Harvard Health Blog

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

Articles

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.

If you use cannabis, do it safely

Cannabis is legal in a growing number of states for adult recreational or medical use, or both. As access expands, here's what to know about safely purchasing and using cannabis products.

Time for a diabetes tune-up

A major theme of the 2023 American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care guide is healthy weight loss. The new guidelines also encourage collaboration on meaningful lifestyle changes that help with sleep and health metric targets.

What are the chances that prostate cancer will return after surgery?

In some men who have prostate cancer surgery the cancer never returns, while in others it does. A new type of imaging technology indicates the presence of prostate tumors, and researchers wanted to know if this could be used to predict cancer recurrence after treatment.

Winter hiking: Magical or miserable?

The instinct to stay indoors during winter can start to feel confining after a while. Going for a winter hike is a great way to get out in nature and get exercise, but it's quite different from warm-weather hiking, and requires preparation and precautions.

When therapeutic touch isn't healing

Physical touch has long been linked to the healing process of medicine, but a person's comfort level with this may depend on their feelings and life experiences. Here's why touch matters during medical visits, and how to get the care you need while having your wishes respected.

Ready to learn CPR?

When a person's heart stops beating and they go into cardiac arrest, receiving CPR can double their odds of surviving. And since the majority of cardiac arrests happen at home, knowing the basics of CPR may save the life of a loved one.

Motorcycle rallies and organ donation: A curious connection

Even though motorcycles are riskier than other modes of transportation, the number of motorcycles registered in the US has doubled in the past 20 years. A study examined whether large gatherings of bikers would lead to more fatal accidents and an increase in rates of organ donation.

 

Low-carb diet helps cut blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes

A recent study suggests that following a low-carb diet may quickly reduce A1C levels in people with prediabetes. Such a rigorous approach to eating may not be realistic, but cutting even some carbs may lead to weight loss and lower blood sugar.

Can plant-based diets lower your risk of prostate cancer?

This year, results from a review of literature on plant-based diets and prostate cancer risk concluded that apart from having advantages for cardiovascular health, quality of life, and environmental benefits, plant-based diets have the potential to improve prostate cancer outcomes.

Curbing nearsightedness in children: Can outdoor time help?

Nearsightedness is a growing problem worldwide. While genes and developmental factors play a role in whether a child becomes nearsighted, research suggests that spending time outdoors can lower a child's risk of developing this condition.

Holiday arguments brewing? Here's how to defuse them

The holidays are supposed to be filled with love, laughter, and good cheer. Unfortunately, joyous celebration often deteriorates into discord when family and friends gather during the season. But you don't have to get drawn into arguments if you plan ahead and stay alert for potential triggers.

Aspirin and bone health: Is there a connection?

Aspirin has many proven benefits and some research has linked its use to a lower risk for fractures after falls. Now, a more rigorous study finds a daily dose offers no added protection from serious falls and fractures compared with placebo.

Don't want to go to bed? Dealing with bedtime procrastination

Bedtime procrastination often interferes with getting sufficient quality sleep, which is a pillar of good health. If you are guilty of staying up too late, there are things you can do to try to change your behavior.

Does cannabis actually relieve pain — or is something else going on?

Treating pain is the most common reason offered by the millions of Americans who use products that contain cannabinoids. However, there's good evidence that a placebo provides very similar pain relief. But why?

Jump-start a healthier New Year with four holiday eating tips

The holiday season is full of parties, gatherings, food, and drink — making it an ideal time to adopt healthier eating habits. Doing so can help you manage stress and avoid overeating, and will set you up for success in the new year.

Sibling rivalry is normal — but is it helpful or harmful?

Sibling rivalry is a remarkably normal feature of family life, but too much squabbling and competition can be hurtful, and can have lasting effects on children. What can parents do to manage this when it happens in their family?

Prostate cancer: How long should hormonal therapy last?

Hormonal therapy is a cornerstone of prostate cancer treatment, but it has burdensome side effects. Doctors and patients alike are highly motivated to use this therapy only for as long as necessary. But how long is long enough? A recent study provides needed clarity.

Genes protective during the Black Death may now be increasing autoimmune disorders

Genes that helped people survive during the time of the Black Death are more likely to be found in people with autoimmune diseases alive today. Does this tell scientists anything about what surviving the COVID-19 pandemic might mean for the world's population?

Does weight loss surgery relieve pain?

Weight-loss surgery has many proven benefits. Now, data from a study of people who had bariatric surgery and were followed for several years suggests that it also improves pain and physical function.

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