It’s Time to Revamp Our Goals for Cancer Screening

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

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.

Los Angeles Times: The New Mammography Guidelines, a Year Later

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.

New Scientist: Gene Dopers

Gene Cheats

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.

Cell: How postdoc associations are improving the postdoc experience.

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

New York Times: Agent Orange Lingers in Vietnam

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.

High Country News: Why science alone will not settle the West’s endangered species dilemmas

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.