Award-Winning Medical and Science Writer & Content Strategist

7 Jul

Somehow I’ve become a skilled professional.

Sharing what’s important in our complex world doesn’t mean a thing unless a reader can quickly engage with a story.

I use my writing, video, and digital media skills to grab a reader or viewer right away. Compelling copy or a brief video allows me to easily share important health, medical and scientific information with my audience.

Clear and Engaging Content

Trained as a science, health and medical reporter, I’m happy my skills work for digital media and content marketing too. In addition to traditional journalism, I have experience writing  web copy, CEO speeches, social media posts and more. No two days are ever the same.

I’m one of those fortunate people who loves what they do for work.

My ‘Lies and Desperation’ story (below) is a finalist for Investigative Journalism.

Here are examples of my writing:

News > Medscape Medical News

‘A Few Mutations Away’: The Threat of a Vaccine-Proof Variant

July 29, 2021

  • 173 Reader Comments

Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s  Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, made a dire prediction during a media briefing this week that, if we weren’t already living within the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, would sound more like a pitch for a movie about a dystopian future.

“For the amount of virus circulating in this country right now largely among unvaccinated people, the largest concern that we in public health and science are worried about is that the virus…[becomes] a very transmissible virus that has the potential to evade our vaccines in terms of how it protects us from severe disease and death,” Walensky told reporters on Tuesday. 

A new, more elusive variant could be “just a few mutations away,” she said.

Dr. Lewis Nelson

“That’s a very prescient comment,” Lewis Nelson, MD, professor and clinical chair of emergency medicine and chief of the Division of Medical Toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, told Medscape Medical News.

“We’ve gone through a few mutations already that have been named, and each one of them gets a little more transmissible,” he said. “That’s normal, natural selection and what you would expect to happen as viruses mutate from one strain to another.”

“What we’ve mostly seen this virus do is evolve to become more infectious,” said Stuart Ray, MD, when also asked to comment. “That is the remarkable feature of Delta — that it is so infectious.”

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As Vaccines Wane, Immune System Still Has Weapons for Delta

immune system concept

Aug. 16, 2021 — More recent studies — but not all — show Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines become less effective at blocking infection with the coronavirus over time, especially with high levels of the Delta variant going around. At the same time, the vaccines continue to offer robust protection against severe COVID-19 outcomes.

A Mayo Clinic study, for example, found the Moderna vaccine had an 86% effective rate at preventing infection with the Alpha variant, compared to 76% for Pfizer’s vaccine.

But, against the Delta variant, Moderna’s effectiveness fell to 76% and Pfizer’s dropped all the way to 42%.

The Mayo study has not been peer-reviewed yet.

Still, both vaccines continue offer strong protection against hospitalization, with an effectiveness ranging from 75% to 81%.

How different parts of the immune system respond to coronavirus infection might explain, at least in part, the disparity.

“It’s very plausible,” Alessandro Sette, doctor of biological science, says.

Neutralizing antibodies from COVID-19 vaccination circulate in the body, recognize and bind to the virus, and stop it from entering cells and replicating. “That is arguably why we have cell immunity,” Sette said.

However, once the virus enters a cell, it is no longer accessible to the antibodies, explained Sette, who is professor at the Center for Autoimmunity and Inflammation and Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California.

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Lies and Desperation: How, Why ‘Professional Study Subjects’ Skew Clinical Research

July 14, 2020

When a clinical study on asthma launched in late 2019 in Louisiana, Patricia M. (not her real name) signed up. But she was not completely honest about her eligibility.

“One of the criteria was you can’t have taken prednisone steroids in the past two or three weeks. But I actually had taken prednisone a few days before, so I lied and said I hadn’t,” she tells Medscape Medical News. Otherwise, she says, “that would have put me out of the study.”

For another study, on severe allergies and nasal polyps, Patricia omitted her medication history.

“They were testing different nasal sprays to see how well they would shrink nasal polyps. They wanted to try Nasacort [Sanofi]. I was actually already using Nasacort, but I told them I wasn’t,” she says.

“I didn’t feel good about it. I’m usually an honest person,” she adds. “But the study paid $400.”

Researchers checked her driver’s license, required a note from her physician, photos of her prescription medications, and requested permission to access her health portal. “If you don’t have asthma, diabetes, or hypertension, you’re not going to be able to fake it and get into a study,” Patricia says.

For researchers, these so-called ‘professional study subjects’ are much more than a nuisance. Their deception can ruin the chances of an otherwise effective agent reaching the market, potentially dashing the hopes and jeopardizing the health of real patients living with a variety of acute and chronic illnesses.

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