Brain and cognitive health

Sleep, stress, or hormones? Brain fog during perimenopause

During perimenopause, some women notice that they are having trouble focusing or are more forgetful. Are sleep disturbances, stress, or hormones behind this brain fog –– and what can you do to feel less foggy?

Simple, low-cost, low-tech brain training

Mentally stimulating activities help the brain create new connections that may prevent cognitive decline as people get older, and there are plenty of simple, low-tech ways to sharpen your thinking that are budget-friendly.

5 unusual headaches: Signs to watch for and what to do

Some types of headaches are easily recognizable, while others are less common, and if one occurs the symptoms can be puzzling or even frightening. When unusual or frequent headache occurs, take note of the symptoms so that you can describe them accurately to your doctor.

Midlife ADHD? Coping strategies that can help

When ADHD persists through early adulthood into middle age, it presents many of the same challenges it does in childhood, but with added pressures from the busier pace of life and expectations from work and family. Fortunately there are strategies that can help you navigate this condition.

Alcohol harms the brain in teen years –– before and after that, too

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

During adolescence, the brain grows and changes in crucial ways and is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. When teens and young adults drink alcohol, it can interfere with brain development processes and cause long-lasting effects.

Executive function in children: Why it matters and how to help

Although executive function skills begin to develop in the first year of life, the time at which children reach these milestones varies. Some children experience challenges or delays related to their executive function skills, but these skills can be improved through evidence-based interventions.

A new Alzheimer’s drug: From advisory panel to FDA — what’s at stake here?

The FDA is in the process of deciding whether to approve a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s. Two large clinical trials produced contradictory results, but other factors will affect the decision, including cost, incidence of side effects, the drug’s effectiveness, and more.

The tragedy of long COVID

Anthony Komaroff, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

Many thousands of people in the US have recovered from COVID-19 but continue to experience feelings of exhaustion, little energy, and mental fogginess that linger for months –– possible signs of long COVID, or PASC. These “long haulers” grapple with uncertainty around when –– and whether –– their health problems will resolve.

The hidden long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19

it is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 affects the nervous system along with the respiratory system. Research is suggesting that this may result in long-term neurologic damage in those who survive a COVID infection, including evidence of effects on cognitive function.

Why is music good for the brain?

A study conducted by AARP found correlation between a person’s engagement with music and their opinion of their brain health and cognitive ability. While the study did not involve any objective measure of brain health, music has been shown to activate multiple areas of the brain, and keeping brain pathways active helps keep the brain strong in older age.