Recent Blog Articles
Overeating? Mindfulness exercises may help
Genes protective during the Black Death may now be increasing autoimmune disorders
Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?
Have you done your crossword puzzle today?
Concerned about your child’s development?
Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is...
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Harvard Health Blog
Read the latest posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.
Shingles can strike twice. Will the shingles vaccine help?
Oscar or not, The King’s Speech teaches about stuttering
The King’s Speech has won almost universal praise for its portrayal of reluctant monarch George VI’s stuttering. Harvard Health Letter editor Peter Wehrwein takes you behind the scenes with Alex Johnson, an expert in speech and stuttering at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston; Caroline Bowen, an Australian speech-language therapist; and a few other scattered sources.
When it comes to fiber, cereal fiber may be your best choice
Cereal fiber–from whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, barley and other whole grains–seems to offer more protection against heart disease and other chronic conditions than fiber from fruits and vegetables. The benefit isn’t necessarily from the fiber alone, but the natural package of nutrients that comes with the fiber. Processed foods, which are often stripped of their fiber and nutrients and then “fortified” in the manufacturing process, don’t measure up.
Cell phone use stimulates brain activity
An elegant new study showing that a cell phone can stimulate brain activity is certain to heat up the debate about whether or not cell phone use is linked to cancer. It’s an important signal that it’s high time scientists take a harder look at how the energy radiated by a cell phone, a mobile phone, or any other energy-emitting device we hold next to our heads affects the brain.
Zinc for the common cold? Not for me
The latest hubbub about taking zinc to shorten a cold is media hype at its finest. The review that sparked the media storm on zinc and colds says there’s a lot more to be done before recommending taking zinc for the common cold. The negative side effects of zinc are also worth considering.
Deep brain stimulation: Experts raise alarms about aggressive marketing
Deep brain stimulation, an experimental treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), is being misused, say prominent neuroscientists and ethicists in a hard-hitting paper in the journal Health Affairs. Their concerns echo cautions reported last year in the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
What to do when health problems or medical treatments thwart your love life
Health problems, or treatments for them, sometimes thwart sexual desire and sexual function. There may not be a quick fix for health-related sexual problems, but there are things you can do to enjoy your love life while taking care of the rest of your health.
Heart disease forecast: Gloomy, with boom time ahead
The American Heart Association is predicting a big increase in cardiovascular disease over the next 20 years, fueled largely by the aging of baby boomers. Greater attention to heart-healthy living among boomers, their children, and grandchildren, could prove the AHA wrong.
Football and concussions: Old school, new school, and a conversation with Jerry Kramer
Tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m., tens of millions of television sets will be turned on as Americans sit down and participate in that unofficial national holiday called “watching the Super Bowl.” For many, it’s an excuse to see funny ads and the half-time show and to eat (how many of those spanking new Dietary Guidelines will be broken?), drink, and socialize. But […]
Use your brain to avoid weight gain—by fighting portion inflation
The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend portion control as a way to maintain or lose weight. The inflation of portion sizes makes that difficult. But you can use your brain to help you control portions and eat less.
New dietary guidelines offer little new guidance
The latest iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans focuses on weight and lowers the recommended salt intake for African Americans, people with diabetes, and others. Beyond that, the guidelines don’t offer much that is new. And what’s in there is often spoiled by vague language.
Feeling S.A.D.? Lighten up if it’s seasonal affective disorder
This picture shows the view from my office window in Boston: dull, dreary, and depressing — at least on overcast days like today. Lack of light is one of the reasons that people feel mentally foggy. One of the bloggers I follow, Rachel Zimmerman of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, recently wrote that she’s been drinking three […]
End-of-life planning makes it easier to say goodbye
FDA approves new treatment for head lice
A new FDA approved treatment for head lice, called Natroba, could be a useful addition to the anti-lice armamentarium, since some head lice have become resistant to the active ingredients in current over-the-counter anti-lice products.
The Tucson shooting and mental illness
When reports arrived that accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner had opened fire in Tucson, Arizona on January 7, journalistic first responders linked the incident to the fierceness of political rhetoric in the United States. Upon reflection, some of the discussion has turned to questions about mental illness, guns, and violence. And plenty of reflection is […]
“Just in case” heart tests can do more harm than good
Here’s an important equation that all of us—doctors included—should know about health care, but don’t: More ≠ Better “More does not equal Better” applies to diagnostic procedures, screening tests meant to identify problems before they appear, medications, dietary supplements, and just about every aspect of medicine. That scenario is spelled out in alarming detail in […]
Good investigative reporting may finally debunk the myth that vaccines cause autism
For years now, both individual researchers and respected scientific organizations such as the Institute of Medicine have tried to refute a persistent myth — that childhood vaccines cause autism. The myth began after a small study published in 1998 in the Lancet by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues at Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine […]
Our newest book: Saying Goodbye
I’m excited to introduce one of Harvard Health Publishing’ newest books, Saying Goodbye: How Families Can Find Renewal Through Loss. The book, by psychologists Barbara Okun and Joseph Nowinski, explores the concept of “new grief” — the way that people now grieve when medical science prolongs lives for weeks, months, or even years. A recent […]
Why we do what we do: good health information can save lives
My colleagues at Harvard Health Publishing and I have a mission: to provide accurate, reliable information that will help readers live healthier lives. We work hard to fulfill that mission, and the feedback we get from folks who read our newsletters, Special Health Reports, books, and online health information indicates we are on the right […]
Echinacea for colds
Does echinacea, the popular natural cold remedy, really work? It depends on what you mean by “work.” Results reported in today’s Annals of Internal Medicine found that echinacea may reduce the length of a weeklong cold by 7 to 10 hours and make symptoms a little less onerous. That can’t be characterized as a major effect, so many people may figure that […]
The safety of painkillers
Perhaps as many as one in every 5 American adults will get a prescription for a painkiller this year, and many more will buy over-the-counter medicines without a prescription. These drugs can do wonders—getting rid of pain can seem like a miracle—but sometimes there’s a high price to be paid. Remember the heavily marketed COX-2 inhibitors? Rofecoxib, sold as Vioxx, […]
A Chia Pet for diabetes?
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified […]
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