Category: Health and Wellness

This is Not a Culture of Life, This is a Culture of Un-Death

Last week at a Vatican conference on abortion, Pope Francis “argued that children who were not expected to live long after birth deserved to be treated in the womb ‘with extraordinary pharmacological, surgical and other interventions.’” He intimated that parents who did not use extraordinary measures were not caring for their children, saying that “Taking… Read more →

At the Crossroads of Comfort TV and Comfort Food

When I started my PhD, a kind mentor advised me to cope with graduate school’s stresses by eating chocolate and watching lots of TV. I received the same guidance when starting a tenure track position, though the recommendation escalated to watching TV in a (forgivable and deserved) prostrate position. This is survival advice for everyone,… Read more →

Menstruation in the 1990s: Feminist Resistance in Saskia’s Heavy Flow Zine

Among the many treasures in the archives of Glasgow Women’s Library, the six issues of the 1990s menstruation-themed zine Heavy Flow is a special gem. The series was created by artist and writer Saskia between 1993 and 1995 and provides unique insight into the discourse surrounding menstruation at the time. Saskia, who has proven difficult… Read more →

The Dangerous Price of Diabetes: Not What the Pioneering Researchers Predicted

The 1921 discovery of insulin ushered in a new era in endocrinology. Canadian researchers transformed diabetes from certain death sentence to chronic illness, infusing hormone researchers and doctors with giddy optimism. Doctors soon thought that every hormone ailment would be reversed. All that was needed was to mimic what the University of Toronto team did… Read more →

The Discovery of the Mental Institution – With Apologies to David J. Rothman

On February 15, 2018, President Donald Trump spoke about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen people. While Trump did mention “a shooter,” who “opened fire on defenseless students and teachers,” when it came to solutions, he focused on mental illness rather than the tools… Read more →

The Obstetrician Who Cried “White Privilege”

In December of 2016, I wrote an essay for Nursing Clio called Nurse-Midwives are With Women, Walking a Middle Path to a Safe and Rewarding Birth. In the piece, I advocated that all women be given the option of delivering with hospital-based nurse-midwives, whose evidence-based practice results in safe births and, in some settings, significantly… Read more →

Hospital Confinement: From the 19th Century to the 21st

Last summer I had a very different experience of childbirth than most women. I was not entirely sure what to expect when my husband drove me to the emergency room on the night of July 4, leaking amniotic fluid 10 weeks early. Rather than the straightforward checking of vitals and intermittent monitoring as labor gradually… Read more →

Are Our Genes Really Our Fate? DNA’s Visual Culture and the Construction of Genetic Truth

The direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andme has recently been described by journalist Erika Check Hayden as a “unicorn.”1 For Hayden, this Silicon Valley idiom describes the company’s one billion dollar valuation while also capturing the rare opportunity it affords to scientists: its two million customers make up the largest available pool of gene-linked health data.2… Read more →

The Weight of the Presidency

In early January, President Trump had a physical exam at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a periodic rite for US presidents in the modern era. The results were made public a few days later, with fevered public interest from popular media and television commentators. Was the President, with a height/weight ratio that put his BMI… Read more →

I Think I Love You: Life, Death, and the Enduring Legacy of David Cassidy Fever

On May 30, 1974, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan died after lingering in a coma for four days. The cause of her death? Officially, “traumatic asphyxiation.” Unofficially, according to the coroner, “a victim of contrived hysteria,” otherwise known as David Cassidy Fever. Twenty-six years later, at 14 years of age, my own life was saved. The cause… Read more →