Harvard Health Blog

Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.

Articles

Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?

The adoption of technology has grown rapidly among older adults, and with it have come potential benefits to mental health, daily functioning, and quality of life. Those who want to help an older person in their life might suggest one of the many options available.

Opioid addiction and overdoses are increasingly harming Black communities

The ongoing opioid epidemic in the US has been perceived as an issue that mostly affects white people in rural areas, but a recently published report from the CDC shows that the epidemic is now disproportionately affecting Black people.

Hand pain from arthritis? This may help

The joint connecting the thumb and wrist is crucial in everyday activities like opening jars or grasping objects, but if osteoarthritis develops, treatment options are limited and don't always work well. A new study has demonstrated the effectiveness of occupational therapy for arthritis in this joint of the hand.

Polio: What parents need to know now

Recent news reports about cases of polio have some parents concerned about the illness. The vaccine is safe and remarkably effective, and widespread vaccination builds herd immunity.

Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: When and where is it safe?

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic, and in 2019 an inhaled version of it was approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression. But it is generally prescribed only when other treatments have not been effective.

Have lupus? What to know about birth control

An estimated 7% of Americans have an autoimmune disorder, and these tend to disproportionately affect women. Expert guidelines can help with questions about the best birth control options for people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases.

Travel tummy troubles: Here's how to prevent or soothe them

Digestive troubles are no one's idea of fun, but having them occur while traveling or vacationing is even worse. Here's a closer look at three common digestive upsets, how to prevent them, and what to do if you have one.

Easy, delicious summer veggie meals will help stretch your food budget

Summertime offers a great variety of fresh vegetables. Making vegetables the focus of a meal has many health benefits, and anyone can take advantage of this by preparing them in simple yet delicious ways.

Tracking viruses: The best clues may be in the sewer

It's hard to accurately predict when new viral outbreaks will appear or old viruses will reappear and how to figure this out quickly enough to respond quickly. Wastewater testing, a tool that can help predict upticks in COVID cases, has also captured evidence of infectious diseases like polio, allowing preventive measures to be taken.

Promising therapy if PSA rises after prostate cancer surgery

After a man has had a radical prostatectomy, sometimes the level of the antigen PSA rises again later, meaning cancer may have returned. A study found that the normal therapy given when this happens is more effective when combined with other forms of treatment.

Should you try intermittent fasting for weight loss?

Intermittent fasting is limiting the window of time each day when a person eats. It has become popular as a weight loss tool, so people want to know if it's effective and whether it can work for them, and a recent study attempted to provide some answers.

Why are you taking a multivitamin?

One in three Americans takes a daily multivitamin even though research shows this doesn't provide any meaningful health benefits for most people. And because of the way supplements are regulated, some supplements make claims that have no evidence behind them.

Could eating fish increase your risk of cancer?

A new study found a higher risk of melanoma among people who ate the most fish, but limitations of this research mean it's premature to draw any conclusions about a relationship between eating fish and melanoma risk.

Can music improve our health and quality of life?

Humans' relationship with music is complex and individual, and there are times when music can have a clear and immediate impact on our well-being. Music therapy uses music as a therapeutic tool to address certain health care goals.

Millions rely on wheelchairs for mobility, but repair delays are hurting users

Wheelchairs allow millions of Americans with mobility disability to participate in daily activities and engage in community life. But when a wheelchair needs to be repaired, delays can mean a person is unable to leave their home or manage daily tasks for days.

Waist trainers: What happens when you uncinch?

Splashy advertisements suggest that compression devices called waist trainers can help you sculpt inches off your waistline. The claims far outweigh the evidence, but exercises that strengthen core muscles can also help shape your waist.

Preventing C. diff in and out of the hospital

The bacteria C. diff is responsible for half a million infections each year in the US. Many infections happen when people are hospitalized, but a recent report indicated that people can be infected without ever being hospitalized.

Managing weight gain from psychiatric medications

A side effect of many psychiatric medications is weight gain. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety and sleep medications, and mood stabilizers can all affect metabolism in ways that lead to increased weight, so it's important to know what you can do to lessen this unwanted effect.

Inflammatory bowel disease and family planning: What you need to know

Inflammatory bowel disease is commonly diagnosed at a point in life when many people are planning families. People who have been diagnosed with IBD are likely to have questions and concerns regarding fertility, conception, pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.

Can a vegan diet treat rheumatoid arthritis?

A recent study suggested a vegan diet is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and its lead author also said that people should try changing their eating patterns before turning to medication. But there is no evidence that changes in diet can prevent joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis.

A refresher on childhood asthma: What families should know and do

Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease in children, and it can make life more difficult and less enjoyable for both children and their parents. The good news is that asthma is very treatable; here's what families need to know.

Melasma: What are the best treatments?

Melasma is a skin condition affecting mostly women with darker skin. It cannot be fully prevented in those most likely to develop it, and there is no cure, but consistent sunscreen use is critical, and numerous treatment options are available.

Can an implanted tongue-stimulating device curb your sleep apnea?

A mask-free, implanted device for sleep apnea that works by stimulating the tongue was approved by the FDA in 2014 as a second-choice treatment for people who are unable to tolerate a positive airway pressure machine.

Poliovirus in wastewater: Should we be concerned?

Thanks to vaccination, the US has been polio-free since 1979, and the spread of this disease has been interrupted in most countries. But worldwide eradication of polio has been elusive, and traces of the virus were recently found in wastewater in London.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.