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Deborah Blum
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Blog Entries by Deborah Blum

The Secrets in Smoke

Posted January 29, 2010 | 14:32:05 (EST)


In 1854, the essayist Henry David Thoreau published an ode to a morning fire: "Light-winged Smoke, Icarian bird... Lark without song, and messenger of dawn." Scientists, of course, saw the hazing blue of wood smoke - or any smoke derived from burning plant material - as...

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Science and Exercise: Nag, Nag

Posted January 15, 2009 | 11:10:18 (EST)

Dear Mother Science -

Has it occurred to you that you've become a nag? This becomes particularly evident in January, the Month of Lifestyle Resolutions. Hardly a day goes by without some eager researcher letting us know that we should eat more beets (a purple root-like substance that I've spent...

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In Defense of Snow, Sort Of

Posted December 24, 2008 | 15:42:38 (EST)

Once upon a time, before I moved to Wisconsin, I found the old classic "White Christmas" to be a lovely little film. The music was sweet and Bing Crosby charming - as long as one didn't dwell on the fact that he was apparently uncharming in his...

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Why My Dog (And I) No Longer Watch CNN

Posted December 14, 2008 | 11:06:18 (EST)

In my home office we are boycotting CNN. Of course, my home office is a room at the back of my house occupied by myself and the family dog, a boxer named Dodger, who contributes by snoring musically while I work.

Nevertheless, we take this boycott seriously....

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Give Medical Epidemiologists a Break

Posted September 20, 2007 | 22:53:14 (EST)

Whenever we start arguing over a healthy diet - and whether
science has anything credible to say on the subject - an image of the
witch in Disney's "Snow White" pops into my head.

She's holding out an apple. It's red, it's delicious, it's

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Skin Cancer, Wealth, Poverty and Journalism Done Badly

Posted June 12, 2007 | 13:00:00 (EST)

I'd like to tell you a story of skin cancer, wealth, poverty and, I'm afraid, journalism done badly.

My morality tale starts this Monday with the announcement of a study in this month's British Journal of Dermatology: a report by scientists in Belfast, who had tracked and analyzed...

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TB and the Question of Evolution

Posted May 31, 2007 | 11:04:00 (EST)

I recently attended a national meeting of biologists, gathered in dismay over the way we teach medicine in the United States, at least regarding basics of biology. At the top of their list was the failure of medical schools to adequately teach principles of evolution. They blamed such ignorance for...

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Lethal Cough Syrup

Posted May 30, 2007 | 12:05:00 (EST)

"But to realize that six human beings, all of them my patients, one of them my best friend, are dead because they took medicine that I prescribed for them innocently..." So, the doctor wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in a letter overflowing with guilt.

But the doctor's...

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