Health & Medicine

Stephen Menendian Structural racism in Flint, Michigan

On Jan. 16, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan.[i]  It was not because of a tornado or hurricane, flooding or landslides, as was the case in South Carolina or Mississippi a few weeks before, or any other natural disaster.[ii]  Rather, it … More >

Claude Fischer A history of health and health inequalities

The increasing delay of death for Americans over the last century or so has been extensive and consequential, probably in many profound ways that we do not fully appreciate. In the late 19th century, a newborn white boy would be expected to live, on average, to about 40; now, such … More >

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 >

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