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.


7 strategies for partnering up with ED

Published November 19, 2020

Men who have erectile dysfunction are often embarrassed and are reluctant to talk about their condition. But significant others can help by offering much-needed support in a number of ways.

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

Updated August 6, 2021

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.

Hypertension, health inequities, and implications for COVID-19

Published November 18, 2020

In the US, racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to have hypertension, thus putting them at higher risk for a COVID-19 infection. Controlling blood pressure helps reduce risk, but the underlying health inequities that make these groups more vulnerable also need to be addressed.

Migraine headaches: Could nerve stimulation help?

Published November 17, 2020

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.

College student coming home? What to know and do

Published November 16, 2020

Due to the pandemic, many college students are coming home at Thanksgiving for an extended winter break. Having anyone reenter your household as COVID-19 cases rise across the US is challenging, and requires thought and planning to keep everyone safe — and sane. Here’s what families need to think about.

Birth control and high blood pressure: Which methods are safe for you?

Published November 13, 2020

Doctors typically recommend that women who have high blood pressure avoid using birth control that contains estrogen to avoid raising risks for a stroke or heart attack. According to a clinical update, this recommendation may be changing for some women with high blood pressure.

Quarantine snacking fixer-upper

Published November 12, 2020

Eating more than you should since the start of the pandemic, especially unhealthy, highly processed snack foods? If you’re looking for advice on how to break your snacking habits and form new, better habits with healthier snacks, try these tips.

A new Alzheimer’s drug: From advisory panel to FDA — what’s at stake here?

Published November 12, 2020

The FDA is in the process of deciding whether to approve a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s. Two large clinical trials produced contradictory results, but other factors will affect the decision, including cost, incidence of side effects, the drug’s effectiveness, and more.

Drugstore skincare: Science-backed anti-aging ingredients that don’t break the bank

Published November 11, 2020

Treating age-related skin changes does not require an investment in expensive products, or a visit to a dermatologist. Products available in drugstores with proven ingredients and without a prescription can help with various skin issues or problems.

How to recognize a ministroke or stroke — and what to do

Published November 10, 2020

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or ministroke, is caused by a temporary lack of blood in part of the brain, usually from a clot. The fleeting symptoms of a TIA can be a warning of risk for an imminent, more serious stroke. In the event of a stroke, getting help immediately is crucial, and knowing the signs will make that more likely.

Does lupus or arthritis affect your prognosis if you get COVID-19?

Published November 9, 2020

People with certain chronic conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. These include a compromised immune system, which can happen for a number of reasons. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus take drugs that suppress the immune system, and new research examined the risks associated with such a situation.

Early birds may be more active, but night owls can catch up

Updated December 18, 2020

Researchers measuring activity levels found that people who tend to go to bed later and sleep later also tend to get less physical activity, compared to early risers. However, these results don’t mean that being a night owl is the cause of getting less activity, or that such behavior can’t be changed.

Type 2 diabetes: Which medication is best for me?

Published November 5, 2020

When diet and exercise are not enough for a person with diabetes to manage their blood sugar, one or more medications may be needed. Adding a second medication can offer additional benefits beyond blood sugar control, but the benefits and risks of these newer classes of drugs must be weighed for each person.

It’s still true: Not all the news about COVID-19 is bad

Published November 4, 2020

We’re more than nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue to face new challenges every day. But there are still positive developments in the fight against the virus, which should be recognized.

Coping With IBS

Updated November 12, 2020

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex and painful condition. Its cause is unknown and there is no cure, so treatment focuses on day-to-day management, but often people need additional assistance beyond medical care to cope with emotional side of living with IBS.

Defusing the “Benadryl challenge”: Discussing danger with teens

Published November 2, 2020

Viral challenges encourage risky behavior in teens with potentially serious consequences. The reasons teens do things like this are rooted in the development process of the adolescent brain, and adults need to understand why such challenges appeal to teens in order to talk to them about why they aren’t safe.

Intermittent fasting: Does a new study show downsides — or not?

Published October 30, 2020

Growing evidence shows that intermittent fasting leads to significant weight loss. A recent study contradicted these findings, but the way this study was designed and implemented raises some questions about its conclusions.

Keeping your family safe this Thanksgiving

Published October 29, 2020

This year, the safest choice for celebrating Thanksgiving is to do so at home only with those you live with, yet some people are still going to want to gather. If you are considering celebrating with others, there are some things you can do to help limit COVID-related risks.

Talking to your doctor about an abusive relationship

Published October 29, 2020

Intimate partner violence can occur between people of any gender or sexual orientation. Abuse can leave people feeling isolated, confused, or hopeless, and talking to a health professional is one way to get help in the form of medical treatment or access to appropriate services.

Mind-body medicine in addiction recovery

Published October 28, 2020

Mind-body medicine, the use of behavioral and lifestyle interventions to address medical problems, is becoming a key component of recovery from addiction. There are now several scientifically-based mind-body medicine options for people in recovery, and promising research on their effectiveness.

What your skin should expect when you’re expecting

Published October 27, 2020

During pregnancy many women experience changes in their skin, some of which can linger for some time after giving birth. Most of these changes are not cause for concern and will improve, and in some cases there are treatments available for them.

Making special education work for your child during COVID-19

Published October 26, 2020

The pandemic has forced parents everywhere to face problems that don’t have clear solutions regarding their children’s schooling. For parents of children with disabilities who receive special education, these concerns are even more challenging, and parental choices are even more difficult.

Aspirin and breast cancer risk: How a wonder drug may become more wonderful

Updated October 23, 2020

Over the years, the list of aspirin’s potential benefits has grown: a number of studies suggest that taking aspirin regularly can lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Now recent studies suggest that aspirin may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Promoting equity and community health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Published October 22, 2020

At one Boston health care system a range of initiatives aimed at improving health care equity were launched as the pandemic swept forward last spring, taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color. Building on this could prove key as the virus resurges this winter.

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