Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

By her senior year as a biology major at Williams College, Laurel Hamers had a revelation. She had been growing disillusioned with research in general, mostly because she didn’t like working with fruit flies—she was sick of the drudgery and the smell—and she was having a hard time choosing a PhD program in biology. In her spare time, she... more
Children pose with a prototype of the children’s book used in the study, in Rwanda. Credit Matt Oxman/Informed Health Choices. You’ve probably gotten bad medical advice at some point, and odds are good that it started when you were a kid. For example, it was conventional wisdom where I grew up that you should put butter on a burn. But despite the... more
Can you be fat but fit? Over the years the answer to that question has been:  yes, no, and depends. What it really depends on is what study you read. The answer was “yes” in this 2012 study in which lead author, Francisco Ortega concluded: “”It is well known that obesity is linked to a large number of chronic disease such... more
NO SEX, NO PAIN: TOWARD LAB-GROWN DESIGNER BABIES It gives new meaning to the vulgarity “a piece of tail.” The latest way of divorcing baby-making from the old-fashioned method not only... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
With the cost of medications approaching stratospheric levels, criticisms of the drug industry have been gobbling up a fair bit of media space these days.   In one particularly memorable take, John Mack, aka the “Pharma Guy,” writes that pharma CEOs seem to be living in an alternate reality where they easily justify their high prices, and will... more
The Atlanta BeltLine, now in the works, aims to transform a 22-mile ring of mostly defunct rail lines running through 45 diverse downtown Atlanta neighborhoods into a green pedestrian walkway and path for runners and bikers with a possible streetcar line, an urban planner’s dream. In City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban... more
When science journalist Dave Mosher tries to explain the risks of giving medical case studies a lot of attention, he turns to extraterrestrials.   “Think like an alien who’s visiting Earth for the first time,” said Mosher, who also is one of our contributors. “If the first being you met was a cow, would you then assume all life on the planet... more
I most likely have Pseudobulbar Affect — or “PBA.” I know this because I took a quiz on a website designed by the drug company who sells the only FDA-approved treatment (brand name = Nuedexta, by Avanir Pharmaceuticals) for this “medical” condition.  It’s not good news because — after I turned 50 — I... more
This is a unique Five Star Friday in that we have examples of great reporting from both the breaking news end of the spectrum, as well as a long-term and in-depth investigative project. We also have two stories that scored very highly with our reviewers. This is important because the two diseases covered — Alzheimer’s disease and... more
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE MARCH FOR SCIENCE Just as I was locking up this post came news about public attitudes toward last month’s March for Science. You will probably not be astonished to learn... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]