By Seth Freeman

Can a protein originally found in a jellyfish improve your memory? Our scientists say, “Yes.” (Television advertisement for a memory enhancement supplement)

I remember well those busy, crowded days of summer school at the Pacific Rim Invertebrate Academy. Floating north, then floating south. Floating east, then floating west. So much to keep in mind!

You need to have an excellent memory when your life cycle is three days long. You don’t want to forget on day two what you did on day one because that would be like forgetting a third of your entire life.

Obviously jellyfish…

By Seth Freeman

Dear Brian,

I am looking forward to our date this evening. I very much appreciate your having asked me out.

Please note, however: DO NOT come to my apartment and instead please call to cancel our getting together IF you have any symptoms of COVID or you should be isolating or quarantining due to COVID exposure, travel, a positive test or for any other reason designated by public health officials.

Symptoms of COVID you should watch for include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing/cough
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

A humble root vegetable has changed the course of human history — twice

By Seth Freeman

Somehow, growing up, I always associated potatoes with Ireland and the Irish, and I assumed that Ireland is where potatoes came from. I was wrong. There is, certainly, a powerful intersection in Irish history with the potato, a fact worth remembering as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, but the full story of this unprepossessing tuber is actually far richer — and more interesting — than you might have imagined.

Potatoes were first cultivated as long as seven thousand, possibly even ten thousand, years ago by…

Can we trust the new Covid-19 vaccines? Some context.

By Peter Katona and Seth Freeman

Vaccines protect against disease by performing a kind of genetic judo on the body’s immune system. The precise mechanisms vary widely, but in each case an outside agent is introduced into the body which stimulates the production of antibodies to defend against the targeted pathogen. The agent might also arouse the body’s white cells to attack the invader.

The first known vaccine was used against smallpox centuries ago in China, perhaps as early as the 11th Century, by an enigmatic healer, whose name has been…

Ensuring Healthcare Worker Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic and in the future

By Karen Miotto, Jesse Sanford, and Seth Freeman

On Sunday, April 26, 2020, Lorna Breen, a respected emergency department physician who worked at a hospital in Manhattan, committed suicide. She had been treating the Spring surge of Covid-19 patients and was feeling overwhelmed. She had told her father, also a physician, about the tragic toll of suffering she had witnessed. “She tried to do her job, and it killed her,” Breen’s father told the New York Times.

Eight months later, a record number of daily Covid-19 infections continues…

Could U.S. water supplies be contaminated with radiation in a terrorist attack?

By Andy Shen, Natan Hekmatjah, Seth Freeman and Peter Katona

With the country focused on the implacable advance of the coronavirus and the latest distractions of severely divisive politics, are we dropping our guard regarding very real continuing threats to our national security?

Water terrorism is as old as war itself. The necessity of water for survival as well as its vulnerability to contamination have been recognized over the millennia of human history. The fact that most known attempts at water contamination as a combat strategy have not…

During the pandemic, heightened safety precautions are needed more than ever

By Seth Freeman

On Thursday, September 17, in the midst of a global pandemic, the World Health Organization will observe International Patient Safety Day with presentations by President Bill Clinton along with other prominent political leaders, medical professionals and entertainment celebrities. The event recognizes a major problem in health care, presently exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic. It has been a long time coming.

Over two hundred twenty years ago, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, December 14, 1799, after feeling unwell the day before, George Washington awoke with…

Maintaining equilibrium during a global pandemic

By Seth Freeman

With the world knocked off its axis by a virulent plague, it is unsurprising if we find ourselves feeling a little off balance. A helpful way of maintaining equilibrium during this unsettling period, at least for me, has been the daily practice and regular attendance at classes of Tai Chi, an ancient, gentle and subtly healing martial art.

I signed up for Tai Chi lessons in the spring of last year as part of a class exercise in a Public Health graduate school course focused on “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM)…


Why is the United States still battered by coronavirus while other countries have gotten the epidemic under control?

By Seth Freeman and Peter Katona

In 2003 Vietnam was among a handful of countries hardest hit by an epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), but it quickly became an international success story. By April of that year, Vietnam had became the first of the seriously infected countries to have twenty straight days with no new cases. …

By Jessica Jeffrey and Seth Freeman

A “natural experiment” is a real world occurrence which is not designed by researchers, but which contains the basic elements of a controlled study. Among the many curious consequences of the times in which we find ourselves is that we are living in the midst of a significant natural experiment, one that is both important and extremely revealing.

In the ordinary course of things it would be utterly impossible to ask millions of people to transfer the bulk of their professional, educational and social interactions to an online platform like Zoom for several months…

Seth Freeman

Seth Freeman, MPH, is a journalist, a playwright, and an Emmy-winning writer/producer of television, who created the series Lincoln Heights.

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