Harvard Health Blog

Read posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.

Articles

Slowing down racing thoughts

Everyone has moments when their brain feels like it's gone haywire. When these racing thoughts take over the mind can't stay focused, feeding into a cycle of anxiety. But there are things you can do to break this cycle and regain control.

3 ways to create community and counter loneliness

Loneliness boosts risk for many health problems, and can even contribute to an early death. Many people find it hard to reach out to make new friends, but there are strategies that can help.

Helping children make friends: What parents can do

The COVID-19 pandemic affected children's developing social skills. Many children either didn't learn the skills they need to make friends — or those skills got rusty. Here are some ways parents can help.

Can electrical brain stimulation boost attention, memory, and more?

Therapies using an electric current for brain stimulation are not new, but marketing devices for home use is a relatively recent phenomenon. While claims include better energy, focus, mood and more, current evidence doesn't support this and the FDA hasn't cleared these devices.

Shift work can harm sleep and health: What helps?

Mounting evidence paints a worrisome picture of the potential health consequences of nontraditional shift work schedules. So how can people who are required to work during the night and sleep during the day protect their health and well-being?

Seeing a surgeon?

A pre-surgery consultation with the surgeon can feel overwhelming. Many people are anxious and have questions about what's to come. Setting the right expectations on both sides can ease anxiety and help define a successful outcome.

Energy-boosting coffee alternatives: What to know

Beverages that promise similar energy perks and health benefits as coffee and tea are growing in popularity. Often marketed as wellness drinks, how do these alternatives stack up nutritionally?

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a brain disorder caused by damage to nerves in certain parts of the brain. It typically affects people in middle age, and is characterized by marked changes in behavior or problems with language.

What happens when a drug goes viral?

After celebrities touted its weight loss benefits, high demand put the diabetes medication Ozempic in short supply. Learn more about what this means for people with diabetes.

Want to reduce your risk of dementia? Get your hearing checked today

Dementia occurs more often among older people with higher levels of hearing loss than among those with normal hearing. A new study found that wearing hearing aids reduced the risk for dementia in people who had significant hearing loss.

Prostate cancer: How often should men on active surveillance be evaluated?

Doctors used to recommend treating all men with prostate cancer; now they are likely to advise active surveillance for lower-risk cancers. But some men require closer monitoring — so how do they determine which ones?

What makes your heart skip a beat?

The human heart normally keeps a predictable pace, but occasionally you might notice a sensation that feels like your heart is racing, fluttering, or has skipped a beat. While this can be alarming, it's usually not a cause for concern.

Does inflammation contribute to infertility?

Infertility affects millions of people worldwide. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many health conditions and some research suggests it might be a contributing factor for some cases of infertility. And if true, would an anti-inflammatory diet or lifestyle boost fertility?

Does your child need to gain weight?

Weight can be a sensitive topic with children and teens, and sometimes a child needs to gain some weight. Checking with your doctor before working on adding weight and emphasizing healthy, high-calorie foods are important.

Late-stage cervical cancer on the rise: What to know

Cervical cancer is curable when caught early through routine screening, so research showing a surprising rise in advanced cancer cases in some groups is worrisome. Two Harvard experts share insights about the research and advice on how people can best protect themselves.

A mindful way to help manage type 2 diabetes?

Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep are cornerstones of self-care for people with type 2 diabetes. But can mind-body practices help people manage or even treat type 2 diabetes? An analysis of multiple studies suggests they might.

Why play? Early games build bonds and brain

More than a million nerve connections are made in the brain in the first few years of life. Babies and young children thrive with responsive caregiving, such as engaging a child in playful games that change as they grow.

Rating the drugs in drug ads

Drug ads appear everywhere in the US, but how do highly promoted new medications stack up against other available treatments? Aside from cost –– including billions spent on marketing –– there may also be health implications.

Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally

Burnout — whatever the cause — can lead to depression and anxiety, and affect your relationships and ability to function. But it's possible to replenish your energy and enjoyment of life.

Is pregnancy safe for everyone?

Simply being pregnant poses significant short-term and long-term risks to health, particularly in the US. Since the Supreme Court overturned a national constitutional right to abortion last year, choices around pregnancy have gotten even more complicated — and more dangerous for some.

New pediatric guidelines on obesity in children and teens

Rates of obesity in children have more than tripled in the past six decades, and are still climbing. With millions of children and teens at risk for the many complications of obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines for pediatricians.

Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?

Screening tests, such as Pap smears or blood pressure checks, could save your life. But the benefits of screening tests tend to decline as we age. Learn about the limits of screening.

Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health

Increasingly, floods, fires, and extreme weather stemming from climate change are contributing to large-scale health and safety issues for people everywhere. There are steps you and your family can take to help protect your health.

Do we feel pain more at night?

Chronic pain typically fluctuates during the day and some research suggests that it worsens at night, potentially interfering with sleep. If pain keeps you awake at night, trying these strategies may help you sleep better.

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