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The Human Factor
By Andrea Appleton
The best way to save the environment? Be honest about the ways in which people behave.
The Rise of Teen Depression
By Joe Sugarman
Is it just a mood, or something more?
Clinical Trials 101
By Elizabeth Millard and Sarah Richards
Should you join a trial? What you need to know when considering participating in a medical study.
Paging Badger
By Greg Rienzi
How medical practitioners are working with dogs and other animals to bring you new healing therapies.


Expert Advice
How do I choose a therapist?
Ten Things
Exercises to start your day.
New findings in health: winterizing your workout, the truth about adrenal burnout, the power of positivity, the connection between dizziness and dementia, and a guide to dairy-free milk alternatives.
News from the cutting edge of research: training amoebas to eat deadly bacteria; using spider venom to find pain treatments; discovering how DNA mistakes cause cancer.
With Kay Redfield Jamison on her latest book about poet Robert Lowell and learning to live with bipolar illness.
Apps, gadgets, and other innovations that are advancing health and health science.
Book Report
What you should be reading.

Letter from the Editor

Catherine Pierre
Catherine Pierre
Last summer, I began teaching my two daughters how to make friendship bracelets. Remember those?

You knot together colorful strands of embroidery thread in a repeating pattern. Since my girls are young and beginners, I started with the most basic to limit frustrations. But even the simplest designs make lovely, wearable works of art. Of course they made some mistakes, so I’d sit with them, offering advice and retying wayward knots. Soon, I found myself doing more than that. I’d finish the row, or sneak in an extra one. I asked if they wanted me to do a few rows, you know, just to speed up the process.

Tying those knots, I realized, had become a pleasant way to unwind. You had to pay attention, but it didn’t require so much concentration that you couldn’t carry on a conversation or let your thoughts wander. It’s like knitting a basic scarf. Or coloring.

I also love coloring with my girls—and not just since they’ve graduated to more complicated designs. I’ll color anything. It calms them down, it calms me down, there’s peace in the house.

Coloring, it turns out, actually reduces stress. “In essence, adult coloring is a meditative practice because you’re bringing your focused attention to a particular anchor,” says Johns Hopkins psychologist Neda Gould in “The Magic of Mandalas”. One study has shown that coloring repeating patterns, like mandalas and plaids, alleviates anxiety.

In our story, you’ll find three nature-inspired patterns you can color yourself. They are provided by Tim Phelps, a medical illustrator in Johns Hopkins’ Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, who recently published two adult coloring books as a side project.

Give it a try. Stay well. Now I’m off to find my colored pencils!


Sonia Pulido
Sonia Pulido
Sonia Pulido (“The Human Factor” illustration) is a Barcelona-based artist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Harper’s Bazaar Spain, and Variety. She also illustrates books and engraves ceramics.
Greg Rienzi
Greg Rienzi
Greg Rienzi (“Creepy, Crawly Cures” and “Paging Badger”) is the associate editor of Johns Hopkins Health Review and a senior writer for Johns Hopkins Magazine. His dog and cat generally keep him calm.
Erika Engelhaupt
Erika Engelhaupt
Erika Engelhaupt (“Motion Aids Memory” and “Training Amoebas”) is a freelance science writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Science News, on National Public Radio, and in National Geographic, where she was the online science editor.
Colin Johnson
Colin Johnson
Colin Johnson (“How DNA Mistakes Cause Cancer” illustration) is a freelance illustrator and gallery artist who has exhibited around the world. His recent clients include Smithsonian and Harvard Business Review. He lives and works in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.