Sponsored by Basic Books
June 20, 2022

Dear Reader,

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration followed the advice of an advisory panel and authorized the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for kids aged six months through four or five years, respectively. The decision was a long time coming for this age group, which has had to wait the longest for access to the vaccines. I wrote about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, the risks to children from COVID, and what the news means to parents of young kids.

Tanya Lewis, Senior Editor, Health & Medicine


COVID Vaccines for Kids Younger Than Five Get Green Light from Regulators

An advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend authorizing the Moderna and Pfizer shots for the youngest children

By Tanya Lewis


Ancient Women's Teeth Reveal Origins of 14th-Century Black Death

A medieval cemetery yields DNA evidence of the deadly pandemic bacterium’s Central Asian ancestor

By Jen Pinkowski


How Skin Cancer Rates Vary across the Globe

This leading cancer affects some populations and regions much more than others

By Clara Moskowitz


New COVID Drugs Face Delays as Trials Get Harder to Do

The success of vaccines has reduced the pool of people available for studies, among other factors

By Saima May Sidik,Nature magazine


Treating Alzheimer's Before It Takes Hold

Researchers are giving drugs to healthy people in hope of clearing away toxic proteins in the brain and preventing neurodegeneration.

By Alison Abbott,Nature magazine


Your Body May Be Able to Repair Its Arthritic Joints with Help from Drugs or Surgery

Knees and other joints regrow some lost cartilage with some outside aid, research suggests

By Claudia Wallis


Acne Inflammation Discovery Could Lead to New Treatments

A key player is revealed in the acne-causing immune battle

By Maddie Bender


Why Do Mental Illnesses--From Depression to Schizophrenia--Raise the Risk of Dementia?

A combination of biological and social factors most likely explain the strong connection

By Claudia Wallis

Health Care

Marker Tip--Without Ink!--Makes a Hardy Medical Sampler

The marker material conserved samples for up to a week

By Maddie Bender

Public Health

Bad COVID Public Health Messaging Is Blocking Our Path To A "New Normal"

But smarter communications from health agencies can improve the road ahead

By Thoai D. Ngo


'Frog Skin' Cell Type Found in Mammal Mouths

Salivary glands make unexpected use of tiny ionocytes, essential to frogs and fish

By Joanna Thompson


We Must End Ageism in Cancer Clinical Trials

Older patients are underrepresented in clinical trial research. Here’s how we can change that

By Dany Habr

Hacking the Immune System

The immune system is a marvel, but sometimes those defenses need help. In this eBook, we examine various ways the immune system is being manipulated to fight disease, starting with the science behind the research into COVID vaccines and treatments. We also examine cutting-edge interventions for infectious diseases beyond COVID such as a universal flu vaccine, immunotherapies for cancer and more.

Buy Now


"Not only are you protecting against the rare chance that your child would have severe disease [by vaccinating them], you're also helping them achieve the normality in life that we've all been seeking--to keep all your current activities ongoing without interruptions."

Sallie Permar, chair of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at New York–Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital, in Scientific American


Fact or Fiction?: Vaccines Are Dangerous

Overwhelming medical evidence shows that negative side effects are rare and minor


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