Writing

Christie is an editor and the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight (at ABC News). Read her FiveThirtyEight stories here. Learn about her new book, GOOD TO GO: What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery on the book’s page. Christie has written articles, essays and book reviews for more than 60 publications, including newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post, scientific publications like the journals Science and Cell, online sites like Slate and Grist, and magazines like Popular Science, New Scientist, Runner’s World, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Here is a small sampling.

Backpacker / Bicycling / Consumer Reports / Dame/
Discover / High Country News / Los Angeles Times/ More/ Mother Jones/ New Scientist / New York Times/ Oprah Magazine /Pacific Standard /Proto / Reader’s Digest /
Runner’s World / Slate/ Smithsonian / Washington Post
Blog: Last Word On Nothing

Backpacker

Bitten: Lyme Disease
A special report on a tick-borne illness.
Backpacker, June 2006

Bicycling

A speculative look into the mind of Lying Lance and Honest Lance, which one is real ? (Written before his confession.)
Bicycling, 2011
Structured workouts can take you far if you seek cycling glory. But if you just want to mix fitness and fun into a busy life, we can make it shockingly easy.
Bicycling, 2011

Believe Tyler?
When it comes to Tyler Hamilton, the most interesting question isn’t if he’s guilty or innocent of doping, but why each of us has chosen a side.
Bicycling, November, 2007

Consumer Reports

The High Cost of Cheap Chicken
97% of the breasts we tested harbored bacteria that could make you sick.
Consumer Reports, February 2014 (published online December, 2013)

Dame

People Who Attempt Suicide Are Not Criminals
So why are they treated as if they are? Meet survivors who lived to tell their stories—and help others get through their darkest hours.
DAME Magazine, July 21, 2014

Budweiser’s Despicable “Hero’s Welcome” Ad Leaves a Bad Taste
The cheap beer manufacturer gave Super Bowl watchers a cheap cry, at the expense of U.S. Veterans.
DAME Magazine, February 3, 2014

Discover

Where Do Thoughts Occur?
Sure, your brain is a wonder. But some cognitive scientists argue that without the help of your body, your brain would be nowhere.
Discover, June 2013

High Country News

From Corn to Cabernet
A burgeoning wine industry takes Colorado agriculture uptown.
High Country News, August 19, 2009

Is It or Isn’t It (Just Another Mouse)?
What the fight about the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse illustrates about the Endangered Species Act.
High Country News, 2007

Los Angeles Times

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.
Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2011

The downside of awareness campaigns
Despite the pink ribbon push, cancer deaths have dropped only slightly. And the focus on awareness may be pushing more women into treatment unnecessarily.
Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2010

The many ways to share bad news
More are using electronic forms of communication such as personal Web pages, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and blogs to share medical news and updates. They can spread the word quickly, but critics believe such news demands a more personal approach.
Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2010

Hospice care helps patients and loved ones
More patients use the service for end-of-life care. But what is it?
Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2010

Hospice care info
Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2010

Bicyclists should stay on the defensive to stay safe
Bicyclists must obey all the traffic laws that motorists do, but safety tactics may also help riders avoid accidents.
Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2009

Bikes and cars: Can we share the road?
With more bikes on the road, drivers are frustrated — and cyclists are at risk. Now’s the time for changes.
Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2009

How to minimize accidents between autos and bicycles
Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2009

Blame Your DNA?
Study: Genes may detemine if you’re a fitness fanatic or a couch potato.
Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2009

Cut back on mammograms?
The exams can lead to treatment for breast cancer that, ultimately, wouldn’t have caused harm.
Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2009

More

Are You Getting Too Much Medical Care?
First, do no harm—that’s what medical students are taught. Yet unnecessary drugs and tests, along with overly broad definitions of health conditions, can set you up for unexpected damage.
More, December/January 2014

Mother Jones

What If Everything Your Doctors Told You About Breast Cancer Was Wrong?
For years, scientists have known that mammograms are largely ineffective. Why can’t we get that message across?
Mother Jones, October 6, 2015

Jet Blues
Flying’s moral dilemma: Your family or your climate?
Mother Jones, May 31, 2010

New Scientist

Run Yourself Smarter: How exercise boosts your brain
New Scientist, November 15, 2013

The curious lives of the people who feel no fear
New Scientist, February 3, 2013

Blood doping test cannot be cheated
New Scientist, October 2, 2004

Tread softly
How to protect wildlife from the impact of roads.
New Scientist, February 3, 2001

Cut to shreds
Phillip Sharp and RNA interference
New Scientist, April 15, 2000

Gene cheats
Altering DNA could be the next frontier in sport doping.
New Scientist, January 15, 2000

New York Times

Vitamin-Packed With Promises
Review of Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection
By Catherine Price
New York Times, March 2, 2015

An Insider’s Guide to CrossFit
Review of Learning to Breathe Fire
By J.C. Herz
New York Times, August 20, 2014

Seeking the Keys to Longevity in ‘What Makes Olga Run?’
Review of What Makes Olga Run?
By Bruce Grierson
New York Times, February 10, 2014

Our Pleasure in Others’ Misfortune: ‘The Joy of Pain,’ and What We Get Out of It
Review of The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature
By Richard H. Smith
New York Times, December 23, 2013

Talent Lies Within. But Where?
Review of ‘The Sports Gene’ Considers the Root of Athletic Success
By David Epstein
New York Times, August 12, 2013

In TheoryStudies Suggest an Acetaminophen-Asthma Link
New York Times, December 19, 2011

Recent Triathlon Deaths Have Experts Searching for Answers
New York Times, July 28, 2008

Deaths Draw Attention to Triathlon Swim
New York Times, July 31, 2008

Experts Question Placebo Pill for Children
New York Times, May 27, 2008

SCIENTIST AT WORK | PHUNG TUU BOI
Through the Forest, a Clearer View of the Needs of a People
New York Times, September 18, 2007

Doctors Balk at Cancer Ad, Citing Lack of Evidence
New York Times, July 10, 2007

NPR.org

Suicide Attempt Survivors Seek A Voice In Helping Others At Risk
NPR.org, July 11, 2014

Oprah Magazine

When Envy Strikes: How to Put Jealousy to Good Use
Christie Aschwanden learns that this very human impulse isn’t necessarily a negative one—and can lead you in positive directions you never expected.
O, the Oprah Magazine; July, 2012

Could You Find Contentment in Your Own Backyard?
Christie Aschwanden spent her youth traipsing around the globe—until she discovered what it meant to find contentment in her own home.
O, the Oprah Magazine; May, 2012

What’s So Great About Normal, Anyway?
A psychiatrist explains how your most worrisome idiosyncrasy might be your greatest gift.
O, the Oprah Magazine; April, 2012

Imperfect Copies? The Effectiveness of Generic Drugs
Doctors, drug companies, and the Food and Drug Administration have assured us that generic drugs are identical to their brand-name counterparts. But some experts feel otherwise.
O, the Oprah Magazine; December , 2008

Do You Know What’s on Your Medical Report?
Skydiving, smoking, even your driving record may be in your file.
O, the Oprah Magazine; June, 2008

Pacific Standard

Convincing the Public to Accept New Medical Guidelines
When it comes to new treatment guidelines for breast cancer, back pain and other maladies, it’s the narrative presentation that matters.
Miller McCune/Pacific Standard, April, 2010

Popular Science

It’s Time to Revamp Our Goals for Cancer Screening
Popular Science, August, 2014

Proto

No Easy Answers
A ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis can spur premature action. Should it be called cancer? A new name might mean a different approach, because, what if it’s nothing?
Proto Magazine, Winter, 2014

Reader’s Digest

5 Vitamin Truths and Lies
Taking a vitamin won’t make you healthier and might even hurt you.
Reader’s Digest, April, 2010

Runner’s World

Is Beer Good for Runners?
A (somewhat) scientific look at how a postrun pint affects your favorite activity.
Runner’s World, February, 2012

Pace Yourself
Got questions about setting the right race pace? We’ve got answers.
Runner’s World, April, 2011

The Big 7 Body Breakdowns
How to avoid (and recover from) the most common running injuries.
Runner’s World, March 2011

The Magic of Mantras
Think strong words. Repeat inspiring phrase. Run even better.
Runner’s World, February 2011

Pet Project
Runner’s World, September, 2010
National Magazine Award Finalist, 2011

Christie Aschwanden’s Painful Truth
A runner finds a physical outlet for emotional suffering.
Runner’s World, December, 2009

Quality Care
When you’re hurt, speed recovery by finding the best specialist for your injury.
Runner’s World, July 2010

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

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

The Pill Problem
The right drug can relieve pain and discomfort—or put you in a world of hurt.
Runner’s World, May 2009

Age Matters
What’s the idea age 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

Running On E
Finding the fine line between training hard and overtraining.
Runner’s World, October 16, 2007

Slate

Misfearing Breast Cancer
More evidence that routine mammograms make healthy people sick.
Slate, February 14, 2014

Stay the Hell Home!
For a year, I stayed within 100 miles of my house. It’s the best decision I ever made.
Slate, August 12, 2013

The Molester and Me
My high school coach was like a dad to me, until he abused my teammate and violated us all.
Slate, June 7, 2013

The Risk-Benefit Calculation of Mammograms
Mammograms aren’t useless. Whether you should get one, though, depends on a variety of factors.
Slate, December 10, 2012

Athletes, Stop Taking Supplements
They’re expensive, they don’t improve performance, and they might make you test positive for dope.
Slate, July 26, 2012

Baby Fat
Do birth control pills make women gain weight?
Slate, August 17, 2011

Check Your Head
Does testing athletes for concussion with fancy software do any good?
Slate, January 20, 2012

Professors Should Not Breast-Feed in Class
Slate, September 13, 2012

Kiddie Cholesterol
A dangerous new plan to screen 11-year-olds for their risk of heart disease.
Slate, December 11, 2011

Sexual Healing
Does making love make you well?
Slate, December 1, 2011

Lipitor Rage
If statins carried a rare but serious side effect, would we ever find out?
Slate, November 2, 2011

Café or Nay?
Some studies say coffee is good for you; others say it’s bad. The scientists are just as confused as we are.
Slate, July 27, 2011

It May Be Fake, but Trust Me—It’ll Work
When is it kosher for doctors to prescribe placebos?
Slate, March 16, 2011

Smithsonian

The Top Athletes Looking for an Edge and the Scientists Trying to Stop Them
Behind the scenes there will be a high-tech, high-stakes competition between Olympic athletes who use banned substances and drug testers out to catch them.
Smithsonian, July 2012

Washington Post

Military life is stressful on all concerned; efforts to help often fall short
Washington Post, February 2, 2015

After his third Iraq deployment, a veteran finds help in a program called FOCUS
Washington Post, February 2, 2015

Happy reunions can obscure the challenges that military families face after deployment.
Washington Post, September 9, 2014

Research finds Neanderthals were more thoughtful than we once imagined
Washington Post, January 19, 2015

Many women use an OB/GYN as their main doctor. Should they?
Washington Post, March 16, 2015

Positive thinking isn’t all-powerful
Apps and tools for meeting your goals
Washington Post, February 10, 2015

Should You Eat Like a Caveman?
The premise of the “paleo” diet is built on nostalgia and erroneous notions of how evolution works
Washington Post, January 12, 2015

Can Pets Make Us Healthier?
Washington Post, December 15, 2014

After trigger point dry needling, a runner’s injury heals. But did the technique do it?
Washington Post, November 4, 2014

High tech or low, fitness trackers make you more aware of your steps, daily activity
Washington Post
, October 21, 2014

I don’t love my treadmill desk.
Washington Post, September 15, 2014

How to Find Mental Health Help
Washington Post, August 20, 2014

Platelet-rich plasma treatment is popular for sports injuries, whether it works or not.
Washington Post, July 14, 2014

Too much practice and specialization can hurt instead of help child athletes.
Sidebar: Is 10,000 hours magic or not?
Washington Post, June 16, 2014

How to refuel after a workout without undermining your hard work.
Washington Post, May 19, 2014

Does CrossFit push people too hard?
Washington Post, April 29, 2014

Understanding suicide, which is surprisingly common in spring.
Washington Post, April 7, 2014

Making sense of new studies questioning mammograms: Is the test worth having?
Washington Post, March 18, 2014

Is Your Doctor in Good Standing?
Washington Post, February 25, 2014

How to protect yourself from medical identity fraud. A first step: Don’t tweet health issues.
Washington Post, February 3, 2014

How to fire your doctor. Rule One: Make sure you have another one lined up first.
January 13, 2014

Why you may want to avoid a dementia test
Washington Post, December 13, 2013

What to ask before opting for elective surgery
Washington Post, December 2, 2013

Why I’m waiting to sign up for the health insurance exchange
Washington Post,November 4, 2013

I’m just saying no to mammography: Why the numbers are in my favor
Washington Post, October, 2013

E-cigarettes raise new questions about smoking
Washington Post, September 9, 2013

Runners are not giving themselves arthritis
Washington Post, August 12, 2013

How to get healthy after the cancer treatments are done
Washington Post, July 29, 2013

Memory worries? Don’t bother with vitamins and supplements. Just get some exercise.
Washington Post, July 1, 2013

Do bike helmet laws really save people?
Washington Post, June 3, 2013

Side effects of prescription drugs can be reported and studied on Web sites
Washington Post, May 13, 2013

Gene-testing kits promise a lot. But does your DNA say much about your health?
Washington Post, April, 22, 2013

Is it ever right to choose not to do CPR?
Washington Post, April 1, 2013

Statins keep cholesterol in check, but they can affect memory and strength
Washington Post, March 11, 2013

Annual physical exam is probably unnecessary if you’re generally healthy
Washington Post, February 8, 2013

How to tame jet lag
Washington Post, December 24, 2012

Blog: Last Word On Nothing

I blog at Last Word On Nothing, an independent, non-commercial labor of love among a small group of friends. Find my latest posts here, or peruse a few of my favorite posts below.

Support Democracy, Subscribe to Your Local Paper

There are Two Kinds of People: Those Who Make Their Beds and Those Who Don’t

Journalists Should Act More Like Scientists
The discredited Rolling Stone rape story and how an escalating fixation on perfectly drawn characters and beautiful narratives has emphasized storytelling over truth

G is for Goddamned Goshawk
The beautiful bird that’s killing my chickens

Ira Glass is Not My Friend and Some Thoughts on Serial
Journalists, sources and the dance between them

Report from the Solutions Summit 2014
A summary of the data and survey results presented at our conference on women in science writing and a recap of the solutions we discussed and our next steps.

24 Reasons to Ignore Best Places Lists

Y’all Need this Word
Why y’all is a feminist term.

A real cancer hero
Spoiler: her initials are not LA.

How creeps get away with it
How sexual harassers make it hard for victims to speak out.

Can cheaters repent?

To hell with grass
This is a discussion about an uncomfortable subject—an emotion that everyone has felt, but no one wants to admit. Envy—it’s a four letter word.

The Compulsion to Count

Why I Blog

I Did It Dad! I LOVE This!
On the joys of experiences left ephemeral and unrecorded

Motherhood: never is ok

The Impasse: When the “truth wins” assumption fails.

Sassy Smocks and Moist Panties
In which I discover word aversion

The real scandal: science denialism at Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Is breast cancer threatening your life? This Susan G. Komen for the Cure® ad leaves no doubt about who’s to blame —you are.
Winner, the National Association of Science Writers’ 2013 Science in Society Award for Commentary/Opinion

Life without beer: part 2 of my beer & running science experiment

What beer and running taught me about science (part 1 of 2)

When is it time to revise our story?

Let’s stop pretending we give a damn about climate change.

Do readers grasp nuance?

You’ve got mail, you idiot!
What reader mail has taught me about science writing.

Breast Cancer’s false narrative.

You Don’t Live in the Twitterverse: a Plea to Ground Yourself in Place

Avastin and the Power of Hope

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