I am a contributing editor at Scientific American and write the Brain Waves blog for Psychology Today (you can find those posts here). My work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Vogue and many other publications. Earlier in my career, I was on staff at Newsweek, and People, among other places and I’ve included a few of my old favorites from those days.

What Exactly Does Lead Do to a Child’s Brain?

The educational stakes are high for lead-poisoned kids in Flint and elsewhere.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has put lead back in the news. By now, anyone who’s paying attention must know that lead is a potent neurotoxin that can permanently affect a child’s ability to learn. But I suspect very few understand what it is exactly that lead does to a…

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The Tragedy Behind Flint’s Lead Poisoning that No One is Discussing

It’s something no one wants to face, least of all Congress.

It’s something no one wants to face, least of all Congress. When Michigan Governor Rick Snyder testifies today before the Congressional committee investigating Flint’s water crisis, he’s likely to come under heavy criticism. As he should. It took his administration an unconscionably long time to acknowledge the gravity of the…

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The Enemy Within

The possibility that autism is caused by a maternal immune system gone awry is no longer a fringe idea – but proposals to identify or fix these glitches are controversial.

Read the original story here.  Judy Van de Water got into autism research precisely because she wasn’t an expert in autism. She is an immunologist, studying the strategies our bodies employ to defend us against pathogens, and the ways those strategies sometimes misbehave or overreact. But about 15 years ago,…

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Reconsidering Resolutions

Why I will be keeping it real and saying thank you.

I resolve to change it up this resolution season. Usually, at this time of year, I’m as game as anyone for creating a to-do list of self-improvement. I have always thought of it as an annual refocusing of attention and regularly vowed to exercise more, eat better, work smarter and…

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The Surprising, Undeniable Power of Touch

A newly recognized nerve system connects us in ways we never realized.

My three sons are nearly all teenagers, but I remember the minutes immediately after each child’s birth as sharply as if the boys had entered the world this morning. Receiving my new babies into my arms, I hugged each one to my chest, caressed his back, and kissed the top of…

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Brain Stimulation Holds Promise In Autism Treatment

This article originally appeared on Spectrum on September 23, 2015. Will Robeson bounces into the neuroscience lab at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, familiarly calling out to each staff member. He makes his way to a black leather recliner positioned next to a suitcase-sized piece of equipment, with controls and a…

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