Archive for September, 2020

Whole grains or no grains? Food labels can be misleading

Food labels contain useful information about the nutritional value of the product, but a recent study found that consumers are more likely to be swayed by potentially misleading language on the front of a package than they are to pay attention to the information contained in the Nutrition Facts panel. Knowing how to interpret this information can help consumers make healthier choices.

Sick child this school year? Planning for the inevitable during a pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Kids get sick: it happens, and most of the time it’s not cause for concern or alarm. But this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic every symptom will be scrutinized. Parents need to be aware of what to do when their child shows signs of illness this year.

Treating mild hypothyroidism: Benefits still uncertain

More than 10 million adults in the US have hypothyroidism — when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs — but the vast majority of these cases are considered mild. Whether or not to treat mild hypothyroidism is an ongoing debate. There is a possible link between mild hypothyroidism and coronary artery disease, but researchers found that treating it in older people did not provide any benefit.

Managing the new normal: Actively help your family weather the pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

More than six months into the pandemic, it’s clear that we are going to be living with it for some time, and that expectations of life soon returning to normal are not realistic. This is a good time to assess the adjustments we’ve made and see how we can make different choices to get ourselves and our families through the challenge.

Lifestyle medicine for all: Healthy food comes first

Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based practice of helping people adopt and sustain healthy behaviors, such as eating a plant-based diet, which can lower inflammation, as well as the risk of many chronic diseases. Some doctors and organizations are working toward making lifestyle medicine more accessible.

CBD for chronic pain: The science doesn’t match the marketing

CBD, a non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is emerging as a promising pharmaceutical agent to treat pain and other conditions. Unfortunately, few studies in humans have examined its effectiveness, and the cannabis industry’s profit motive is driving a wave of dubious claims about what CBD can do.

Cough and cold season is arriving: Choose medicines safely

Millions of Americans get coughs and colds during the winter, and many head to the drugstore to pick up one of the hundreds of common medicines available without a prescription. But those products often contain multiple active ingredients that are potentially unsafe if combined. Here’s how to safely choose the right over-the-counter medication for your symptoms.

Discrimination, high blood pressure, and health disparities in African Americans

It is well established that African Americans have a higher risk of hypertension compared with other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. Researchers hypothesized that systemic, sustained discrimination could be a cause of this, and examined the effects of stress, discrimination, and injustice on health outcomes over the course of a person’s life.

Shorter dream-stage sleep may be related to earlier death

Alice Cai, MD

Contributor

It’s well known that getting enough sleep is critical to daily functioning and long-term health. Now, new research suggests that a lack of enough REM sleep may be related to earlier death in people at middle age or older.

Time for flu shots — getting one is more important than ever!

Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

Getting a flu shot is important every year, but this winter there is added urgency due to the COVID-19 pandemic: with both diseases circulating, hospitals may face shortages of beds and equipment –– and it’s possible to have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.