Jill U. Adams
Jill U. Adams
Science Journalist & Writer

Writing Portfolio




Washington Post


Long-term birth control is the most reliable. So why do so few young women use it?

For many women this college graduation season, the primary reason to see a doctor soon after graduation may be to get birth control. They may want to stick with whatever they’ve been using, whether that’s the pill or the patch or the vaginal ring. Or they may want to consider a broad menu of options that vary with regard to ease of use, side effects and duration of protection.

Washington Post

Why does it take so long to recover from pneumonia?

I was diagnosed with pneumonia in October. The doctor told me to rest, really rest. She told me to expect to feel better after a couple of days of antibiotics, but that I still must rest. She told me I would have good days, but they would be followed by bad days.

Washington Post

Trouble falling asleep? Prescription sleeping pills are popular, tempting — and risky.

Insomnia. “It’s a lifestyle thing; everybody’s got it,” says Gregg Jacobs, an insomnia specialist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. More than half of American adults, when asked, report that they suffer from insomnia symptoms — trouble falling asleep or waking up during the night — a few times a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation.



CQ Researcher


Drinking Water Safety

While water-quality experts deem most of the nation's drinking water safe, the recent crisis over lead-tainted water in Flint, Mich., dramatized the problems that plague communities nationwide: Lead and other toxic substances continue to pose a threat, and government agencies responsible for monitoring water safety sometimes fail to protect the public.


Chasing Dragonflies and Damselflies

Some birders travel to new places, even far-off countries, to add to their life lists. Others might swap their avian field guides for new quests. Butterflies, perhaps. Or, like Thomas Cullen, dragonflies.


Pooling Resources

As a kid growing up in rural Rhode Island, Aram Calhoun ran the frog patrol. When she caught neighborhood boys throwing frogs into traffic, she'd chase the offenders and beat them up. Then she'd persuade her adversaries to become allies. "I recruited two of the worst ones to my team," the ecologist recalls. "We'd go find frogs and save them." 



Washington Post


When winter brings the blues: How to treat seasonal affective disorder, or SAD

Winter is here. For some people, that means the winter blues are also here. Officially called seasonal affective disorder — with its descriptive acronym, SAD — winter blues can leave people feeling low on energy and muted to the normal joys of life.


When Overconfidence Backfires

Pace Smith learned a hard lesson. A few years ago she and her partner in Pace & Kyeli, a Portland, Ore.-based coaching and education business, developed a teleseminar they called the World-Changing Writing Workshop.

Washington Post

Health effects of retirement have proved hard for researchers to assess

When people stop working, everything about their weekday schedule changes. Their lives may move more slowly and be more relaxed. Losing work-related stress may come as a huge relief — and be good for your health. But losing your everyday movement and social interaction can also harm your health.



Washington Post


Physical activity may help kids do better in school, studies say

There’s little dispute that physical activity is good for kids: It not only helps develop muscles and fend off obesity, it also offers opportunities to socialize and learn new skills. Can physical activity also help improve a child’s academic performance?

Washington Post

Senioritis: Keeping 12th-graders engaged is a challenge for schools and parents

When I was a senior in high school, I remember feeling entitled. I could skip class when I wanted, and I didn’t care about a few lousy grades, particularly after those fat and thin letters from colleges arrived in early April. College envelopes may arrive virtually now, but “senioritis” still rules for most kids getting ready to leave the nest this spring. In fact, it may be worse than ever.



The Scientist


Do Microbes Trigger Alzheimer’s Disease?

In late 2011, Drexel University dermatology professor Herbert Allen was astounded to read a new research paper documenting the presence of long, corkscrew-shape bacteria called spirochetes in postmortem brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.


Genetics: Big hopes for big data

Technology is allowing researchers to generate vast amounts of information about tumours. The next step is to use this genomic data to transform patient care.

CQ Researcher

Manipulating the Human Genome

New genetic technologies allow scientists to delete a mutant gene and insert a healthy one, which someday may enable doctors to banish disease genes. Used in embryos, gene editing has the potential to eliminate inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis.


Health Journalism




Animal studies, reported well, include careful framing and clear caveats

Here at HealthNewsReview.org, we’ve been known to be critical of news articles making health care claims that are based on research in animals.




Despite flood of news stories, experts warn against unneeded tetanus shots after Harvey

For health care reporters covering Hurricane Harvey, there is no shortage of issues to address, whether it’s the health hazards of polluted flood waters, unexpected insect threats (fire ant rafts, anyone?) or the long-term risks of mold growth.


Challenge the (doctors’) party line on antibiotics

A couple of years ago, I was working in a coffee shop when a friend — an emergency room physician — stopped by to chat. I told him I was working on a story for a doctors’ newsletter comparing different guidelines for treating sinus infections. My friend went on a rant. “It doesn’t matter!” he blurted. “People come in and demand antibiotics! If you don’t give them what they want, they’ll go somewhere else and get it.”