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

The sunburn forecast

Wondering which days are safest to be out in the sun? If you live in the U.S., you can check out the SunWise ultraviolet forecast, based on predictions from the National Weather Center. Looks like this weekend will be a scorcher!

Plug in a zip code or a city and a state, and the UV forecast will tell you how intense the sun’s rays …

What Causes Back Pain?

A common back-pain surgery works no better than a faked surgical procedure, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine. But the setback for the treatment may raise new questions about what really …

The Roots of Individuality

Why do different people’s minds work so differently? Human brain cells don’t follow a set DNA script. Instead, they contain a surprising number of mobile elements — or “jumping genes” — that let them reorganize their genetic code.

One More Reason to Cut Cholesterol …

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente find that elevated cholesterol levels — even levels just a little bit elevated, in fact — are predictive of dementia in old age.

A four-decade study of 9,844 men and women in northern California found a strong association between cholesterol when people were in their 40s and Alzheimer’s disease …

Avoiding Bogus Flu Remedies

The World Health Organization says it’s maintaining its estimate that swine flu — the virus better known now as “novel H1N1” — will infect some 2 billion people before the pandemic is over. That’s almost a third of the world’s population, and a scary thought. So this seems as good a time as any to figure out what’s fact and what’s …

Got Fish Oil?

Mounting evidence supports the healthy-heart benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard of them before; they’re the fatty acids found in fish or fish-oil supplements.

This month, a group of scientists writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologyhas gone back to review decades’ worth of past studies on the …

Does Prevention Really Cut Health-Care Costs?

If you’ve been trying to follow the debate over U.S. health-care reform, you might be confused about whether Obama’s plan is really going to cut costs, how much it will save, and how on earth there can be so much debate over what seems like accounting. At the heart of this issue, however, is the question of prevention: Can prevention …

Antidepressant Use Soars

In 2005, 10% of Americans aged six or older — some 27 million people — received at least one prescription for antidepressants. That’s up from just under 6% in 1996.

Plague Deaths in China

There are reports today of two deaths from pneumonic plague in western China. Pneumonic plague is the deadliest and least common form of plague. Still, the odds that this dreaded disease will make it across oceans to ravage your hometown are just about zero.

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