medical Discoveries Become Cures?

From 1996 to 1999, the U.S. food and Drug Administration approved 157 new drugs. In the comparable period a decade later—that is, from 2006 to 2009—the agency approved 74. Not among them were any cures, or even meaningfully effective treatments, for Alzheimer’s disease, lung or pancreatic cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, or a host of other afflictions that destroy lives.

Your Genetic Profile, Now Available in Aisle 10: What's the Big Deal About Pathway, the New Take-Home DNA Test?

Attention, Walgreens shoppers, The Washington Post wants you to know about a new product going on sale:Beginning Friday, shoppers in search of toothpaste, deodorant and laxatives at more than 6,000 drugstores across the nation will be able to pick up something new: a test to scan their genes for a propensity for Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments … For those thinking of starting a family, it could alert them to their risk of having a baby with cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs and other genetic disorders. The test also promises users insights into how caffeine, cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood thinners might affect them.If this test sounds familiar, it should: It’s little different than a number of others that have been available for years. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests for genes linked to common diseases hit the market with fanfare in 2007. Carrier testing, “for those thinking of starting a family,” has an even longer history; doctors have been assessing...

For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage

Tara Parker-Pope, author of The New York Times’s Well blog, has gone beyond the weepy and weary self-help marriage tomes and written a trustworthy guide to fixing (or tweaking) your marriage. And there are lots of sex stats, too

A New Reason Not to Teach Evolution to Kids: It's 'Philosophically Unsatisfactory'

Here is a vignette from a small newspaper  that will sound familiar to Southerners like me who were taught creationism in school:Mark Tangarone, who teaches third, fourth, and fifth grade students in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at Weston Intermediate School, said he is retiring at the end of the current school year because of a clash with the school administration over the teaching of evolution . . . In an e-mail to Mr. Tangarone dated Sept. 8, 2008, [the school superintendent] rejected the basic program, citing for the most part the teaching of evolution: "While evolution is a robust scientific theory, it is a philosophically unsatisfactory explanation for the diversity of life. I could anticipate that a number of our parents might object to this topic as part of a TAG project . . . The TAG topics need to be altered this year to eliminate the teaching of Darwin's work and the theory of evolution." And here is something that makes this story a bit less...

Most Women Stop Breast-feeding by Six Months. Whose Fault Is That?

 Oh, bouncing baby boy, here comes the next round in the never-ending slugfest over the health benefits of breast-feeding: The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women breast-fed their babies for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says ... The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding may help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and even childhood leukemia. That's according to an AP article, covering a new study just released by the journal Pediatrics. I bet a lot of bottle-feeding mothers are going to read that paragraph, sigh, and think: “Great. Now I’m being blamed for billions of dollars in health-care costs and 900 dead babies.”The AP writer must have anticipated such a reaction, because she goes on to quote not one but two...