I write about the ethics of giving placebos and wonder if it’s ever possible to give a placebo openly. Researchers in two recent studies claim they’ve found a way to use placebos without deception, but if you give someone an inert pill and tell them that it will work, have you truly eliminated deception? This piece explores the fine line between deception and good intentions.
The change in mammogram guidelines After a federal panel pulled back its recommendations for screenings, a debate continues to rage about the wisdom or risk of it.
The Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2011
Here, I write about the US Preventative Services Task Force breast cancer screening guidelines and explain why the Task Force recommended against routing mammography for women in their 40′s.
Despite the pink ribbon push, cancer deaths have dropped only slightly. And the focus on awareness may be pushing more women into treatment unnecessarily.
The Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2010
Convincing the Public to Accept New Medical Guidelines
In the age of “truthiness” it’s not the evidence, but the narrative that matters most.
Miller-McCune, April 20, 2010
This piece examines the pushback against evidence-based medicine and looks at the reasons why new evidence is sometimes dismissed or ignored. It all comes down to belief. I’m pretty sure this is the only time I’ll ever get a chance to quote David Bowie and Stephen Colbert in the same story.
Flying’s moral dilemma: Your family or your climate?
Mother Jones, May 2010
In 2009, I decided to give up my jet-setting ways and remain within 100 miles of my house. I thought I was narrowing my boundaries, but I ended up expanding my horizons. The project changed my life for the better. See also: Mother Jones blog and listen to KVNF radio’s Daniel Costello interview me about the story on the Chautauqua radio program.
Thanksgiving Turkey for the Soul
A small farmer’s first-person account of the reckoning: “I need to know my birds can resist.”
Mother Jones, Nov. 26, 2009
An essay about taking my turkeys to the butcher.
Christie Aschwanden’s Painful Truth at Runner’s World.
A runner finds a physical outlet for emotional suffering.
Runner’s World, December 2009
An essay about how running helped me cope with my sister-in-law’s untimely death.
To Dope or Not to Dope?
Will the incentives to compete clean ever exceed the payoff of taking drugs?
NPR, July 13, 2009
My take on doping controversies in bicycling and why the sport still isn’t clean.
From Corn to Cabernet
A burgeoning wine industry takes Colorado agriculture uptown.
High Country News, August 19, 2009
An examination of my community’s growing wine industry–one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets.
Flight of the Bumble Bee
Why would anyone run all night through some of the West’s most rugged mountains just to help some other guy finish a completely ridiculous race? Christie Aschwanden went to the Wasatch Front 100-mile ultramarathon to find out.
Runner’s World, May 2009
An adventure tale of how I paced my friend Greg through the Utah wilderness in the middle of the night.
Doctors Balk at Cancer Ad, Citing Lack of Evidence
Some doctors are questioning a cancer society ad campaign on sunscreen because most skin cancer is not life-threatening.
The New York Times, July 10, 2007
How a bike ride across Kansas began a new chapter in my relationship with my father.