Archive for December, 2019

Getting sleep in the hospital

There are many things about hospital routines that make it difficult for patients to sleep well. If you find yourself hospitalized, there are things you can do to improve the chances that you will get a better night’s sleep.

An omnivore’s dilemma: How much red meat is too much?

Recently, Annals of Internal Medicine published guidelines for consumption of red meat and processed meats that are at odds with established evidence of the increased risk of early death, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. So, how much red meat should we be eating?

Should you use probiotics for your vagina?

Probiotics are being promoted as a way for women to improve vaginal health, but unlike with the gut and digestion, there is almost no evidence for any benefit.

Eosinophilic esophagitis: A new food-related allergic condition on the rise?

John Garber, MD


Eosinophilic esophagitis is an allergic inflammation of the esophagus that most typically develops as an allergic response to certain foods. The exact cause is unclear, but if left untreated it can lead to permanent scarring or narrowing of the esophagus.

How to help your baby through shots and blood tests

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Vaccinations and blood draws for testing are painful moments for babies. But there are things parents can do to help their baby get through these procedures more easily.

A new look at steroid injections for knee and hip osteoarthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new report questions the effectiveness of steroid injections for osteoarthritis, but does this mean that everyone who is already receiving these injections, or may be a candidate for them, should avoid them?

Researchers urge prostate cancer screening for men with BRCA gene defects

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been criticized for flagging too many slow-growing tumors that might never be life-threatening. But some men have inherited gene defects that boost their risk of developing prostate cancers that can be quite aggressive. Is PSA screening particularly well-suited for these genetically defined groups? New research […]

Wearables and sleep: What can they really tell us?

Many people now wear smartwatches and other wrist-based devices, and use them to collect and track information about their sleep. But the algorithms that govern how the devices work are opaque, and there is no data comparing them to devices that sleep researchers use.

A low-tech school vacation: Keeping kids busy and happy without screens

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Wondering how to occupy your children during school break? Skip the screens and try these low-tech physical and creative pursuits.

Drills, needles, and pain, oh my! Coping with dental anxiety

Does the mere thought of going to the dentist make you anxious? You aren’t alone, but avoiding dental care appointments can lead to other health problems besides dental pain. But there are steps you can take to relieve that anxiety.