Usha Lee McFarling, STAT

Usha Lee McFarling


Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Past articles by Usha:

National Academies calls for transforming use of racial and ethnic labels in genetics research

Genetics researchers inconsistently and inappropriately use racial and ethnic labels, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report concluded. → Read More

How one medical school became remarkably diverse — without considering race in admissions

The diversity of medical school classes has barely budged in recent decades, even with the ability to consider an applicant’s race as one factor in → Read More

MRI scans reveal disparate impact of poverty and other ‘toxic stress’ on brains of Black children

Stressful experiences during early childhood — particularly economic strife — can alter regions of the brain tied to the processing of stress and trauma, a study found. → Read More

Paying research participants — a lot — may be a key to increasing diversity in studies

Can paying people narrow racial and ethnic gaps in who signs up for clinical trials? A new study finds that if the amount is too small, it could have the opposite effect. → Read More

U.S. imposes Covid testing requirements on travelers from China

The U.S. announced Wednesday that it is requiring travelers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding flights to the U.S. → Read More

No one’s quite sure how to fix pulse oximeters. The FDA asked this lab to find answers

In the search for how to fix pulse oximeters, FDA regulators have turned to a single small lab in San Francisco whose visionary founder helped develop modern blood monitoring tools. → Read More

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