Elements of Style

Note to the SCC April 2, 2016   If you’re looking for a model of a doctor who writes about aspects of her practice in terms a lay person can understand and appreciate, nobody does it better than pediatrician Perri Klass.  Here are two recent pieces by Klass from the New York Times Science Section:

   • On using phones to connect young people to health care   Klass notes the positives: “It’s a truism in pediatrics that teenagers are often frustratingly vague about their symptoms — how long, how severe, getting better or worse. Their readiness to document their lives via cellphone can be highly useful since what used to be hard-photo-faculty-perri-klassto-pin-down stories in the office are now often illustrated. 

  • On eating spicy foods during pregnancy and while nursing.    It’s advantageous, Klass writes.  “The variety of flavors that you eat during pregnancy go into your blood and then into the amniotic fluid, which the baby is constantly drinking, in utero, and the flavors that you eat while nursing cross from the blood vessels that supply the mammary glands into the breast milk. So instead of restricting the maternal diet, there’s now good evidence that by eating a wide variety of healthy and tasty foods during these periods, we are actually doing our babies a major favor.

“’Breast-fed babies are generally easier to feed later because they’ve had this kind of variety experience of different flavors from their very first stages of life, whereas a formula-fed baby has a uniform experience,’ said Lucy Cooke, a psychologist specializing in children’s nutrition, who is a senior research associate at University College London. ‘The absolute key thing is repeated exposure to a variety of different flavors as soon as you can possibly manage; that is a great thing for food acceptance.’