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Our favorite science long reads of 2021

“The CDC has named ‘missed or delayed diagnosis’ as a key factor behind maternal deaths, and cardiologists and OB-GYNs admit that PPCM is often misdiagnosed or ignored. Symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and swelling in the feet and legs can mimic normal pregnancy discomfort, causing patients and doctors to miss the warning signs. But many survivors say that health care providers dismissed their concerns and neglected to order cardiac testing, including a simple blood test that can indicate heart failure. These missed opportunities are especially critical for PPCM patients, as their hearts can grow weaker by the day. Research has shown that the earlier people are diagnosed with PPCM, especially during late pregnancy or the first month after delivery, the more likely they are to recover.”

Over the course of each trip we take around the sun, the Popular Science staff produces thousands of stories, from breaking news to meaty features. Some of those tales stick in our heads for the long haul, and this year was no exception: These yarns, which include a decades-long quest to uncover a missing spyplane and a search for the fountain of youth, all dig deep into little-known truths about our world. Below are some of our favorite stories, including a few from our network of sibling publications, from the last year.

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