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Shelf Help


Shelf Help: New Book Reviews in 100 Words or Less

What you need to know about Bad Feminist, XL Love, and The Birth of Korean Cool.



Why Are Obstetricians Among the Top Billers for Group Psychotherapy in Illinois?

Illinois leads the country in group psychotherapy sessions in Medicare, and some top billers aren’t mental health specialists. The state’s Medicaid program has cracked down, but federal officials have not.

Economics Essays


Sequenced in the U.S.A.: A Desperate Town Hands Over Its DNA

The new American economy in three tablespoons of blood, a Walmart gift card, and a former mill town’s DNA.

Quick Studies


The Upside of Economic Downturns: Better Childhood Health

For children, the benefits of being born in tough times can outweigh the costs.



How a Fanny Pack Mix-Up Unraveled a Massive Medicare Fraud Scheme

Two secretaries in a doctor’s office have pleaded guilty and a pharmacy owner faces charges in a scam that Medicare allowed to thrive for more than two years.

Quick Studies


Doctors Are Not Prescribing the Right Kind of Drugs for the Flu

If you come down with the flu, your doctor is more likely than not to write out a prescription for the wrong type of drug.

Health Care


Why You Should Be Alarmed About Pediatric Emergency Care in the U.S.

The vast majority of doctors working in emergency care have received only four months of training in pediatrics, and what they learned about treating full-grown adults rarely translates well.

Social Networking


Nancy Scheper-Hughes Responds to Our Profile, ‘The Organ Detective’

The chair of the doctoral program in medical anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley was written about in the July/August issue of Pacific Standard.

The Law Won


Caring for the Condemned: Does It Make Sense to Treat the Mental Health of Someone Facing Execution?

How the new mental health facility for California’s death row inmates reflects our nation’s ongoing ambivalence about the death penalty.



Blackness Ever Blackening: My Lifetime of Depression

How do I explain an existence dominated by the bleakest, darkest moods? And do I even want to?



Is the Quest to Build a Kinder, Gentler Surgeon Misguided?

Surgery is a fundamentally messy and stressful activity. When being a few millimeters off target can be life-changing, a surgeon needs to possess fierce concentration, unrelenting perfectionism, and, above all, staunch self-assurance.



Studying an Entire Lifetime

For over 30 years, Brazil has run one of the largest studies of a population since birth.



World Cup Fever: A Missed Opportunity for Brazil?

For many, the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games represent missed opportunities to tackle health problems and inequality.



How Much Physical Activity Do You Really Need?

Physical activity has recently come to be seen as one of the best forms of medicine available. But how much do you need to do to reap the benefits?



Brazil’s Billion-Dollar Gym Experiment

Can a grand vision of 4,000 free public gyms overcome inequality and fight Brazil’s health crisis?

The Law Won


Protecting Abortion Clinics in a New Age of ‘McCullen v. Coakley’

After the recent Supreme Court decision, clinics will likely have to turn to injunctions to keep protesters away, taking on the additional expense themselves or passing it on to those they serve.



The Organ Detective: A Career Spent Uncovering a Hidden Global Market in Human Flesh

Tracking the organ trade, anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes visited African and South American dialysis units, organ banks, police morgues, and hospitals. She interviewed surgeons, patient’s rights activists, pathologists, nephrologists, and nurses. So why aren’t more people listening to her?

Quick Studies


The Ongoing Mental Health Benefits of Neighborhood Diversity

Diverse neighborhoods, it turns out, aren’t just conducive to hipsters.



The Decline of the Physical Exam in Modern Medicine

Doctors today are too uncomfortable with uncertainty.

Culture Essays


Can Watching TV Improve Your Health?

Public health wonks have figured out how to influence Hollywood writers: Don’t call them, they’ll call you.

From the Editor


Editor’s Letter: Your Medical Issue

Introducing the July/August 2014 Issue of Pacific Standard.

Sociological Images


Health Care Is a Huge Business, but It’s Not the Doctors Who Are Making the Most Money

The anti-Obamacare rhetoric has railed against a “government takeover” of medicine but it’s not the government that’s coming between doctors and patients, it’s the insurance companies.



Digging Through the Medicare Data Dump: Billing Outliers Often Have Disciplinary Problems, Too

As news organizations analyze data on Medicare payments, doctors with disciplinary records keep popping up.

This Is Your Brain


Hallucinogens, Starvation, and Magnets: A New Cure for Depression?

The standard treatment—SSRIs—doesn’t work for an estimated 20 to 40 percent of the millions who suffer from depression. Luckily, researchers have been exploring new alternatives that might just do the trick.

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Politicians Really Aren’t Better Decision Makers

Politicians took part in a classic choice experiment but failed to do better than the rest of us.

Earliest High-Altitude Settlements Found in Peru

Discovery suggests humans adapted to high altitude faster than previously thought.

My Politicians Are Better Looking Than Yours

A new study finds we judge the cover by the book—or at least the party.

That Cigarette Would Make a Great Water Filter

Clean out the ashtray, add some aluminum oxide, and you've (almost) got yourself a low-cost way to remove arsenic from drinking water.

Love and Hate in Israel and Palestine

Psychologists find that parties to a conflict think they're motivated by love while their enemies are motivated by hate.

The Big One

One company, Amazon, controls 67 percent of the e-book market in the United States—down from 90 percent five years ago. September/October 2014 new-big-one-5

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.