Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

NEWS FEATURE: The vagina catalogues

By Alison McCook When Heather went on vacation last year at the same time that she was participating in an unusual research project, she knew the relatives she was sharing a room with might be curious about what she was sticking inside the hotel freezer. Rather than explaining, “I would say ‘just don’t touch this cup’,” recalls the 34-year-old health counselor from Baltimore. Thankfully, no one did. Heather (not her real name) was one of 160 healthy, reproductive-age women who took part in a study that asked much more of its participants than the typical research project. The cup in 


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