Prevention

Could COVID-19 infection be responsible for your depressed mood or anxiety?

We are still learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the brain, but we know that the pandemic has resulted in worsening mental health for many people. A new study confirmed that COVID-19 infection increased the risk of developing psychiatric disorders.

Could what we eat improve our sleep?

Diet, exercise, and sleep work together, and all three can have an effect on our daily well-being and longevity. Sleep impacts our eating patterns, and our eating patterns affect our sleep: lack of quality sleep may make people eat more, and make less healthy food choices, but certain foods contain substances that may enhance sleep.

Are early detection and treatment always best?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The culture of American medicine has long believed and supported the idea that more early detection and treatment is best. But some testing is costly, invasive and carries needless risks, and some conditions go away on their own. Early detection and treatment can be lifesaving — just not for every health issue.

Can I take something to prevent colorectal cancer?

Screening for colorectal cancer can lower mortality, but it varies in effectiveness and is not always possible to perform, so alternatives are needed. Researchers analyzing studies found evidence for regular use of low-dose aspirin, leading the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend it for some people.

Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, you may have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Get informed by consulting trusted health sources, and talk with your medical providers about your options.

Making the most of physical activity apps

Most people know exercise is good for their health, but only about half of Americans meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. Making exercising more fun helps keep people interested, and research has demonstrated that there is a relationship between using activity apps and increased engagement in exercise.

Good news: Deaths due to HIV are way down

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new study cites a remarkable decline in deaths due to HIV infection, and dramatically fewer new cases of HIV infection in the US over the past decade. But there is still a long way to go before declaring victory over HIV/AIDS.

Masks save lives: Here’s what you need to know

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Early in the pandemic, there was confusion and skepticism about whether wearing masks would be helpful for the general public, but a rapidly expanding body of evidence shows that mask-wearing leads to lower rates of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Migraine headaches: Could nerve stimulation help?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Millions of people suffer from migraines, and research has been trying to understand what causes them. A current theory involves branches of the trigeminal nerve. Now the FDA has cleared an over-the-counter device to prevent or treat migraine by stimulating this nerve with mild electrical shocks.

Be vigilant about bug spray

Steve Calechman

Contributor

It’s likely people are trying to spend more time outside this summer, whether to avoid indoor situations where COVID-19 may spread or just for enjoyment. But the threat from illnesses spread by ticks and mosquitoes hasn’t changed, so knowing basic information about insect repellent, and using it the right way, will help people protect themselves.