Simplifying Science

Vape Mayhem

I literally do not know how to keep you up with all of the recent head-spinning news about vaping. For the past couple of years, I have been a broken record of warnings on this topic. Oh how I wish I had been wrong. Because there’s so much we all need to wrap our brains around at the moment, the biggest article in…READ MORE

From Childhood to Wildhood

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is a physician, evolutionary biologist, and Harvard professor who has developed a species-spanning approach to understanding health and development. She just returned from the 2019 Nobel Conference in Stockholm where her research was featured and she...READ MORE

When Kids Want News

I have discovered an amazing news outlet designed just for kids: a non-partisan, 5-minute daily news podcast created by four journalists-turned-moms. A source of solid, not to mention topical - information for our kids to consume directly sounds too good to be true, right? It shouldn’t, argue these writing...READ MORE

Scooter Bounty Hunters

Ever feel like you want to take matters into your own hands? When something is going slightly off the rails - evolving from a nuisance to a pet peeve to a serious headache or even a danger - and no one is doing a darned thing about it? Well take a lesson from Dan Borelli and John Heinkel. 

These guys were fed up with electric scooters clogging sidewalks and cluttering private property. So they innovated by forming ScootScoop, a company that collects and impounds the illegally strewn vehicles, charging Bird, Lime and other scooter companies a pretty penny for retrieval. Naturally, they are being sued and they are doing some counter-suing themselves. But none of that seems unanticipated. 

ScootScoop doesn’t solve all of the safety issues related to electric scooter invasions. But it does address one major swath: the clutter that turns a nice walk down the street into an obstacle course. So I say kudos to you guys! Wondering if businesses like theirs will multiply as quickly as the scooters themselves...

The first thing you notice in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter is not the brick sidewalks, the rows of bars and the roving gaggles of bachelorette parties and conferencegoers, or even the actual gas lamps.

It’s the electric rental scooters. Hundreds are scattered around the sidewalks, clustered in newly painted corrals on the street and piled up in the gutters. In early July, one corner alone had...READ MORE

Ride Sharing

Ride sharing, like R-rated movies, is not meant for kids without an adult present. Or at least without an adult involved somewhere in the transaction. Who knew? 

Not me, and I know a bit about ride-share, given that I have worked with Zemcar, a Boston-based ride-share company dedicated to safe and secure child transportation. Still, in my hometown of Los Angeles, I can no longer count the number of times kids arrive at or leave from my house in Lyfts and Ubers. Yes, they do it with their parents’ knowledge (and permission), and most of them have a pretty sophisticated safety system in place that involves snapping a picture of the car’s license plate and then one of the driver in a way that the driver can see the picture is being taken. The girls in particular tell me that they text the images to a parent, dictating a text message about getting into the car and sharing the car and driver info, spoken loudly so that the driver can hear. 

This piece from Vox takes a deep dive into ride sharing for kids. It honors the transportation realities we all face, while also pointing out the legalities of this business. I found it pretty compelling, mostly because it opened up several threads of conversation with my kids about my comfort with any and all of this. As parents, we are all going to make our own safety calls. If you are on the fence about ride-share, this article may help you figure out your own comfort zone while suspending judgment of others.

Richard Tran lives with his aunt a mile and a half away from his high school in the suburbs of Orange County, California. That means it’s about a 30-minute walk away, but as a teenager, he doesn’t have a half hour to waste lugging home a heavy backpack. Those 30 minutes could be used for homework or video games, a quick nap or a solid scroll through social media.

It occurred to Tran one afternoon that, instead of walking, he could call an…READ MORE

No Breakfast, No Problem?

Whose kids don’t eat breakfast? I have one of those. Or rather, I have one who would like to be counted among the ranks of the no-food-past-my-lips-while-I’m-still-half-asleep, but I deny her the opportunity. 

That’s because in medical school and in the medical literature — all over the press actually — there’s a strong conviction that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I spent years in my practice negotiating with (okay, sometimes begging) teenagers to just get a few bites across their lips before they walked out the door. Or at the very least a couple of sips of a smoothie, ideally with protein. I was a broken record. 

Over the past several years, though, there’s emerging data that long periods of fasting are actually good for you. Really good. Life extending, weight changing good for you. Basically, you can skip breakfast or you can skip dinner (but not both!) and your body will thank you. This article summarizes the research that exists for adults and it got me thinking: should we be changing what we preach to our teens? Are the morning food-refusers actually onto something? I don’t know of any research that has looked at this population in particular (if you do, please share), but I will say that based upon everything I have read recently, I am thinking about running an experiment of my own in this new school year. I might just lay off the insistence that breakfast gets consumed and see how my daughter feels in that first class of the day, honoring her internal clock, which is apparently trying to dictate a prolonged daily fast. I will let you know how it goes. 


Fasting is one of the biggest weight-loss trends to arise in recent years. Endorsed by A-list celebrities and the subject of a spate of best-selling books, it was the eighth most-Googled diet in America in 2018.

But fasting shouldn’t be dismissed as just another fad. At the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, I’ve employed what’s called intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, to help patients with an array of chronic… READ MORE

The Talk, 2019 Style

At this point in my career, I would say the most common questions I get are about The Talk. When should you start explaining the birds and the bees? How much? How in-depth? How??? One answer may be: watch this. Because The Talk we all got back in our day just doesn’t cut it anymore.