Laura Blue

Laura Blue is a senior contributing health writer for She first began writing for TIME's Canadian edition as an intern in 2004, and then spent four years as a staff reporter for the magazine's international editions, first in New York and later in London, before leaving to pursue a Ph.D. in demography at Princeton University. She is interested in evidence-based medicine, clinical trials and the effects of our day-to-day behaviors — think diet, exercise, smoking and stress — on health and longevity. She lives in Baltimore.

Articles from Contributor

How dogs think

You may believe that toddlers in your family are budding young geniuses. But according to canine expert Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia, two-year-old kids are in fact no smarter than dogs. The average canine can learn more than 150 words, understand basic arithmetic and intentionally deceive other dogs and humans to …

Like mother, like daughter

When it comes to spanking children, reading to them, or showing affection, mothers are strongly influenced by the way their own moms acted — but dads aren’t. That’s the finding of study that followed two generations of parents, starting in the late 1970s, and checked up on moms’ and dads’ parenting practices through the years. Women …

Researchers find a new Alzheimer’s gene

Scientists from University of California, Irvine, have found a new genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In a study of 381 people, those with Alzheimer’s were nearly twice as likely as people without the disease to have a certain form of a gene,TOMM40 (which stands for “translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 40”). Although …

Calorie counter: fruit vs. fruit juice

There’s been some debate whether fruit juice should count among your daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. Experts agree that, while pure fruit juice does contain a lot of vitamins, a whole piece of fresh fruit is almost always the better choice — since juice is packed with the fruit’s natural sugars. Here’s how some …

Simple ingredients

You may have heard the advice that says, if you’re going to buy a snack food, buy the one with the fewest ingredients. It won’t cut out the calories, but at least you’ll lose most of the additives, preservatives and unsatisfying artificial flavors. And on the whole less-processed foods (those with fewer ingredients) also contain more …

Why the FDA needs to step up

Obama’s commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration says her agency must act faster and be more aggressive about enforcing food and drug safety laws. “The FDA must be vigilant, the FDA must be strategic, the FDA must be quick and the FDA must be visible,” Margaret Hamburg said in an address yesterday.

Is U.S. product safety …

Electronic records can save lives

A program that reduced cardiac deaths by 73% can also help heart-attack patients to stay healthy years later, with better control of their lipid levels and blood pressure. This new innovation, however, is nothing more than electronic records. During acute care, the program from Kaiser Permanente linked together information from primary …

Could Facebook be sowing seeds of jealousy?

This may come as no surprise to regular users of Facebook, but students who are heavy users of the social-networking tool tend to report more jealousy toward their romantic partners than students who use the site less often.

In a new Canadian study, 308 students aged 17 to 24 were asked about the time they spend on Facebook, their …

The science of itching

Scientists have found a way to manipulate the neurons in mice that respond to itch — and, in the process, have settled a longstanding debate: Is itchiness just a form of pain, or a separate, unique sensation?

It turns out the brain treats itch and pain completely differently, even though they can both be excruciating.

First swine flu vaccines are ready to go

Vaccine producer Baxter International, Inc., says it’s finished its first batch of pandemic H1N1 vaccine and is figuring out distribution plans with the five national health authorities that ordered it.

The U.S. isn’t due to receive any of the 80 million vaccine doses that Baxter will eventually produce this year,

Psychologists discredit therapies designed to turn gays straight

The American Psychological Association has agreed that mental-health workers should not tell patients they can change their sexual orientation. An Association task force reviewed extensive research literature on the subject and found no good evidence that “reparative therapy” — therapy to turn gays and lesbians straight — can …

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