Since the 1980s, “Early detection is your best protection” has been a mantra of the cancer-awareness community, spurring an insistence on frequent screenings to catch ever-smaller abnormalities. But this approach to cancer screening loses sight of the real goal — saving lives. And it turns out that finding more and more smaller and smaller abnormalities churns out more cancer patients, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into lives saved.
Read the rest of my opinion piece at Popular Science.
Run Yourself Smarter: How exercise boosts your brain
New Scientist, November 15, 2013
pdf here: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
The latest science on exercise and the brain suggests that exercise isn’t an enhancer of normal cognition, it’s a necessary condition. Physical activity has been show to improve brain health across every stage of life.
It May Be Fake, but Trust Me—It’ll Work
Slate, March 16, 2011
When is it kosher for doctors to prescribe placebos? It’s a question I explore in this Slate piece.
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 routine mammography for women in their 40′s.
Are you too old—or too young—to run your best marathon? To find out, we asked top scientists, coaches, and elite athletes about the impact of aging on endurance. Their answers might pleasantly surprise you.
Runner’s World, February 2009
Drug scandals in sport would be nothing compared to the potential for genetic engineering to create “super-athletes”. Christie Aschwanden investigates
New Scientist, January 15, 2000.
This appears to be the first media report about gene doping — genetic engineering to enhance athletic performance.
New Scientist, February 3, 2000 Road networks play havoc with nature. But a new kind of route map will make it easier to treat the land more gently, says Christie Aschwanden
What kind of runner are you? Were you born to run a fast 5-K, a strong marathon, or something in between? Here’s how to find out—and how to realize your full potential.
Runner’s World, January 2009
Enduring Questions: Why Do We Suffer?
Running can hurt. This is one runner’s quest to understand the bittersweet symphony.
Runner’s World, September 9, 2009
Managing to Excel at Science
Amid growing recognition that a successful scientific career requires skills beyond scientific acumen, institutions are racing to provide management training for newly minted principal investigators.
Cell, March 2009
Professionalizing the Postdoctoral Experience
The first postdoctoral association was launched in the United States 13 years ago. Although postdoctoral associations have made tremendous progress toward improving the lives of postdoctoral fellows, their job is not finished yet.
Cell, February 10, 2006
Through the Forest, a Clearer View of the Needs of a People
Vietnamese botanist Phung Tuu Boi is working to help forests and native peoples recover from Agent Orange.
Filmmaker George Lerner produced a video of Christie’s travels with Mr. Boi. Click here to view the video on the New York Times website. Christie’s story was also featured in the New York Times weekly
Science Times podcast on September 18, 2007.
September 18, 2007
This work was funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. View more of my Pulitzer work here.
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
Is It or Isn’t It (Just Another Mouse)?
Why science alone will not settle the West’s endangered species dilemmas
High Country News, August 7, 2006
2007 recipient of an honorable mention for print journalism from the
American Institute of Biological Sciences.
The controversy over the endangered Preble’s meadow jumping mouse is not about science, it’s about values and that’s a dispute that science can’t resolve.
No Cheating in the Blood Test
A new blood doping test relies on old science.
New Scientist, Oct 2002