Harvard Health Blog

Join the discussion with experts from Harvard Health Publications and others like you on a variety of health topics, medical news and views.

New imaging technique may help some men avoid prostate biopsy

Charlie Schmidt
Charlie Schmidt, Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Disease

In a British study, a specialized type of MRI test did significantly better at identifying high-grade prostate tumors than a transrectal ultrasound biopsy. It’s hoped that one day this test might help men avoid prostate biopsies and their potential complications.

The underappreciated health benefits of being a weekend warrior

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

While it’s been believed that intense exercise only on weekends is not an advisable or effective fitness routine, a new study suggests that, if done safely and for enough time to meet the recommended guidelines, weekend-only exercise can be beneficial.

Charles Darwin, Chagas’ disease, and the killer kissing bugs of California

John Ross, MD, FIDSA
John Ross, MD, FIDSA, Contributing Editor

An insect known as the kissing bug has the ability to pass along Chagas’ disease to unsuspecting people. While it affects more people in Latin America than in this country, this parasitic disease can still be a problem in the southwestern United States. Most cases of Chagas’ disease pass without much incidence, but it can cause lasting problems. The rates of Chagas’ disease could go up with climate change, and more research is definitely needed. Charles Darwin may be one of the first “researchers” on the subject, but he’s not to be the last.

2017 update to the immunization schedule for kids

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

The CDC and the AAP update their vaccine recommendations every year, and here are the latest changes. These updates show just how important it is to stay on top of research and help increase the effectiveness of each vaccine. The schedule for routine immunizations and catching up kids who get behind can be found on the CDC and AAP websites if you’d like more information.

Snored to death: The symptoms and dangers of untreated sleep apnea

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

It’s important to get adequate sleep, but getting good quality sleep is just as important. Snoring can detract from a good night’s sleep whether you’re the snorer or the bed partner. Even more important, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Untreated, sleep apnea increases our risk for serious health conditions including stroke and heart attack.

The fix for dry eyes

Heidi Godman
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

As we age our eyes become susceptible to dryness due to decreased tear production or slowing glands. Other conditions can contribute to dry eye syndrome as well, including looking at the screen of a computer, phone, or tablet for too long. There are a number of simple treatments that can bring relief and prevent infection and other problems.

Confessions of a breakfast skipper

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

While most of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there is debate about the importance of breakfast continues. Research findings on breakfast and weight loss are inconsistent and inconclusive. And a recent study suggests that eating breakfast may not matter as much as has been previously believed, and skipping breakfast is fine for some people. But we probably haven’t heard the final word on this topic.

Postpartum depression: The worst kept secret

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Postpartum depression carries an unfortunate stigma, as symptoms of depression affect nearly 20% of new mothers. Early detection is key to ensure the best health for not just women, but for their new infants and family members as well. Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options that can support new mothers during a time that can be both joyous and challenging.

The 4 symptoms that mean your child must stay home from school or daycare

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Children get sick, and when it happens parents have to decide whether or not to keep their kid home from school or daycare. Certain symptoms are signs that a child should definitely stay home. If you’re really not sure, your doctor can help guide your decision. To help your child recover, and prevent spreading illness to others, better safe than sorry.

Not just for women: Kegel exercises good for men too

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Kegel exercises have long been considered “for women only,” but older men may be wise to reconsider this point of view. These simple and subtle pelvic floor exercises can can be performed while lying down, sitting, or standing and are known to help with some common unpleasantries that can come with age.