Mary Carmichael

Health: Dial-Up Doctor

The next time your family physician tells you to take two aspirin and call him in the morning, he might not be kidding. A new study from Kaiser Permanente shows that urinary-tract infections, which account for more than 8 million doctor's visits each year, can be managed just as easily over the telephone.

Far From Home

Every year, hundreds of thousands of foreign students set off for the States in pursuit of an American diploma. Most come to study the sciences. And their numbers keep growing; the Institute of International Education reports that a record 582,996 foreign students enrolled in U.S. universities last school year.

Health: Take Your Vitamin B

If you are a woman of childbearing age--even if you're not planning on having a baby soon--tear out this headline and stick it on the fridge. For years, doctors have been telling young women to take 400 micrograms daily of folic acid (vitamin B9), which comes in many multivitamins and can prevent spina bifida and neural-tube defects in babies.

Health: Mercury Menace?

For years the FDA has warned pregnant women about mercury, the defect-causing pollutant that builds up in fish--and the women have responded. Last Thursday, a survey reported that expectant mothers have eaten 1.4 fewer servings of fish per month since the FDA launched its anti-mercury campaign.

Health: Chemical Wowie

In print, David Sinclair comes off as a mild-mannered Harvard pathologist given to discussions of "small molecules" and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. On the phone, though, he's a bit more...

Animal Emotions

Pet Owners Have Long Believed Their Companions Love Them Back. Scientists Once Scoffed, But Now They're Coming Around.


It's been more than a year since a study linked hormone-replacement therapy to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease--and sent millions of women into a panic.

Animal Emotions

Everyone who's ever owned a pet has at least one story (usually many, actually) of an animal that seems just as emotional as any human. Take Ruth Osment, who says her two cats, Penny and Jo, feel sorry for her when she cries--running to her and drying her tears with their fur.

West Nile: On The Move

Last August, as the West Nile virus went on a 44-state, 284-person killing spree, Vicki Kramer found herself troubled by a single case. In California, where Kramer is the state's point person on mosquito-borne disease, the virus hadn't shown up in surveillance of birds or insects.

A New Face From Africa

To Michelangelo, eve was a lovely brunette; to Rodin, a voluptuous temptress. To scientists, the matriarch's face has been more elusive. In 1987 geneticists suspected that a 160,000-year-old "African Eve" of sorts was the last common ancestor of modern humans, "but without data from the fossil record, no one knew what she looked like," says University of California, Berkeley, paleontologist Tim White.Now we do.

Medicine For The Masses

There are 30,000 scientific journals in the world, and most of them are unreadable. Do we really need another? Yes, yes, yes, at least in the case of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Ask Tip Sheet

How does sunscreen work? -JAMIE REED, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA.That depends on which kind you're using. Basic sunscreen contains chemicals that absorb the energy in ultraviolet rays, then emit it back as lower-frequency heat waves.

Fifty Years Of Conquering Everest

Fifty years ago this week, Sir Edmund Hillary went to Nepal on a mission to what was left of the unexplored world. Last Friday he returned. Flown to Katmandu for the anniversary festivities after spending a week with the family of Tenzing Norgay, his partner in conquest, an exhausted Hillary was wrapped in a blanket and spirited away from the 200-some Sherpas, admirers and reporters awaiting him at the airport.

Baby Food (For Mom)

It's a safe bet that Dr. David Barker has never craved pickles and ice cream. Still, if there's one man in the world who understands the peculiar dietary needs of pregnant women, it's him.

Help From Far Away

There isn't a soul in America who's more all-American than Alex. A bright, chatty college graduate, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and basketball.


Trade: Happy TogetherAmericans have taken sledgehammers to Peugeots. Germans have boycotted McDonald's. The Iraq war may be over, but the transatlantic rancor it inspired has yet to fade.

Economies On Empty

By now, everyone knows the early signs of SARS are high fever and a dry cough. But there's a second set of symptoms: canceled business trips, the collapse of tourism and falling stock prices.

The Fat Factor

Last year the American Cancer Society asked people to list strategies for preventing cancer. Only 1 percent said "lose weight." Let's hope the other 99 percent heard last week's news.

Calls That Follow You Anywhere

It's one of the most maddening features of all the technology in our lives. There are so many gadgets to connect us--cell phones, e-mail, land-line phones--yet most of the gadgets aren't connected to each other.Verizon's answer is the new Digital Companion service, which marries Caller ID, Call Forwarding and the Web.

Calls That Follow You Anywhere

It's one of the most maddening features of all the technology in our lives. There are so many gadgets to connect us—cell phones, e-mail, land-line phones—yet most of the gadgets aren't connected to each other.VERIZON'S ANSWER IS THE NEW Digital Companion service, which marries Caller ID, Call Forwarding and the Web.

In Sync

Steven Strogatz has just written a book arguing that the universe is an orderly place marked by harmony and cooperation. In an era of war, terror and chaos, his viewpoint sounds a bit curious.

Health: Botox's Bad Side

Nine months after its rollout across the United States, Botox is making headlines again--and this time the news ain't pretty. Sure, Botox gets rid of those lines between your brows.