Discover In-Depth

Discover In-Depth offers longform nonfiction e-singles by award-winning writers. Our science narratives — which live at the intersection of deep research and great storytelling — are available via Apple, Amazon and the Discover bookstore for $1.99.

Our published e-singles are:

TICKED: The Battle Over Lyme Disease in the South

 

In this deep investigation of the science surrounding Lyme disease, writer Wendy Orent dissects how tick-borne illness is diagnosed in the Southern United States, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recognize Lyme — even though thousands of people in the South have reported Lyme-like symptoms and debilitating illness after exposure to ticks.  If left untreated, Lyme disease can result in devastating neurological and cardiac complications and difficult-to-treat pain and fatigue.

While patients elsewhere are far more likely to get diagnosed and treated in the early stages of the disease, sufferers of possible tick-borne illnesses in the South are left guessing at what is wrong and how to treat it. The issue is critical not only because of all of the unexplained illnesses in the South, but also because new tick-bore bacteria could be agents of disease nation- and worldwide.

TICKED examines the complex ecology of the Southern states, including a host of ticks and spirochetes that some researchers contend may be spreading a Lyme-like disease, if not Lyme itself. The story also dives into the fierce debate now brewing between scientists over how tick-borne illness is transmitted, detected and defined.
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OBSESSED: The Compulsions and Creations of Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz

 

Schwartz is best known to the public as the man who coached Leonardo DiCaprio for his Oscar-nominated role as the OCD-afflicted billionaire Howard Hughes in The Aviator. But his extraordinary professional contribution, achieved through a lifetime of obsessive work, is a breakthrough therapy that has helped free thousands of OCD sufferers from their habitual behaviors, compulsions and irrational fears.  

Considered a pariah among his academic peers, Schwartz’s unconventional treatment methods draw on his fascination with the Holocaust, his experience with Buddhist meditation and his pioneering work documenting the neural circuitry of OCD. By teaching his adult patients to willfully rewire their brains and reverse their disease, Schwartz has challenged the prevailing view in neuroscience that free will is dead. 

Veteran journalist Steve Volk, a senior writer at Philadelphia Magazine, skillfully balances the groundbreaking research of a philosopher-scientist with the story of a man battling demons of his own. Schwartz’s most pressing battle may actually be the one he fights against his compulsions and social awkwardness in his quest to find some accurate, workable definition of humanity that can help us overcome our darkest, most primitive selves.

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