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.


Ready for your routine medical checkup?

Published July 28, 2021

Before the pandemic did you schedule a routine, in-person health checkup every year? Is this necessary or can you safely skip a year or consider a telehealth visit or a combination of in-person and virtual care? There are pros and cons to these options and no single solution will work for everyone.

Nicotine addiction explained — and how medications can help

Published July 27, 2021

Addiction is now understood to be a neurological disorder that results from changes to the brain’s reward center caused by addictive substances. Ideally, treatment for nicotine addiction combines medication to suppress cravings with counseling to help patients reprogram their behavior.

Is your vision impaired? Tips to cope

Published July 26, 2021

Living with low or impaired vision comes with many challenges. Accessibility features on computer hardware and software, special devices, and adaptations to your home can help make daily life easier when living with a vision impairment.

Misgendering: What it is and why it matters

Published July 23, 2021

For people who are transgender or nonbinary, being misgendered may be a daily occurrence. When this happens, people feel invalidated and unseen, and the burden can negatively affect their mental health. Making the effort to use the right names, pronouns, and honorifics when addressing a person shows respect and support for those around you and how they identify themselves.

Healthy brain, healthier heart?

Published July 22, 2021

Researchers have increasingly found links between poor mental health and higher heart disease risk. Stress, childhood trauma, and other issues may affect behavior and trigger physical changes that elevate heart risk. Taking steps to support mental health can potentially improve heart health as well.

Stories connect us

Published July 21, 2021
Research has shown that social isolation is bad for our health. Sharing our personal stories helps connect us, and it is an important aspect of maintaining mental health and managing chronic conditions.

Wondering about a headline-grabbing drug? Read on

Published July 20, 2021

News stories frequently tout "breakthrough" drugs, but how often does this turn out to be true? When you read or hear about the results of a study for a new medication, these steps can help you ask questions to get the full story and a better sense of what it might mean for your health.

Respiratory virus cases tick upward: What parents should know

Updated October 23, 2022

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under a year old. Usually, cases drop in spring and summer, but the pattern is changing and parents should be watchful.

Hope: Why it matters

Published July 16, 2021
As humans, we live our lives in a chaotic world, knowing that bad things happen to people every day, yet we are expected to continue moving forward. How do we do this? By finding ways to confront life’s dangers with hope, an essential component of our well-being.

Will new guidelines for heart failure affect you?

Published July 15, 2021
Heart failure can limit a person’s ability to accomplish daily tasks, affect quality of life, and even shorten lives. Updated guidelines for one form of heart failure are available to help clinicians and people living with this condition navigate complex therapy options.

Want probiotics but dislike yogurt? Try these foods

Published July 14, 2021
One reason people eat yogurt is because it contains probiotics — beneficial bacteria and yeasts that improve digestion, provide protection from dangerous organisms, and boost the immune system. But not everyone likes the taste or texture of yogurt, so here are some other foods that offer the same benefits.

Is our healthcare system broken?

Published July 13, 2021

The US healthcare system is expensive, complicated, dysfunctional — and broken. The system needs a major overhaul, and the arguments for this fall into a few broad categories: high costs, uneven access, and undue emphasis on areas of spending that do not directly benefit patients

A new treatment for advanced prostate cancer improves survival in phase 3 clinical trial

Published July 12, 2021
Radiation therapy is getting more precise, making it easier to kill tumors while sparing their surrounding tissues. Some newer therapies deliver radiation particles directly to the cancer cell itself. One of these new therapies is now generating promising data for men with the most aggressive prostate cancer.

What’s the relationship between diabetes and dementia?

Published July 12, 2021
It has been known for many years that type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk for stroke and heart disease, and more recent studies have shown that diabetes also increases risk of dementia. But new research examined the association between when a person first is diagnosed with diabetes and their risk of developing dementia later.

Preventing sudden heart death in children: 4 questions can help

Published July 9, 2021

It’s extremely rare for a child to die suddenly because of a heart problem, but there are several conditions that can lead to a risk of sudden death. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement outlining four questions about personal and family health history that can help identify children who may be at risk.

Band together for stronger legs

Published July 8, 2021
Using your own body weight for exercise is simple and straightforward, but sometimes you need to further challenge your muscles. Resistance bands are versatile, portable, and easy to use to strengthen legs. These four leg exercises with resistance bands will enhance your lower-body workouts.

Supporting a bullied child

Published July 7, 2021

If you learn your child has been bullied, ignore the temptation to fantasize about retaliation and focus on your child’s immediate needs instead. Parents can’t stop bullies from crossing paths with their children, but they can teach their children how to manage such situations.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: How helpful are pulse monitors and home ECGs?

Updated January 26, 2022

Ads for consumer health monitoring devices make it seem like having ready and regular access to heart rate, heart rhythm, and electrocardiogram data is something everyone needs. While it may help some people with existing heart conditions, how about for an average person without such a concern?

Want more happiness? Try this

Published July 2, 2021
The weight of events of the past year-plus has left many people in need of a mood boost, but even in normal times, people often struggle to find happiness. Positive psychology helps people find ways to improve their mood and life outlook, and trying a few simple techniques might improve your happiness.

New information for parents on myocarditis and COVID-19 vaccines

Published July 1, 2021
Reports of young people developing myocarditis and pericarditis after getting one of the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 have made some parents reluctant to get their children vaccinated. It’s understandable to worry about such a side effect, but before choosing not to vaccinate, it’s important to look at the whole picture.

Returning to restaurants — and to healthy eating

Published June 30, 2021
Many of us miss dining out. Now that restaurants are offering indoor and outdoor dining again, it’s tempting to cut loose and order restaurant meals without thinking about nutrition. But if you’re trying to stick to a healthy diet, try these tips when you’re out in a restaurant.

Making visits to the dentist easier for people with autism spectrum disorder

Published June 29, 2021

Proper dental care is essential for all children, including learning how to brush and going for regular dental visits. But for children with autism spectrum disorder, the sensory aspects of a dental office may be uncomfortable, difficult, or overwhelming. But there are things parents can do to make these visits easier.

Smoking more than doubles heart risk among African Americans

Published June 28, 2021
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but there is less data available that explores the specific risks African Americans face. A long-running study in Mississippi is doing just that, and found that smoking more than doubles the risk of heart disease among African Americans.

How can you manage anxiety during pregnancy?

Published June 25, 2021

During pregnancy it’s completely normal to experience a certain amount of anxiety about the baby, giving birth, and becoming a new parent. But for some women this worry takes over their thoughts and becomes debilitating. There are treatments available that may or may not involve medication, depending on the individual situation.

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