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Graph paper background with two dark axes showing blue, red, yellow, and green trend lines in no particular direction.

Ask SciMoms: Are there more cases of autism?

We were recently asked if there are more autistic children today than in the past. This is a common question, as the claimed increase in the prevalence of autism is used to scare us about many products in our environment, ranging from WiFi to pesticides. In this post, we will examine whether the increase in … Continue reading Ask SciMoms: Are there more cases of autism?

What Should I Eat: Big Environmental Questions and Cutting Edge Cuisine

When you think about an exquisitely prepared multi-course meal served at the famed James Beard House in New York city, feedlot beef and supermarket tomatoes probably aren’t the first ingredients that come to mind. But that’s exactly what was on the menu at a recent dinner hosted by the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental organization based … Continue reading What Should I Eat: Big Environmental Questions and Cutting Edge Cuisine

Collage made up of three antique advertisements for teething remedies and three images of teething babies, one chewing on plastic rings, one chewing on his hand, and one wearing an amber necklace.

Safe Teething Remedies

There’s nothing worse than your child being in pain, even when you know it’s temporary. It’s no surprise that parents through the ages have reached for anything that might relieve their child’s teething. As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) describes, “teething occasionally may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade temperature, excessive drooling, and a … Continue reading Safe Teething Remedies

Spice rack with a variety of brands and types of spices.

Defining Safety: How Safe is Safe?

As a neuroscientist with a research focus in toxicology, I am often asked by friends and family about the safety of household items and beauty products. Safety as a scientific concept is widely misunderstood. In this post, we’ll explore the concept of safety, provide an overview of the categories FDA and EPA use to define … Continue reading Defining Safety: How Safe is Safe?

Produce section at a grocery store in Virginia. Bananas on display are 49 cents a pound for conventional or 69 cents a pound for organic.

The high price of food labels

If you’re like me, grocery shopping is both a pleasure and a struggle. I love to see which fresh produce and fancy cheeses are available! But meal planning is a challenge when your household contains one adventurous vegetarian (that’s me!) and two choosy eaters. Our grocery budget can get a bit out of control as … Continue reading The high price of food labels

Hamburger and fries in a basket lined with a red and white checkered paper.

The Impossible Quest for a Vegan Burger in a Doublemeat-Lovin’ World

A plant-based burger that has the taste and texture of a real burger. These “meats” could help reduce our meat intake, benefiting both our health and the environment. But most veggie burgers lack the fatty flavor of meat. They’re too spongy, dry, grainy—actually, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe the many ways it just doesn’t … Continue reading The Impossible Quest for a Vegan Burger in a Doublemeat-Lovin’ World

Risk in perspective infographic showing population risk is not individual risk. The general population includes people who are genetically predisposed to disease and those who have a protective genotype.

Risk In Perspective: Population risk does not equal individual risk

This series is a collaboration between neuroscientist Alison Bernstein and biologist Iida Ruishalme. Errors in risk perception are at the core of so many issues in science communication that we think this is a critical topic to explore in detail. This series is cross-posted on SciMoms and Thoughtscapism. We tend to think in very small … Continue reading Risk In Perspective: Population risk does not equal individual risk

Chart titled the Risk landscape with risk ratio as the y axis. Trees and grass represent different risks with bigger plants as bigger risks, such as smoking as the largest risk and radon as one of the smallest.

Risk In Perspective: Zero Risk Is an Impossible Dream

This post on zero risk and reducing risk is part of a series written as a collaboration between neuroscientist Alison Bernstein and biologist Iida Ruishalme. Errors in risk perception are at the core of so many issues in science communication that we think this is a critical topic to explore in detail. This series is … Continue reading Risk In Perspective: Zero Risk Is an Impossible Dream