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

Navigating middle school is tough: How parents can help

Middle school can be challenging for many students, with increased time demands, more homework, and social situations to navigate. What can parents do to support their kids and strengthen family bonds during this period in their lives?

Is online gambling harming you?

Online gambling is a popular and growing business, but for millions of Americans, what begins as occasional fun can lead to devastating problems. Trouble with gambling often builds gradually and severe gambling problems share risk factors with substance-related disorders.

Fall shots: Who's most vulnerable to RSV, COVID, and the flu?

Learn which vaccines can help protect you against serious illness and hospitalization from RSV, COVID, and the flu this fall.

 

Got immunity? Thank your thymus

The thymus gland is very important in the development of the immune system during fetal growth, infancy, and early childhood. As we grow into adulthood the thymus shrinks, but growing evidence suggests the gland may play a role in adult health for much longer than previously thought.

When — and how — should you be screened for colon cancer?

In the US population as a whole, deaths from colon cancer have been declining, but in people under 50 that rate has increased. Most major medical organizations recommend screening beginning at age 45 for people at average risk.

7 organs or glands you may do just fine without

Removing tonsils in childhood was once routine care for healthy children, but is no longer recommended. Why are some organs and glands — appendix, tonsils, adenoids and more — considered expendable and why do we have them if they're not needed?

What color is your tongue? What's healthy, what's not?

The tongue's appearance gives doctors an idea about certain aspects of your health, and its color is an important clue. Some changes in the tongue's color or appearance are signs of health issues and should be seen by a doctor.

Immune boosts or busts? From IV drips and detoxes to superfoods

Ads for products that promise to supercharge the body's immune system make claims that sound too good to be true. But do these products actually work? 

The new RSV shot for babies: What parents need to know

RSV is a common virus that just causes cold symptoms for most people. But for infants up to eight months, and for babies and young children with certain health problems, it can be very dangerous. A new immune-boosting shot may help.

Dealing with thick, discolored toenails

Nail fungal infections affect up to 14% of the adult population. While completely curing these infections is difficult, the right treatments can discourage the problem from spreading and make your nails look better.

Prostate cancer: A new type of radiation treatment limits risk of side effects

A new technique for prostate cancer treatment can limit side effects from radiation therapy. It relies on specialized types of medical imaging scans that allow doctors to visualize the cancer during treatment.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: Why are toilets everywhere in this drug ad?

An ad for a medication featuring a person sitting on a toilet in multiple settings is eye-catching, but as with most drug ads, it doesn't provide some important information — such as common symptoms of the condition the drug is meant to treat.

Chronic stomach pain in children: What's the most common cause?

Mind and body are tightly connected. If a child experiences stomach pain lasting two months or more, it may be functional abdominal pain caused by stress, depression, or anxiety. While common, this is challenging to diagnose and treat.

Monitoring blood pressure at home? Make sure you follow these steps

Your doctor may ask you to track your blood pressure at home to help decide if you need to start taking medication or to track your response to treatment. Here's how to get accurate readings.

Heat rash: How to spot it and what to do

Lingering heat waves have brought warnings about recognizing and preventing heat-related illnesses. Heat rash, while not dangerous itself, can signal heat exposure that may lead to more serious conditions. Here's how to avoid and treat it.

Leprosy in Florida: How worried should we be?

News coverage of a case of leprosy in central Florida may have made it seem like there is an increased threat the disease would spread. Misconceptions about this disease have persisted for a long time, but the facts are reassuring.

Validation: Defusing intense emotions

Validation is a valuable communication technique that can help people feel heard and understood. When used correctly it helps us understand  another person's feelings and establishes trust, particularly in situations with heightened emotions.

Prostate cancer: An emerging surgical alternative shows promise in older men

In some men with localized prostate cancer, focal therapy is an alternative to radical prostatectomy. This procedure removes only the cancerous part of the gland, and growing evidence shows it can be an effective strategy.

Tourette syndrome: Understanding the basics

Involuntary tics are very common, with as many as one in five children experiencing them at some point. They may be temporary or long-lasting. Tic disorders like Tourette syndrome usually are diagnosed during childhood, though sometimes this happens later.

Plyometrics: Three explosive exercises even beginners can try

Plyometric training involves short, intense bursts of activity that target fast-twitch muscle fibers in the lower body that generate power for increased speed and jumping height. Doing plyometric exercises can boost strength, power, and agility.

Think fast: How does your face protect you?

Not only is our face our calling card to the world, its features evolved to mount immune system defenses, help ward off illness, and protect us in many ways. Our eyes, nose, mouth, and facial structure itself all contribute to our continued well-being.

Denial: How it hurts, how it helps, and how to cope

Denial is a natural response at times when you're unable or unwilling to face the facts. As a defense mechanism, it can be helpful or harmful. Here's how to spot it in yourself and others, and how to move from denial toward meaningful change.

Can a multivitamin improve your memory?

Recently published research suggests that a daily multivitamin may improve memory enough such that it can function as if you were three years younger. We take a closer look at the study.

Stomachs growl, noses run, and yawning is contagious: Ever wonder why?

There are things our bodies do so often and so automatically that we barely notice them. Yawning, growling stomachs, and runny noses are good examples. Each is a universal part of our daily human experience — but did you ever wonder why?

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