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E-Cigarettes' Clueless Crusaders

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The anti-smoking movement is going after e-cigarettes, the harmless inhalers that help people kick the habit. Nick Gillespie on why their single-minded zealotry has gone too far.

H.L. Mencken famously defined puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” He might have been describing contemporary anti-smoking activists, that dour band of fuss-budgets constantly on the prowl for new ways to make life slightly less bearable by limiting the choices available to grown adults.Incredibly, the latest push from tobacco eliminationists doesn’t involve actual smoking, which has already been driven out of polite society more thoroughly than Rev.

Brain Drain

Can We Prevent Alzheimer’s?

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New research shows that our diet has a significant impact on our neurological health. But why aren’t doctors acting to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, rather than only treating them? David Perlmutter, author of the new book 'Grain Brain,' on the need to change our approach to health care.

Last week, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed how levels of blood sugar directly relate to risk for dementia. The investigation followed over 2,000 elderly individuals for an average of 6.8 years and found that even small elevations of blood sugar translated into a significant increased risk for dementia, even among persons without diabetes.The implications of this report are profound. While the correlation of dementia risk, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease, with diabetes has been established, this new finding throws a much wider net in terms of defining an at risk population for an incurable brain disorder.

My Space

Friend Or Not Friend?

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Should you monitor your child’s Facebook? Clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of the new book ‘The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,’ answers some questions about parenting in the social-media age.

What is your big idea?When children and families see me privately, often in a crisis or when a child’s situation has become more than they can manage or ignore any longer, parents’ responses are always a significant factor. What we say and how we say it matters to our children.In therapy, at parent talks, and in my travels and interviews sharing The Big Disconnect, one of the most common questions parents ask is: Should I monitor my child’s Facebook? The more important question is not whether you should have access but what you do with it: How do you react to what you see or read there?I spent three years interviewing more than one thousand children ages four to eighteen for the book to get a sense of what makes a parent approachable, trustworthy.

It’s Called Sounding

The Fork Was for Sex?

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So it turns out the urethra, which can be a source of great pain, can also bring great pleasure. Dr. Kent Sepkowitz on the rise of sounding—and the (sometimes incredible) injuries that are following.

The human urethra may seem an unlikely body part to attract much fetishistic attention. It’s just a narrow tube—long in men, short in women—that carries urine from the bladder to the outside world. But once again, as a recent report describing the removal of a fork from an older man’s penis demonstrates, things out there are reliably much kinkier than it may seem.On a little reflection, though, the urethra as an object of erotic attention makes some sense.

Food for Thought

Meat for Vegetarians?

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So…if a piece of beef is grown in a lab, without killing the cow, can vegetarians eat it? Some say no. Others say they must. Nico Hines on the in-vitro meat dilemma.

Jess Bowie can still remember her first vegetarian lapse. She was 9 years old.“It was my brother’s birthday party and my parents had laid out all this food for his friends,” she explained. “I snuck into the room without anybody seeing me, and I ate the chicken nuggets.”The guilt stayed with her for years, but she confesses that the chicken tasted great. “Meat is objectively delicious. I don’t understand vegetarians who say they don’t like the taste,” she told me.

Heart Trouble

W.’s Close Brush With Obamacare

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The 67-year-old former president had a heart stent placed this week. Dr. Kent Sepkowitz explains the procedure—and why the whole affair exposes what’s wrong with the politics of medicine.

He may be one of only 43 men to have served as president, but George W. Bush yesterday joined 500,000 other Americans  by having a coronary artery stent placed.As a 67-year-old man known for jogging and biking—as commander in chief, he famously exercised six days a week—as well as the son of a skinny, ageless father, the development is something of a surprise. But then, alas 67 is 67. And further alas, W.’s latest foray into the world of American medicine has landed him in the awkward position of illuminating everything that’s wrong with his party’s position on health care.

Troubling

A Toxic Autism Secret

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It’s a disturbing trend we cannot ignore. Eustacia Cutler, mother of autism advocate Temple Grandin, on why autistic men are viewing child pornography—and being labeled sex offenders.

While in the throes of compiling a history of the social impact of autism, I came upon a story that I wish weren’t true.A young male adult with autism took his computer in for repairs. The repair shop found child pornography on his hard drive and turned him in to the police. In court he was adjudicated a “predator”—a legal label he will wear for life. A label that will bar him from any job that involves children, and from any “assisted living” home for an adult such as himself.

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You Don’t Actually Have Cancer

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You know that heart-wrenching feeling you get when you think to yourself, I just wish my father or my grandmother or whomever it is that is no longer around could be here to see this one graduate or that one get married? That’s how I felt when I read about a proposal to rename some cancer-related diseases. If only my father, who was a pathologist and now has Alzheimer’s, could take part in this debate. He was quite fond, actually rather obsessed, with medical nomenclature.

Who Am I?

The Terror of Total Memory Loss

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One day Michael Boatwright forgot everything about himself—his name, his language, even his family. Dr. Anand Veeravagu on the rare form of amnesia that can strike without warning.

When Michael Thomas Boatwright, 61, was found unconscious in a Palm Springs, California, motel on February 28, no one would have ever expected what happened next. As Michael awoke in the emergency department of Desert Regional Medical Center, he claimed his name was Johan Ek and that he spoke only Swedish, he failed to recognize his son, and most important, he couldn’t even recognized himself. A baffling mystery of forgotten identity, Boatwright continues to stump the medical community and surprise the world with each new discovery.

Help Wanted

When Rehab Doesn’t Work

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The same 12 steps don’t work for everyone. How the death of ‘Glee’ star Cory Monteith has lent new urgency to the fight for a better addiction-treatment system.

Charlie Sheen has been there. So have Courtney Love and Lindsay Lohan. In fact, Lohan will complete her sixth stint at an addiction treatment center at the end of this month before jumping into the arms of Oprah Winfrey. For every troubled star, it seems, there’s an accompanying stay (or three) in rehab. It takes only a casual tabloid reader to note that the system isn’t working as well as it could.The death of Glee star Cory Monteith, who ingested a deadly mix of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room last weekend less than three months after checking out of the Betty Ford clinic, has reignited a debate among addiction experts over the efficacy of rehab centers—many of which continue to be built around traditional 12-step, abstinence-only programs despite a growing body of evidence that this approach doesn’t work for everyone.

5 Secrets for Better Health Care

Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Marty Makary shares the five insider tips to getting top-notch medical care. First stop? The internet.

  1. Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? Play

    Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?

  2. The Number: $5.7 Billion Play

    The Number: $5.7 Billion

  3. The War on Waxing? Play

    The War on Waxing?

Books

Healthy Reads

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

The famous Grant Study tracked hundreds of Harvard men from youth to death to determine what predicts contentment.

Waste

Has the War on Cancer Failed?

Unlikely Cures

An Epidemic of Absence

A Selfish Read

What Richard Dawkins Reads

Nicomachean

How to Be Ethical