Healthy Aging

Want to improve your memory? Get a good night’s sleep!

Sleep is important for your memory, as the brain uses the time you are sleeping to process new information and consolidate it for later recall. If you are tired from a lack of sleep, it’s more difficult to pay attention, and attention is necessary to good memory function.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Mitochondria do a lot for you — what can you do for them?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Mitochondria are the power stations in our cells that convert nutrients into energy, and research suggests that they play a key role in aging and immune function. Ads for a line of supplements claim that the product renews or replenishes mitochondria –– but is there any scientific proof of this?

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.

Glaucoma: What’s new and what do I need to know?

Joan Miller, MD

Contributor

Glaucoma, the second leading cause of permanent blindness in the US, is a group of disorders that damage the optic nerve. It is a complex disease, and while there is currently no cure, diagnosis and prompt treatment can slow or stop progression of vision loss. All adults should have regular eye exams starting at age 40, whether vision is normal or not.

Does your health monitor have device bias?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The accuracy of health monitoring devices available to consumers varies, and in some instances skin tone may make a difference –– a problem called device bias. Yet proper function of such devices can have significant implications for the health of those using them.

What’s your approach to health? Check your medicine cabinet

Attitudes toward health –– broadly, maximalist or minimalist –– tend to form early in life and are embedded in our family’s approach to health and well-being. The contents of your medicine cabinet reflect which approach you prefer.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Can an arthritis drug help you become a morning person?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

An ad for an arthritis medication seems to suggest that taking it will alleviate or even eliminate morning stiffness, allowing you to hop out of bed. Like most drug ads, this one has unspoken messages and glosses over questions about side effects and cost.

Shingles of the eye can cause lasting vision impairment

There are about one million cases of shingles in the US each year, and up to 20% of those involve nerves in the head, where the infection can affect various parts of the eye. If a case of shingles involves the upper face, forehead, or scalp, it is important to see an ophthalmologist promptly, because complications can lead to eye damage and possible vision impairment.

How not to lose money because of Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers found that people who go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder are more likely to miss paying a bill prior to being diagnosed, but such people face more significant related issues: poor financial decision-making and falling victim to financial scams.

We’re supposed to make resolutions now?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

After everything that has happened in 2020, making New Year’s resolutions might be too much to expect of many. Setting goals for the coming year seems like too much to ask right now. Is it okay to just give yourself a break this year? Or is there another way of looking at the whole situation?