Usha Lee McFarling, STAT

Usha Lee McFarling


Los Angeles, CA, United States

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  • STAT
  • Scientific American
  • Fox News
  • Business Insider

Recent articles by Usha:

Before making unbiased pulse oximeters, researchers need a better way to measure skin tone

Much of the research to understand pulse oximeters’ shortcomings and devise solutions is focused on race. But the problem is not one of race — it’s very clearly one of skin tone. → Read More

Brains of Black Americans age faster, study finds, with racial stressors a likely factor

The brains of Black adults in the U.S. age more quickly than those of white and Hispanic adults, showing features linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as early as mid-life, according to a new study. → Read More

FDA panel asks for improvements in pulse oximeters

The FDA advisory panel members agreed that current regulations that allow oxygen readings to be inaccurate by up to 3% on average should be tightened in the future to 2% or even 1.5%. → Read More

How pulse oximeters work, and why they sometimes do not

Watch this short explainer to understand the technology behind pulse oximeters and why they can be less accurate in patients with darker skin. → Read More

Pulse oximeters and their inaccuracies will get FDA scrutiny today. What took so long?

An FDA advisory committee today will weigh whether pulse oximeters need to be regulated differently based on research showing the devices are less accurate in people with darker skin. For many, the question is what took so long. → Read More

‘Science is just rocketing forward’: A Q&A with former NIH director Francis Collins

Former NIH director Francis Collins spoke with STAT about his hopes for early-cancer detection, curing progeria, and other advancements in genetic research. → Read More

U.S. preventive health group recommends anxiety screening for kids 8 to 18

An influential national panel of preventive health experts said for the first time that children and adolescents between 8 and 18 should be screened for anxiety. → Read More

Where caregiving is a family affair, Alzheimer’s places a heavy burden on children and spouses

Where caregiving is a family affair, it’s almost unthinkable for children and spouses to place loved ones in nursing facilities — even if those options were affordable. → Read More

On the Texas-Mexico border, a bold plan to diversify Alzheimer’s research takes shape

For decades, Alzheimer’s researchers have recruited patients for clinical trials in largely the same way. Alzheimer's disease researcher Gladys Maestre came to Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to change that. → Read More

‘A poster child’ for diversity in science: Black engineers work to fix long-ignored bias in oxygen readings

The fact that Black engineers are leading the charge to fix the long-ignored disparity with pulse oximeters is a clear example of what’s lost when most scientists are white. → Read More

There aren’t nearly enough Native American physicians. A crash course in medicine seeks to change that

There aren't nearly enough Native American physicians. A crash course in medicine seeks to change that. → Read More

What will it take to level the playing field for Black residents?

Solutions advocated by scholars and doctors include collecting and making public data and improving due process protections and mentorship for residents. → Read More

‘It was stolen from me’: Black doctors are forced out of training programs at far higher rates than white residents

A STAT investigation found that Black residents leave or are terminated from training programs at far higher rates than white residents. → Read More

Life expectancy for Native Americans has stagnated — even long before Covid

Life expectancy for Native Americans has stagnated, a new study finds. “To have that long of a period of time and no increase in life expectancy was probably the most shocking finding,” one of the authors said. → Read More

Faulty oxygen readings delayed Covid treatments for darker-skinned patients, study finds

Covid-19 care was delayed for Black and Hispanic patients due to inaccurate oxygen readings from devices that can work poorly in darker-skinned people, a new study finds. → Read More

Even as medicine becomes more diverse, main authors in elite journals remain mostly white and male

When looking just at the main authors of high-profile journal articles, representation of women and people of color appears to have stagnated in recent years, a new analysis reveals. → Read More

The nation hasn’t made much progress on health equity. These leaders forged ahead anyway

The U.S. hasn’t made much progress on health equity. These leaders forged ahead anyway. → Read More

20 years ago, a landmark report spotlighted systemic racism in medicine. Why has so little changed?

Two decades ago, a landmark report spotlighted systemic racism in medical care. Why has so little changed? → Read More

‘The numbers are pretty appalling’: Asian scientists rarely awarded top scientific prizes

“Frankly, the numbers are pretty appalling,” said University of California, San Francisco, scientist Yuh Nung Jan. “What kind of message are they sending?” → Read More

Orthopedic surgeons pride themselves on fixing things. Can they fix their own field’s lack of diversity?

The lack of diversity in orthopedic surgery, which has persisted over decades, raises what many call the billion-dollar question: Will the field known for fixing broken people ever be able to fix itself? → Read More