Simplifying Science

Riot Boys

One of the luxuries of working on a book manuscript for the better part of a year is the treasure trove of reading that comes along with research. It’s hard to say how many days were lost to reading archived articles and ancient — but digitized — textbooks. This piece by Malcolm Gladwell is more than three years old. I completely missed it when it first appeared in print. And it’s not one of those pieces that floats back into the public realm when related issues arise… which is crazy because there have been how many school shootings between October 2015 and now and this has never come back around, at least not in my newsfeed. Which is why I am sharing it here. Gladwell takes two seemingly disconnected ideals — school shootings and riots — and connects them profoundly. The piece is long and hard and I am not sure I agree with all of it. But it’s premise is amazing. The same phenomenon that sits at the heart of riots may very well instigate the epidemic of school shootings we see today.

On the evening of April 29th last year, in the southern Minnesota town of Waseca, a woman was doing the dishes when she looked out her kitchen window and saw a young man walking through her back yard. He was wearing a backpack and carrying a fast-food bag and was headed in the direction of the MiniMax Storage facility next to her house. Something about him didn’t seem right. Why was he going through her yard instead of using the sidewalk? He walked through puddles, not around them. He fiddled with the lock of Unit 129 as if he were trying to break in. She called the police. READ MORE

Period. Exclamation Point!


Okay, full nepotism disclosure here. When I first heard about the documentary film Period. End of Sentence I was psyched to see menstruation in the movie mainstream — a documentary short promoted all over Netflix. But it was only after I watched that I learned how many people close to me made it possible for this film…READ MORE

Vape Update--I’m Fuming

For the past couple of years, the FDA has been threatening to swing hard at e-cigarette companies that manufacture and market products designed to lure kids. Threatened being the operative word. FDA commissioner Scott Gottleib has promised for months to come down hard on these companies, recognizing the toxic combination of high-dose nicotine in a product aimed squarely at kids. Like many other pediatricians, I have ranted about the egregiousness of the vape manufacturers, especially Juul, and sung Gottleib’s praises. But instead of cracking down, Gottleib is packing up. He recently announced his impending departure from the agency, and just this week he outlined how things will go as he transitions out. I have not been shy in my praise of this guy, and now I won’t be shy about my disappointment: the plans are weak and toothless, with little promise of making a dent in this growing health epidemic. So, what’s the solution? Turn to the kids, of course.

Teen vaping is on the rise, and schools are searching for solutions, with some taking disciplinary action or installing vape detectors in bathrooms.

Still, the problem has continued to swell. The US Food and Drug Administration announced in November that vaping had increased nearly 80% among high schoolers and 50% among middle schoolers since the year before. The resignation announcement of the agency's commissioner -- Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who vowed to crack down on what he described as an...READ MORE

What's the Goal?


The recent college admissions scandal has rocked the parenting world – not to mention the education world – with good reason. But as the story unfolds and its scope widens, I am left asking a question I have repeated over and over to myself many times along this parenting journey, beginning well before any of this latest news broke: Really, what’s the goal?READ MORE

Cannabinoid Confusion

Who's confused about CBD? If so, it's for good reason! The stuff is everywhere — in drinks, foods, oils, capsules — but there's very little consensus on what it actually does inside the body. CBD is not psychoactive like it's cannabinoid cousin THC. But is it as anti-inflammatory as advocates claim? Does it really improve health? Believe what you want, but the truth is that there's too little research to know. And as with any chemical, it runs the risk of side effects. A good rule of thumb to follow in every corner of your life: educate yourself before jumping on the bandwagon.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonintoxicating component of the marijuana plant, is touted as a magic bullet that eases pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Salves, sprays, tinctures and oils containing CBD are marketed as aphrodisiacs that boost desire; as balms for eczema, pimples and hot flashes; and even as treatments for serious diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the “psychoactive” component of the cannabis plant, CBD won’t get you “high.” But scientists know little about what it can...READ MORE

How Sex Ed Affects Our Sexual Health Now

The 20th Anniversary of The Care and Keeping of You Honored In Rewire Interview

Growing up in Boise, Idaho, “The Care and Keeping of You” was everything to Emma Tacke.

She read the book cover to cover. At age 8, it made her excited, not nervous, about puberty and growing up.

“I was so excited about using deodorant, I was so excited to start shaving my legs,” said Tacke, now 25. “It seemed like I was being invited into this cool club.”

The book— which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary— features detailed drawings and advice for how to buy a bra, wash your hair and use a tampon. It made puberty exciting. Sex educators and pediatricians…READ MORE

Medicines That Don’t, cough, Work

Save your $ and a late-night run to the drug store. Cough medicines don't work for most people, most of the time. We have known this for years and years.

On a South American trip last month with two of my grandsons, the younger — 14-year-old Tennyson — developed a cough. He had no fever, congestion or fatigue, said he felt fine, ate and slept normally and stayed well-hydrated. But eight days later, after watching a live raptor show for 90 minutes in freezing winds, his cough was noticeably worse. As the responsible adult, I decided to get him an over-the-counter cough medicine ... READ MORE