Students vs. obesity in Santa Paula CA

Let me belatedly post the main story I have been at work on for the last six months or so, as part of a Reporting on Health fellowship, about obesity — and those battling it — in Santa Paula.  Turns out, appropriately, it's students and young adults who have taken up the fight. Not toContinue reading “Students vs. obesity in Santa Paula CA”

How to confuse the media and public: Butter ’em up

A few months ago the rapturous reporting of a new study on saturated fat caught my eye. Sounded too good to be true, and, well, long story short, that's exactly what it turned out to be. Here's the opening, from the USC Annenberg/California Endowment's Reporting on Health site: Time to jump on the bandwagon ofContinue reading “How to confuse the media and public: Butter ’em up”

Pain can lead to growth: Geoff Dyer (and the research)

Geoff Dyer writes so well it seems somehow demeaning to call him a critic, but that's how the world slots him, pretty much, and in books like "Out of Sheer Rage" — his admiring account of D.H. Lawrence's battles — he helps redefine the form.  At only 56, last week Dyer suffered a stroke, while livingContinue reading “Pain can lead to growth: Geoff Dyer (and the research)”

A Tale of Two Towns: Can a federal grant make a real change for the poor in Ventura County? | Reporting on Health

For an upcoming fellowship in health reporting at USC's journalism school, I'm working on a couple of long-form stories. This is the first of them — a look at how a federal grant aims to balance the scales of health for poor people in Ventura County. Hope it's of interest.  A Tale of Two Towns:Continue reading “A Tale of Two Towns: Can a federal grant make a real change for the poor in Ventura County? | Reporting on Health”

A dirty secret — cauliflower w/pine nuts and anchovies

A couple of years ago Judith Thurman had a great piece in The New Yorker about pine nuts (sadly still not available to non-subscribers). She off-handedly included a great cauliflower recipe with a dirty secret. (Here's Gustiamo's version of that recipe.) She says the dirty secret is pine nuts: I say it's anchovies.  Regardless —Continue reading “A dirty secret — cauliflower w/pine nuts and anchovies”

Why you don’t want to be drinking cyanobacteria: ALS

This story by a writing mentor, Wendee Nicole, just won a best science story of the year award from the Society of Journalists and Authors. It's horrifying (but fascinating too) to think that a bacteria could be paralyzing people, or giving them Alzheimer's, and the revelation of that story; well, it's jaw-dropping. A small sample:Continue reading “Why you don’t want to be drinking cyanobacteria: ALS”

Who needs sleep? Insomnia cookies available now!

From Pacific Standard comes the news that insomnia cookies — aka, a wonder drug called Modafinil, is available that will make sleep all but unnecessary. An hour or two a night will be plenty, it is said. No problems.  The past week has seen a flurry ofattention around the latest purported wonder drug, Modafinil, which claims to makeContinue reading “Who needs sleep? Insomnia cookies available now!”

Coffee is good for you: New England Journal of Medicine

Unbelieveably unpuritanical but factual. Here's the first sentence of the conclusion of a study of 617k participants, published in our leading medical journal, and written in (of course) the driest possible prose:  In this large, prospective U.S. cohort study, we observed a dose-dependent inverse association between coffee drinking and total mortality, after adjusting for potentialContinue reading “Coffee is good for you: New England Journal of Medicine”

Why can’t we think practically about sleep?

Researchers want to know:  One finding that might be surprising, given how much time we spend in our beds: Men and women don’t seem to give any consideration to sleep patterns when choosing a mate.  Random thought: Why do we say "sleep like a baby?"    Sleep like a dog is more like it…