Do We Need So Much?

Bloodless surgery is something of a misnomer. There’s bound to be bleeding, even when an operation is performed using minimally invasive techniques that require only small incisions. What bloodless surgery strives for, however, is to limit any transfusion of banked or donated blood. When patients, usually for religious reasons, can’t accept someone else’s blood, a […]

On the Trail of Drug Risks

There’s a long and winding road to Food and Drug Administration approval for a new drug. First the medication has to be tested in animals, followed by three phases of human clinical trials with progressively higher hurdles. Ultimately, a manufacturer must demonstrate that a new drug is safe and effective, that its benefits outweigh its […]

Shining a Light on ALS

Exactly how amyotrophic lateral sclerosis works—how it degrades motor neurons, causing muscle atrophy, paralysis and eventually death—has long eluded scientists. Although ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) was first described more than 140 years ago, most major advances in understanding the disease have come only during the past decade or so. Yet new therapies […]

Predicting Suicide: A Conversation with an Expert

Why do some people take their own lives—as many as 36,000 each year in the United States alone—and why do warning signs go unheeded? Though suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (after kidney disease and influenza/pneumonia), answers have been elusive, in part because collecting adequate numbers of subjects who’ve […]