Archive for 2010

Americans lag on exercise

Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Only one in six Americans meet recommended targets for physical activity. If you aren’t one of them, identifying your barriers to exercise can help.

Peter Wehrwein

Kiss-kiss CPR: The mouth-to-mouth part may not be needed

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

The advice to “keep it simple, stupid”—kiss, kiss—seems to apply to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). But with CPR, kiss-kiss means no mouth-to-mouth contact. A study published in tomorrow’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) adds to the evidence that the old way of doing CPR—alternating chest compressions with blows into the mouth—is needlessly complicated in most cases (there are exceptions, which we will get into below). Instead, this study and others (The New England […]

Are drugs lurking in your dietary supplements?

Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Another day, another safety alert from the FDA that a so-called dietary supplement or natural herbal remedy actually contains a drug. That’s the eighth such warning in the last three months (see FDA warnings). The latest one warns that products marketed as “natural testosterone boosters” or sex enhancers, including Arom-X, 4-AD, Decavol, and Reversitol, contain […]

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

1 in 10 Americans Depressed

Michael Craig Miller, M.D., Senior Editor, Mental Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publications

In time for National Depression Screening Day (October 7, 2010) and Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 3-9, 2010), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published survey data on depressed mood in the United States. The report summarizes responses to a standardized questionnaire administered in 2006 and 2008. The researchers asked 235,067 adults about […]

Peter Wehrwein

Naps for young doctors

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Doctors-in-training should be encouraged to do some on-the-job napping, according to the organization that sets the standards for residency programs around the country. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) issued new standards yesterday that came out in favor of a well-timed snooze. The guidelines, which are scheduled to go into effect next year, say this: Programs must encourage residents to use alertness […]

Peter Wehrwein

Avandia: Fishing with the wrong bait?

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

The news yesterday that FDA is putting tighter restrictions on Avandia (rosiglitazone), the diabetes drugs, was important but not surprising. In July, an advisory panel to the agency took a rather dim view of the drug.  Ten of the 32 votes were for increased warnings and tighter restrictions, and 12 were for pulling the drug off the market completely (which is what European regulators decided to […]

Strong warning on diabetes drug Avandia

Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Rosiglitazone (Avandia) should be used only by people who can’t control their diabetes other ways, the FDA said today. Across the Atlantic, the European Medicines Agency ordered rosiglitazone off the market until its maker, GlaxoSmithKline, can supply “convincing data” that there exists a group of people with diabetes for whom the blood-sugar-lowering benefit of taking rosiglitazone […]

Ann MacDonald

Synthetic biology: Really cool science not yet ready for prime time

Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

One of the joys of working at Harvard Medical School, at least for those of us who are nerds, is the chance to attend free lectures by scientists who are pushing the boundaries of how we understand the world. So while we usually cover practical health-related topics in this blog, I thought I’d take a […]

Ann MacDonald

Distinguishing depression from normal adolescent mood swings

Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

Parents often wonder how to distinguish normal teenage mood swings and rebellions from actual symptoms of depression. I asked Dr. Nadja N. Reilly, a member of the editorial board of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, for some advice on this topic. Dr. Reilly has a particular interest in finding ways to identify and prevent youth […]

Peter Wehrwein

No big whoop: Adult pertussis may not produce the whooping cough

Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Whooping cough is the nickname for pertussis, a childhood disease that is now affecting teens and adults and becoming less true to its onomatopoeic moniker. People with pertussis make a whooping sound because they run out of breath after coughing hard several times in row; the whoop is the sound of a sudden, hard inhale. You’ll find a good audio […]