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The Weight of Stigma: Heavier Patients Confront a Bias
A look at how a bias on body size affects care of heavier patients, something the medical community is beginning to recognize, and do something about.
What's in a Number? Some Research Shows That a Lower B.M.I. Isn't Always Better.
Biased ideas about a link between body size and health have led many people to dismiss unexpected scientific findings.
Bringing Midwifery Back to Black Mothers
For care in pregnancy and childbirth, Black parents are turning to a traditional practice.
Working Sick During Covid: What We Learned from Swine Flu
‘Stay home if you’re sick’ is time-tested advice. But not all workers can afford it.
What the Bungled Response to HIV Can Teach Us About Dealing With Covid-19
Politics, public health and a pandemic. What we didn’t learn from HIV.
Why History Urges Caution on Immunity Testing
After past outbreaks, workers with proof of antibodies were in demand. But history urges caution.
Xenophobia in the Age of COVID-19
Scapegoating immigrant groups in times of disease outbreak has a long history.
Coronavirus: Lessons From Past Epidemics
Dr. Larry Brilliant, who helped eradicate smallpox, says past epidemics can teach us to fight coronavirus.
Coronavirus Quarantine: Are There Lessons From A Nurse Who Challenged One For Ebola?
Coronavirus has public health officials scrambling to put quarantines into effect. The 2014 Ebola outbreak may have some lessons.
AIDS: From Ryan White to Today's Silent Epidemic
While H.I.V. rates have fallen in many places, the AIDS crisis remains in some of the U.S.
The Surprising Legacy of the Boy in the Bubble
Newborns today are tested for genetic and immune disorders that might not be apparent at birth. The tests evolved from the treatment of a patient with a rare diagnosis who became known as “the Boy in the Bubble.”
Could a Simple Intervention Fight a Suicide Crisis?
A simple intervention to reduce suicides – “caring letters,” messages of compassion and empathy – showed promise in the 1960s, but has been overlooked until now.
How Fear of the Measles Vaccine Took Hold
Skepticism and fear surrounding vaccines were fed by a flawed study done in 1998 linking the MMR vaccine to autism. The study was quickly discredited, we’re still dealing with the repercussions.
LSD Gets Another Look
LSD has long been associated with 1960s counterculture. Today, psychedelic drugs are back in the lab, providing hope for people who suffer from anxiety, depression and addiction.
Thalidomide: Return of an Infamous Pill
How a pill that led to drug safety guidelines became a case study for rising drug prices.
Trump, Measles, and a Study That Fueled Fear
President Donald Trump has long been a critic of childhood vaccines – but then he suddenly changed course, urging parents to vaccinate their children.
How an Underground Abortion Network Got Started
It started with one request. A friend’s sister was pregnant and suicidal. Before long a clandestine group called Jane was created to help women in Chicago with illegal abortions.
Genetic Screening: Controlling Heredity
With every new advance in prenatal genetic screening, the ability to prevent suffering has also sparked difficult questions about what should count as “a disease” versus “a difference,” and whether we’re in danger of wiping out certain segments of the population. This story was produced in collaboration with PBS, American Experience.
Abortion Was Illegal. This Secret Group Defied the Law
The Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. We tell the story of the Jane Collective, which provided thousands of illegal abortions from 1969 to 1973.
A Trusted Pill Turned Deadly. How Tylenol Made a Comeback
How do some companies regain public trust after something goes seriously wrong, while others fail? A look at how Tylenol responded after someone spiked its pills with poison in the 1980s sheds some light.
After surviving four heroin overdoses, Heather Wetzel hopes she can stay clean for her daughter.
Where the Debate Over "Designer Babies" Began
Genetic technology is advancing, and critics are warning of a slippery slope. We speak with the scientists working at the forefront of the research, families who have benefited and the first-ever “test-tube” baby to understand the debate.
Life as the World's First Test Tube Baby
On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown became the first ever so-called “test-tube baby.” Her birth was one of the biggest media stories of the 20th century, and she became famous just by being born.
Old Attitudes on Addiction Are Changing. So Are Treatments.
Overdose deaths are skyrocketing, forcing researchers to find new ways to think about and treat addiction.
Selling the Code: Can Genetic Testing Services Really Predict Your Future?
Today, companies market genetic tests for everything from cancer to diet and exercise. But how much can tests like 23andme really predict?
Fixing the Code: Genetically Engineering Your DNA to Cure Disease
For the past 20 years, scientists have been trying to cure disease by altering DNA. We examine how with CRISPR Cas-9 gene editing and the revival of gene therapy, they’re closer than ever.
Finding the Code: The Race to Sequence the Human Genome and What It Means
One of biology’s most spectacular achievements – the race to sequence the human genome – was billed as a way to end disease. Here’s where it led.
Anorexia and Suicide: A Mother's Fight for Change
Kitty Westin shares the story of her daughter, Anna, who killed herself after struggling with anorexia for years.
Myths and Misperceptions about Eating Disorders
Thirty million people will suffer from eating disorders in their lifetime, yet decades after Karen Carpenter died from anorexia, myths about eating disorders continue.
Lobotomy: A Dangerous Fad's Lingering Effect on Mental Illness Treatment
From the 1930s to the 1950s a radical surgery – the Lobotomy – would forever change our understanding and treatment of the mentally ill.
Could You Patent the Sun?
Decades after Dr. Jonas Salk opposed patenting the polio vaccine, the pharmaceutical industry has changed. What does that mean for the development of innovative drugs and for people whose lives depend on them?
A Change of Heart
The artificial heart became a media sensation in the 1980s as it both raised hopes and spread controversy. Today its impact on medical science is still playing out in surprising ways.
The Doctor who Identified Shaken Baby Syndrome
The pediatric neurosurgeon who first identified shaken baby syndrome has a surprising take on the very syndrome he’s credited with discovering.
The Nanny Murder Case: Shaken Baby Syndrome on Trial
In 1997, a young British nanny charged with murder brought shaken baby syndrome into the national spotlight, and raised a scientific debate that continues to shape child abuse cases today.
A Right to Die?
Should doctors be allowed to help suffering patients die? In 1990, with his homemade suicide machine, Dr. Jack Kevorkian raised that question. It’s an issue Americans still struggle with today.
Is Multiple Personality Disorder Real? One Woman's Story
In the 1970s, the TV movie “Sybil” introduced much of the nation to multiple personality disorder and launched a controversy that continues to resonate.
How Prozac Turned Depression Medication into a Cultural Phenomenon
When Prozac was introduced in 1988, the green-and-cream pill to treat depression launched a cultural revolution that continues to echo.
Her Vegetative State Caused Congress, President Bush and Even the Pope to Weigh In
The controversy over Terri Schiavo’s case elevated a family matter into a political battle that continues to frame end-of-life issues today.
The Long War on Cancer
When President Richard Nixon vowed to make curing cancer a national crusade, many anticipated quick results. But decades later, what have we really accomplished?
Walter Reed: The Battle for Recovery
In 2007, the scandalous treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center shocked the nation. Today, after major reforms, what’s changed for America’s injured soldiers?