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Understanding Inflammation
By Michael Anft
Chronic inflammation is a hot topic in the health media, but what do we really know about it and its effects on the body?
Staying Home
By Carlyn Kolker
From architectural interventions to new models of medical care, we're finding ways to help keep people happy and healthy in their homes as they age.
The Biology of Beauty
By Kriston Capps
The emerging field of neuroaesthetics hopes to answer the question of why we find meaning in art, dance, music, and architecture.


Expert Advice
Are There Any Proven Benefits to Fasting?
New findings in health, including the ill effects of interrupted sleep, the facts about cooking oils, and the genetics of nicotine addiction.
Ten Things
10 Items to Safeguard Your Home
Just Curious
What do surgical masks really protect against?
Book Report
What you should be reading.
Apps, gadgets, and other innovations that are advancing health and health science.
After bariatric surgery, Jessica Sharkey loses weight (and runs marathons).
News from the cutting edge of research: A headband to treat Parkinson's, a device to help with vaccinations, and insights into dementia.
Jill Andrews, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, made her first wedding gown in 1990. Now the wedding dress designer has used her couture skills to help design a better Ebola suit.
The Evolution of Time
By Ben Hobbs, Environmental Engineer, Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering

Letter from the Editor

Catherine Pierre, Editor-in-Chief
Catherine Pierre

When we came up with the idea to report on what we were calling “the cult of busy,” we immediately knew this story had to be written.

Many of us are working parents; all of us juggle our jobs, our relationships, the running of our households, our hobbies and workout routines. None of us feels like we have enough time to do it all, or at least not well.

Editor Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson set out to find the perfect freelancer to report and write the story . . . only to be told, again and again, “Nope, sorry, too busy.” Of course. And so it felt slightly ironic that Elizabeth—a card-carrying member of the cult—would step up and volunteer to write the story herself.

Her cover story, “The Cult of Busy”, does a wonderful job of pulling together a history of how we got to this point, an explanation of the toll such a hectic lifestyle takes on our health, and—most importantly—some guidance on how we might begin to slow things down a bit. I encourage you to find a comfy spot, sit down, breathe, and read her story.

While you’re at it, you can take a little more time to learn about how fasting might actually make our brains work better [“Expert Advice”], get advice from a registered dietitian about how to pick a good cooking oil [“Survey”], or learn about the fascinating work of neuroscientists who are trying to understand the brain’s role in creating our appreciation for art, music, and architecture [“The Biology of Beauty”].

If you’re a member of the cult of busy, taking time to read this magazine and think about your health is a good first step. Enjoy the issue, and please send any comments to us via email


Livia Cives
Livia Cives

Originally from Italy, Livia Cives (“Time to Vaccinate”) is an illustrator working in Stockholm. Her signature style combines traditional pen and ink with digital manipulation. An illustration that appeared in Johns Hopkins Magazine earned her a gold medal in the scientific category of the AI Annual Awards 2016.

Carlyn Kolker
Carlyn Kolker

Carlyn Kolker (“Staying Home”) is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. A former reporter for Bloomberg News and Reuters, she is working on a book about speech and language development in young children.

Michael Anft
Michael Anft

Formerly a senior writer for Johns Hopkins Magazine, Baltimore-based Michael Anft (“Understanding Inflammation”) writes for publications such as AARP The Magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. He is developing a TV drama based on human trafficking.

Jun Cen
Jun Cen

Jun Cen (“Short-Sheeting Sleep”) is a New York-based illustrator and animator. His work can be seen in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Verge, and more.