Pat Wingert

Probiotics: Panacea or Just a 'Big Fad'?

Could something as simple as a probiotic drink stop a colicky baby from crying so much? What about reports that probiotics started during pregnancy can prevent babies from developing asthma?

Why Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks Are So Risky

"Blackout in a can." That's what kids call the fruity caffeinated-alcohol drinks that offer a cheap, fast way to get drunk and party all night. As safety concerns grow, so does the pressure to pull these potent products from store shelves.

Why Kids Pick Some Treats Over Others

Every year as Halloween approaches, the kids in my neighborhood become fixated on one house, the one owned by the fireman who always hands out full-size candy bars. After years of being dissed for the "fun-size" bars I deliver ("Mom, smaller candy bars are not more 'fun.' "), last year, I decided to earn a little respect by going upmarket.

The Biggest Questions About HRT Answered

Almost no topic in modern medicine has been as controversial or confusing as hormone-replacement therapy. The issue got even more confusing last week thanks to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and based on data collected for the ongoing federal Women's Health Initiative (WHI) that found that women taking estrogen and progesterin had an increased risk of breast cancer. Here, the answers to the eight questions asked most often.

What's Michelle Rhee's Next Mission?

What's next for Michelle Rhee? The combative Washington, D.C., schools chancellor resigned last week following September's primary defeat of her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty. "Not being in this role is heartbreaking," she said. But, she tells NEWSWEEK, "everyone in the city needs to embrace reform, and that couldn't happen while I am in the picture." This does not mean, however, that she's done working on the issue.

What Makes a Family? More Americans Say Gays Count

The idea that gay couples who are married or have children qualify as "families" has rapidly become the majority view in the U.S., and researchers credit public discussions about gay marriage—by supporters as well as vehement opponents—for the unexpectedly fast pace of change.

Obama Calls for a Longer School Year

American schoolkids attend school for fewer days than children in other educationally advanced countries, a situation President Obama said Monday needs to change. "I think we should have a longer school year," Obama said in response to a question from the "Today" show's Matt Lauer during a White House interview that kicked off the network's weeklong "Education Nation" focus on American schools.

Why Arne Duncan Wants Michelle Rhee to Stay

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday that he is actively reaching out to D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and presumptive mayor Vincent Gray in an attempt to work out a deal to keep Rhee in her job.

Does Fenty's Defeat Mean Rhee's Exit?

Hard-charging reformer and Washington Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is in danger of losing her job with the primary defeat of Mayor Adrian Fenty, who gave her free rein to overhaul the city's dismal schools.

Women Earn More Doctorates Than Men

A new enrollment study confirms that American women are now earning more doctoral degrees than men. But at the same time, a survey of women competing for tenure-track positions finds that many describe their workplaces as far from family-friendly.

Results in National School-Reform Contest Spark Complaints

While celebrations occurred in Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio after the 10 were named winners of round two of the administration's national education-reform competition, controversy was mounting over some of the more surprising winners and losers.

Best and Worst Cities for School Reform

If you think about the cities best known for education reform, a few always come to mind: New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. But sometimes reputations outlast reality, and stars in the making don't get the recognition they deserve.

L.A. Times Ranks City Teachers by Effectiveness

Do parents have the right to know which of their kids' teachers are the most and least effective? That's the controversy roaring in California this week with the publication of a Los Angeles Times investigative series.

Avoiding Breast-Cancer Mistakes

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the precursor to breast cancer, is identified much more often today, thanks to advances in imaging technology. But getting this diagnosis exactly right remains difficult.

Should Seniority Count in Teacher Layoffs?

Education reformers were feeling optimistic. With President Obama's Race to the Top competition, which offers financial rewards to states willing to hold teachers accountable for their students' performance, they've made real progress in weeding out poor teachers.

Teachers' Union Anger Mounts for an Administration It Helped to Elect

The theme of this year's national teachers' union conventions was anger, particularly at President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and reformers in general. But American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten's decision to emphasize collaboration rather than opposition to reform efforts could well boost her national image as the union leader the administration can work with.

Healthy Living From 13 to 18

Health tips to help teenagers survive growing pains on their way to adulthood, and a look at the controversy over mental illness in developing brains.

Healthy Living From 50 to 65

The new midpoint? Prepare for many more productive years by ensuring you get the tests you need (and skipping the ones you don't). Plus: better bones through chemistry?

Breaking the Teacher Unions' Monopoly

As a result of a revolutionary new contract, teachers in who are rated incompetent can be fired immediately—a practice common in industry but unheard of in American public schools.