Archive for January, 2011

Ann MacDonald

Feeling S.A.D.? Lighten up if it’s seasonal affective disorder

This picture shows the view from my office window in Boston: dull, dreary, and depressing — at least on overcast days like today. Lack of light is one of the reasons that people feel mentally foggy. One of the bloggers I follow, Rachel Zimmerman of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, recently wrote that she’s been drinking three […]

Guest Blogger

End-of-life planning makes it easier to say goodbye

By Barbara Okun and Joseph Nowinski. Saying goodbye as the end of life approaches can be difficult, even for someone like writer Joyce Carol Oates. Her recent essay in The New Yorker about the impending death of her husband highlights the need for each of us to think about death and dying—and discuss them with loved ones—long before they become a likelihood.

Patrick J. Skerrett
Patrick J. Skerrett

Protect your heart when shoveling snow

After shoveling the heavy, 18-inch layer of snow that fell overnight on my sidewalk and driveway, my back hurt, my left shoulder ached, and I was tired. Was my body warning me I was having a heart attack, or were these just the aftermath of a morning spent toiling with a shovel? Now that I’m […]

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

The Tucson shooting and mental illness

When reports arrived that accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner had opened fire in Tucson, Arizona on January 7, journalistic first responders linked the incident to the fierceness of political rhetoric in the United States. Upon reflection, some of the discussion has turned to questions about mental illness, guns, and violence. And plenty of reflection is […]

Patrick J. Skerrett

“Just in case” heart tests can do more harm than good

Here’s an important equation that all of us—doctors included—should know about health care, but don’t: More ≠ Better “More does not equal Better” applies to diagnostic procedures, screening tests meant to identify problems before they appear, medications, dietary supplements, and just about every aspect of medicine. That scenario is spelled out in alarming detail in […]

Ann MacDonald

Good investigative reporting may finally debunk the myth that vaccines cause autism

For years now, both individual researchers and respected scientific organizations such as the Institute of Medicine have tried to refute a persistent myth — that childhood vaccines cause autism. The myth began after a small study published in 1998 in the Lancet by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues at Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine […]

Julie Silver, M.D.

Our newest book: Saying Goodbye

I’m excited to introduce one of Harvard Health Publications’ newest books, Saying Goodbye: How Families Can Find Renewal Through Loss. The book, by psychologists Barbara Okun and Joseph Nowinski, explores the concept of “new grief” — the way that people now grieve when medical science prolongs lives for weeks, months, or even years. A recent […]