Health & Medicine

Malcolm Potts Special guest lecture: ‘Is a sustainable global economy possible?’

Like every university, UC Berkeley is home to an intellectual chasm that makes the Grand Canyon look like Strawberry Creek. Classical economists teach a world where economic growth is sacred, perpetual and always good. Those in the life sciences and some physical sciences, such as energy and astronomy, understand that our world … More >

Jeremy Adam Smith Does stress reduce empathy?

On Monday, the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center published a research brief, “How Anxiety Reduces Empathy,” that provoked some conversation and disagreement among readers.

“I thought empathy increases stress and anxiety,” wrote one person — especially, she believed, if we empathize with people in a bad situation that we don’t … More >

Malcolm Potts The road not taken: How the migrant crisis in Europe could have been ameliorated

I was visiting my family in Kent in southeast England. I rounded a bend and there was a queue of cars and trucks. Obviously an accident. I bumped over the median, read my map, and found another route. Another vehicle queue as far as I could see.

Another accident? No. This was … More >

Paul Gertler Good science gone wrong?

Most scientists want to tell the truth. We want to help people by answering important questions, and sharing what we learn. But the research endeavor is big and messy. And as we’ve learned from the climate change and HIV/AIDS debates, there will always be folks who favor controversy, dogma, and … More >

Malcolm Potts The Honeymoon Mutation

I have been both a practicing obstetrician and a research embryologist. The more I learn about human the evolution of human sexuality the more fascinating it becomes. In a recent study in Science magazine, Stanford scientist Rajiv McCoy and colleagues[i] found evidence of a mutation that may have become more common … More >

Bruce Newsome Unaccountability is bad for public health and democracy

The British Parliament’s Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has reported that the authorities for investigating healthcare failures in Britain are too numerous and unaccountable.

I am pleased that at least one committee has criticized the structure of British healthcare, but the PASC airily follows all previous inquiries by recommending a lot … More >

John Swartzberg Can you trust health news?

Reporting health news isn’t easy, especially when journalists have short deadlines and limited space to parse research that’s frequently complex, nuanced, and laced with caveats. On top of that, there’s often the temptation — for scientists, press offices, and reporters — to oversimplify and oversell research findings to get more … More >

John Swartzberg Six things to know about measles

Q. I thought measles was all but eradicated in the United States. Why is it back?

A. There are two main reasons. First, though significant progress has been made in reducing global measles incidence, there is still substantial circulation of the virus in other countries. Unvaccinated U.S. residents who travel to … More >

Malcolm Potts Let’s stop killing 26,000 African women each year

January 21 is the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, striking down restrictive abortion laws across the US.  At the time I was the Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London. I still remember a surprised phone call from New York. My friends and … More >

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