Mary Carmichael

THE RIGHT TIME FOR A CURE

For diseases ranging from asthma and arthritis to cancer, the cure may be all in the timing. Until recently, most Western docs didn't think it particularly mattered when patients took their drugs, as long as they took them.

HEALTH: A WIN-NING FORMULA?

For a type of germ most often described as "common," the rhinovirus is a thing of ingenious design, a bug with a thousand ever-mutating faces. If you're unlucky enough to have a rhinovirus in your body, you might have a few more choice descriptions, too: it's the cause of most colds.

SHOPPING THE PYRAMID

If the USDA thought it had a winner with its flashy new food pyramid and Web site, it certainly had some early evidence. In its first 24 hours, MyPyramid.gov received 48 million hits--enough traffic to temporarily crash the site, as eager users checked out the formula, which can be customized according to age, gender and activity level.

THE TSUNAMI THREAT

It was late on the morning of April 1, 1946, and on the island of Hawaii, children from the school at Laupahoehoe Point were the first to see the Pacific Ocean disappear.

STIRRING UP SCIENCE

If it's true that intelligent people never get bored, 14-year-old Shannon McClintock ought to be thrilled every minute she's awake. In October her science skills won the top prize at the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.

THE QUEST FOR MEMORY DRUGS

To say that aplysia californicus is one of nature's least glamorous beasts would be too kind. A hermaphroditic marine snail with mottled purple skin, it keeps to itself, responding to disturbances by emitting a murky fluid that stains the water around it.

PHYSICS: DOSE OF 'REALITY'

If you're one of the thousands of people who bought Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" in 1988 and then let it gather dust as it sat on the coffee table impressing your visitors, better clear some space.

VISION: GETTING A GOOD LOOK

Ask anyone with bifocals: doctors can't give patients older than 45 perfect vision. In middle age, the lens loses elasticity. But the muscles operating it, allowing younger people to change focus automatically, work long past then.

Cut Stress--Cut Sugar

Compared with other methods of managing diabetes--strict diets, insulin injections, vigilant blood-sugar monitoring--Richard Surwit's technique seems too easy to be true.

SUNFLOWER POWER?

America may still depend on foreign oil for energy, but if blue-sky scientists have their way, in the future it will rely on ecofriendly domestic fuels--like plankton, sunflowers, gold or bananas, which may not be a major U.S. crop but at least are grown in this hemisphere.

TRANSITION

FRANCIS CRICK, 88 Crick's life, like the strands of DNA whose structure he helped discover, was entwined with its opposite--where Francis Crick was private, James Watson was gregarious.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Stress, colds, sleep deprivation, trouble with family and friends, trouble with "more than friends," depression, Internet addiction, sinus infections, deaths in the family, alcohol--according to the National College Health Assessment, if you're an undergraduate or about to be one, these are the top 10 things you think will keep you from getting straight A's next year.

DRIVING KIDS FROM DRINK

Anyone who's taken high-school health class has seen it: the filmstrip with graphic footage of drunken-driving wrecks. For years anyone who went to college viewed it there, too.

IN THE NEWS: HOW LOW CAN IT GO?

Americans have a cholesterol problem, and we know it. But some who hoped they were in the clear may have gotten a shock last week when the National Cholesterol Education Program drastically lowered its LDL, or "bad cholesterol" guidelines.

PSST. NEED A JOLT?

Sudden cardiac arrest kills 930 people every day, mostly in their own homes. Using a defibrillator and CPR in the first five minutes can quadruple one's chances of survival.

International Periscope

TURKEY Ankara: Now or Never As momentum builds behind Turkey's bid to join the EU, the stakes on both sides are rising. Ankara hopes to get a date for the start of accession talks at December's EU summit.

No Fries, Please

The first thing Dr. Stuart Trager wants you to know about the Atkins Youth Initiative is that it is not, repeat, not an attempt to starve America's children of carbohydrates, much less give them an excuse to eat nothing but bunless bacon cheeseburgers.

HEALTH: HELPING DEPRESSED KIDS

It was a news story certain to stoke public fears. Last week the FDA announced that antidepressants, the very drugs that were supposed to lift patients out of emotional danger, might cause some of them to worsen and even turn suicidal in the first few weeks of therapy.

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