How pharma weaseled its way into the bedroom and left us wanting

Animation: Julia Moburg/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Female sexual desire has always been suspended on a tricky societal tightrope. In the past, it was something to be repressed and undiscussed. Violate these norms — or just appear to — and the consequences were grim. Today, for many women, the pendulum has swung in the other direction: Wanting and having a lot of sex is frequently portrayed as an integral part of leading a healthy, balanced, modern life.

Despite these complex expectations, female sexuality remains under-researched and little-understood. This extends to common sexual issues, including a drop-off or complete disappearance of sexual desire, which most women experience at…


The beer industry’s attempt to get in on the trend illustrates how wellness means everything and nothing

Photo: Classen Rafael/EyeEm/Getty Images

Harpoon is a Boston institution. Founded in 1986, the craft brewery is known for its rotating taps and intense, high alcohol–by–volume beers, such as the piney Leviathan Imperial IPA (10% ABV) and Black Forest (9.8% ABV), a rich, cherry-chocolate porter. Flavor, strength, and mouthfeel are paramount — counting calories, not so much.

That’s changing. Harpoon recently released Rec. League, a beer made with Mediterranean sea salt, chia seeds, and buckwheat kasha (a four-pack is $7.99). With its golden, cloudy look, and tropical hoppiness, Rec. League tastes like a traditional craft beer, just with a lower alcohol content (3.8% ABV) and…


A year ago, the first drug to prevent migraines was approved. People who get headaches are hoping it’s just the beginning.

Illustration: Tsjisse Talsma

The first significant attack Michelle Tracy experienced took place in August 2004. It was the summer between her freshman and sophomore year at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. The pain, which radiated from the left side of her forehead to the base of her skull in throbbing waves, began early in the day. As the minutes and hours ticked by, the pain swelled into an excruciating force.

Her parents’ living room, where she was riding out the episode, became nightmarishly amplified. Everything was too bright, too noisy, too smelly. “It was all too much,” says Tracy. She grew dizzy. When…


And how to avoid getting scammed

Photo by Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra on Unsplash

There’s a reason cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming a ubiquitous product nationwide. At the end of last year, health authorities removed hemp — a species of cannabis that doesn’t contain psychoactive qualities — from the controlled substance list, meaning the plant is no longer considered illegal under federal law. Since most CBD products are derived from hemp, that change meant new products could flood the market. And they did.

The CBD and cannabis market research firm Brightfield Group says the market for hemp-derived CBD products was about $591 million in 2018 and is on pace to grow into a $22 billion…


Inside the hunt for drugs that ease the effects of isolation on the brain

Illustration: Keith Rankin

Loneliness is part of the human condition. A primeval warning sign, like hunger or thirst, to seek out a primary resource: connection. Millions of years of evolution have shaped us into creatures who need social bonds in the same way that we need food and water.

And yet we increasingly find ourselves isolated. Loneliness is no longer a powerful enough driver to break us out of the silos created by modern life. Like our insatiable love of high-calorie foods, what was once an adaptive tool has become so misaligned with the way we live that it’s causing, in the words…


Power Trip

Navigating the pharmaceutical industry’s “disease awareness campaign” rabbit hole

Credit: Shana Novak/DigitalVision/Getty

Three girls are jumping, seemingly for joy. Their hands are outstretched and their faces are lit up with wide smiles. A fourth girl stands to the side, rooted to the ground. Her arms are held to her sides, and she looks dejected. Then you see it, a dark circle on her blue shirt — a pit stain!

“Embarrassed about excessive sweating?” the caption inquires. “You’re not alone. Find out what it could be and how others may just be coping with it.”

According to the website, www.CheckYourSweat.com, 15 million people suffer from hyperhidrosis, “a real medical condition” also known as…

Laura Entis

Freelance journalist focusing on health, business, and science. Former associate editor at Fortune.

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