Archive for 2010

Anthony Komaroff, M.D.

This week from HHP: Health apps, office noise, and hemorrhoid cream for the eyes?

Anthony Komaroff, M.D., Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

As usual, Harvard Health Publications’ writers and editors have been busy covering a range of health topics. Here is a small sampling. To read more, visit us at www.health.harvard.edu. Health apps. Smart phones like the iPhone and Android aren’t just phones. They are also pocket-sized computers capable of running sophisticated applications, or apps. Hundreds of […]

Ann MacDonald

Using the relaxation response to reduce stress

Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

The American Psychological Association has just released the results of its 2010 Stress in America survey. Among the findings: Nearly 75% of Americans who responded to an online survey said that their stress levels are so high that they feel unhealthy. To put it mildly, we are living in stressful times. The economy is still […]

Peter Wehrwein

Screening for lung cancer with CT scans

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Lung cancer is usually discovered late when it’s difficult to treat and has often spread outside the lung. A reliable screening test to find it at an earlier, more treatable stage would be a legitimate breakthrough—and could potentially save thousands of lives. About 160,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer, which is more than who die from breast, prostate, and […]

Explosion in diabetes isn’t inevitable

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

You can fight diabetes, one step at a time. An alarming new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three Americans could have diabetes by the year 2050. The number is “just” one in ten now, and its price tag of nearly $200 billion per year is already straining […]

Peter Wehrwein

Halloween candy

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Trick or treat? It’s really a rhetorical question. They just want the Halloween candy. Millions of American children will get billions of sugar- and fat-laden treats on Sunday night in a tradition that has its roots in pagan and Christian rituals. It’s fun. The kids are outside, walking. And, gosh, they’re cute in their princess and pirate costumes. But nutritionally and dentally speaking, the […]

Anthony Komaroff, M.D.

This week from HHP: The science of fright

Anthony Komaroff, M.D., Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Crisp autumn weather, flickering jack-o-lanterns, costumed children trick-or-treating—and a good fright or two—make for a great Halloween. What is it about getting scared by a haunted house, a roller coaster, or a bungee jump that some people find exhilarating and others find downright frightening? It could be how you are wired, writes Dr. Robert Shmerling […]

Ann MacDonald

Painkillers and drug addiction: An ongoing dilemma

Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

On October 16, 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren, a renowned surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, removed a tumor from a printer named Gilbert Abbott. The operation was noteworthy for one reason: Abbott did not scream out in pain, as virtually every surgical patient did in those days. The age of anesthesia was born. A Boston […]

Ann MacDonald

Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster

Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

Many diet books advise people to chew slowly so they will feel full after eating less food than if they ate quickly. As we explain in the current issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, eating slowly doesn’t always work, but when it does, the reason has as much to do with the brain as […]

Medical journals: Stop being so passive

Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Reading medical journals is the main occupational hazard I face as editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. This task is like parachuting into a desert at high noon—I drop into a barren, colorless landscape and then struggle across dry, soporific terrain. The content isn’t to blame; it is usually interesting, and is sometimes even compelling. […]

Peter Wehrwein

Stem cell progress: Turning skin cells into heart cells

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Embryonic stem cell research continues to be a political and legal hot potato that stirs up a lot of emotion and argument. In the meantime, researchers are making some remarkable progress using an alternative stem cell approach called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs (sometimes that gets  shortened to iPS). An induced pluripotent stem cell is an adult cell, often a skin cell, […]