Not long ago, my local grocery store added a new cold case display. Tucked between the coconut milk and the canned beans, a refrigerator is now filled with fermented beverages claiming better digestive health.
Next to them are bottles of expensive probiotics in specialized formulas for kids, men, and women—all vowing to help prevent or treat some illness or other. Add to these the myriad products promising more energy, a healthier heart, and less inflammation, and suddenly the food market can look a lot like a pharmacy. But do probiotics really work? We put that question to experts here at Johns Hopkins. In “The Garden in Your Gut” [p. 26], you’ll learn about the fascinating discoveries happening around the human microbiome.
Speaking of putting good things in your body, in this issue's "Expert Advice"? [p. 8], dietitian Susan Oh gives tips for fostering healthy eating habits in your kids; neurologist Lee Peterlin offers ideas for mitigating migraine headaches in "10 Things"? [p. 11], including adding healthy late night snacks to your diet; and endocrinologist Kendall Moseley explains how much calcium we need to keep our bones healthy in "Survey"? [p. 21].
And remember when we were going to use corn, leftover kitchen grease, and other comestibles to run our cars? Research-ers are still pursuing the idea, and some commercial flights are now fueled by food. In "Remember Biofuels?" [p. 48], reporter Greg Hanscom goes inside the alternative energy industry to see whether biofuels might make a dent in fossil fuel consumption.
Enjoy the issue, and as always, feel free to send your comments to us via email.
Greg Hanscom (“Remember Biofuels?”) has covered the environment and energy for close to two decades. A former editor of Urbanite magazine in Baltimore, he is now editor-in-chief of Crosscut.com, a nonprofit media organization based in Seattle, where he lives with his wife and their two young daughters. PAGE 48
The daughter of a French printmaker and a Slovakian librarian, Caroline Andrieu (Letter page and Breakthrough portraits) draws inspiration from many sources and disciplines, from graphic novels to the surrealist work of Dali. She has been art director for Conde© Nast Digital France and the websites for Vogue and GQ. Other clients include Nylon, Variety, Lancome, and Abrams Books, for which she illustrated the Fashion Insiders'™ Guide to Paris. PAGES 7, 36, 40, 44
Rachel Suggs ("Mind on Music" illustration) was born in San Antonio and currently resides in Baltimore, where she earned her BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She specializes in editorial and book illustration, as well as pattern design. PAGE 19
Deborah Rudacille ("You Curing You"?) teaches science writing and journalism at the Univer-sity of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the author of Roots of Steel: Boom & Bust in an American Mill Town, a workers' history of the Sparrows Point steelworks in Baltimore, and two other books. She earned her MA in science writing at Johns Hopkins. PAGE 58