Recent Blog Articles

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

Why is topical vitamin C important for skin health?

Published November 10, 2021

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it fights harmful toxins that come in contact with your skin either externally or from inside the body. Products containing vitamin C that are applied to the skin may help slow early skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles, spots, and acne.

Preventing preeclampsia may be as simple as taking an aspirin

Published November 9, 2021

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that can cause serious health issues. While it can happen during any pregnancy, certain risk factors increase its likelihood. Now, a statement from the US Preventive Services Task Force supported by a review of research recommends that doctors prescribe a low-dose daily aspirin for those at risk.

Caring for an aging parent? Tips for enjoying holiday meals

Published November 8, 2021

When you are a caregiver for an aging parent, the joy of gathering for holiday meals can be overshadowed by stress. Planning in advance for things like the day’s schedule, timing of the meal, what food your parent can or will eat, and making sure medications are taken will help children and parents enjoy the meal with as little stress as possible.

A conversation about reducing the harms of social media

Published November 5, 2021

Social media can connect people across the globe, with a potential audience of millions of users. But no matter how many likes a post gets, it can feel like it’s not enough, opening users — particularly young people — to potential mental health issues, and raising the question of whether the government should impose regulations on social media companies.

Wondering about COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11?

Published November 3, 2021

While the FDA has authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, and the CDC recommends it, parents are still likely to have questions about the vaccine and how COVID-19 affects younger children.

Menopause and memory: Know the facts

Published November 3, 2021

The number of people in the US with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to climb drastically over the coming decades, and two-thirds of those people will be women. Understanding factors that happen earlier in life, and how they impact the brain later, is critical for developing strategies to prevent this public health crisis. Studies are examining the ways menopause affects the brain and how to maintain memory.

Preparing for the holidays? Don’t forget rapid tests for COVID-19

Published November 2, 2021

As the holiday season approaches again, the desire to gather is tempered by lingering concerns about COVID-19. Rapid COVID-19 tests could provide some reassurance if testing is done as guests arrive at a host’s home, though it’s important to be aware of the limitations of this approach, including cost, availability, reliability, and how results are obtained.

How to get your child to put away toys

Published November 1, 2021

If you frequently find yourself tripping over your child’s toys, then you know the challenges of getting younger children to clean up. Taking a calm, rational approach and issuing clear and specific instructions will enhance your chances of success.

Is a common pain reliever safe during pregnancy?

Published October 29, 2021

A recent statement from a group of doctors and scientists raised concerns around taking acetaminophen during pregnancy, but research backing this is based on observational studies and animal studies, so that no firm conclusions can be drawn from it. Here's what to consider if you're pregnant.

Can vaping help you quit smoking?

Published October 28, 2021

While considered less harmful than smoking tobacco, vaping is not risk-free, so the FDA’s recent announcement authorizing sales of new vaping products was surprising. Some research suggests e-cigarettes may help some people quit or cut back on smoking, but there are many concerns about their known and potential health risks — especially for children and teens.

Gastroparesis: A slow-emptying stomach can cause nausea and vomiting

Published October 27, 2021

Gastroparesis is a condition that causes delay in the emptying of food from the stomach. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and can affect nutrition and quality of life. Treatment may involve medication or a procedure, but a correct diagnosis is necessary first.

Can blue light-blocking glasses improve your sleep?

Published October 26, 2021

Exposure to blue light during the daytime is desirable: it helps synchronize the body’s circadian clock and helps people stay alert. But stimulation from certain wavelengths of blue light in the hours leading up to bedtime can interfere with sleep. Glasses that block stimulating blue light, whether prescription or not, are being touted as helping with sleep, but the evidence is questionable.

Skills children need to succeed in life — and getting youngsters started

Published October 25, 2021

All parents want their children to be happy and able to successfully navigate life’s challenges. Five core skills form a great foundation and the early childhood window is particularly important for developing them. Parents can help their children learn and strengthen these skills in the course of everyday activities.

Thinking about COVID booster shots? Here’s what to know

Updated November 30, 2021

Now that a booster shot is recommended for some people who had COVID-19 vaccines, many of us have questions about the right timing, dose, and type of vaccine to seek.

Cancer survivors' sleep is affected long after treatment

Published October 22, 2021

According to a new study, many people who have survived cancer treatment experience poor sleep long after treatment has ended. These people also reported emotional distress, financial hardship, and concern that their cancer might return. Many sleep disorders can be treated successfully, but an accurate diagnosis is essential to choosing the correct treatment.

Do I have to yell so much?

Published October 21, 2021

Do you frequently find yourself in situations where you resort to yelling? If you feel like doing that doesn’t help and doesn’t make the situation better, that is a good first step. It helps to understand why people yell, but beyond that it’s up to you to take control and employ strategies to regulate yourself in tense situations.

What to do when elective surgery is postponed

Published October 20, 2021

When hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients, elective surgeries need to be postponed. If your elective surgery is temporarily derailed, what steps can you take to help yourself cope and be prepared for when the surgery is rescheduled?

What happened to trusting medical experts?

Published October 19, 2021

In all aspects of our lives, we rely on the knowledge and advice of experts. So why are hundreds of thousands of people in the US rejecting advice on COVID-19 from well-respected health authorities, and embracing advice from those with dubious expertise –– and unproven and potentially dangerous remedies?

Stuttering in children: How parents can help

Published October 18, 2021

Stuttering in children is fairly common: as many as 10% of children stutter between the ages of 2 and 6. Although the majority of them stop, it can be distressing for both the children and their parents. Here's how to help your child manage stuttering and when to talk to your pediatrician or a speech-language specialist.

Icy fingers and toes: Poor circulation or Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Published October 15, 2021

Some people have poor circulation, but if your fingers pale and go numb when exposed to quick changes in temperature, it could be Raynaud’s phenomenon, a different kind of circulation problem. Generally, avoiding sudden exposure to cold and other factors that cause blood vessels to constrict, and being prepared with gloves and extra layers of clothing, helps.

Evoking calm: Practicing mindfulness in daily life helps

Published October 14, 2021

It’s easy to feel too busy to be mindful, but everyone can find a few minutes during the day to pause and reflect. Even a brief, regular mindfulness practice provides a respite from the pace and stress of life, and can help with memory, concentration, and focus.

Finding balance: 3 simple exercises to steady your steps

Published October 13, 2021

Being able to maintain balance is crucial to performing everyday activities. As people get older, systems in the body that help maintain balance aren’t as responsive as when they were younger. Practicing these exercises designed to improve balance helps build steadiness and prevent falls.

Boosting your child’s immune system

Published October 12, 2021

As children go through another school year under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are asking what they can do to keep their children healthy. While no magic solutions can ward off every illness, parents can take steps to help children — and everyone in their household — protect their health by keeping their immune systems robust.

Study: No effect on cognitive functioning from treatments for advanced prostate cancer

Published October 11, 2021

Some people being treated for cancer experience problems with memory and thinking, but most of the evidence for these effects comes from women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. A recent study looked at whether men being treated for prostate cancer experienced similar effects.

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