Vijaitha Parthasathy

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Take a deep breath: the stethoscope is dying

If you Google "Hugh Laurie" and "stethoscope", you will come up with a clutch of stories from February 2012 about how everybody's favourite pill-popping misanthropic physician is "hanging up his stethoscope" after eight seasons on the hit show House.<p>This underlines a more general truth: doctors …

The changing face of psychology

In 1959, an American researcher named Ted Sterling reported something disturbing. Of 294 articles published across four major psychology journals, 286 had reported positive results – that is, a staggering 97% of published papers were underpinned by statistically significant effects. Where, he …

Can Mom's Pregnancy Diet Rewire Baby's Brain For Obesity?

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)<p>But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy …

L.A. hospitals gird for rise in flu cases

Despite a statewide drop in reported influenza cases, Los Angeles hospitals are preparing for this year's season to worsen in the coming weeks, fearful of the deadly H1N1 "swine flu" virus strain that is to blame for most of this year's flu deaths.<p>H1N1 killed thousands of people around the world in …

Brightest Mars since 2003

Why is Mars so bright and red now in our sky? Here’s the answer.<p>Have you seen Mars yet? Watch for it tonight! You’ll find it easily because nothing …

Astronomy

Mosquito-Borne Chikungunya Virus Arrives In Americas

The virus can cause debilitating joint pain that can last for weeks, and sometimes years.<p>A potentially debilitating African virus has now officially made its way to the Americas, and is being spread between people by mosquitoes in the Caribbean. From early December to mid-January, the chikungunya …

Public Health

A Reading Teacher Who Lost The Ability To Read

Here's a medical mystery that begins with a kindergarten teacher. We're not using her full name to protect her medical privacy, so we'll call her M.<p>M. taught reading to 4 and 5-year-olds at a school outside Chicago, but two years ago something happened to her that changed her life: she lost the …