Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Harvey Simon founded the Harvard Men’s Health Watch in August 1996 and was its editor in chief until retiring in May 2012. Dr. Simon is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Health Sciences Technology Faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Simon completed his post-graduate training at the National Institutes of Health and the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he provided primary medical care to patients for more than 30 years. Dr. Simon was a founding member of the Harvard Cardiovascular Health Center. He also served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports and was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Physicians. As author of more than 100 scientific articles and medical textbook chapters, including many on diet and exercise, Dr. Simon has been an active contributor to medical research. He is also committed to medical education, and he was honored to receive the London Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard and MIT. As the author of many consumer health publications, Dr. Simon is dedicated to informing people about health and medicine. He has written scores of articles for newspapers and magazines ranging from the Boston Globe and Washington Post to Scientific American and Newsweek. He has also authored six health books, including The Harvard Medical School Guide to Men’s Health, Staying Well, Conquering Heart Disease, and The No Sweat Exercise Plan. Dr. Simon has received many national awards for his consumer health writing.

Posts by Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Biking and sex—avoid the vicious cycle

Bicycling is a terrific way to get from one place to another. It’s also an excellent form of exercise. Some men and women avoid bicycling, though, because they worry that it may damage their reproductive organs and harm their sexual function. This mainly happens to people who cycle a lot. And it isn’t inevitable. One problem is the design of many bicycle seats, which put pressure on the perineum, a region of the body that runs from the anus to the sex organs. It contains the nerves and arteries that supply the penis in men and the clitoris and labia in women. You don’t have to give up biking to preserve your sexual function. Take a few simple precautions, like picking a wider seat, and shifting your position and taking breaks during long rides. These precautions will ensure that your passion for exercise doesn’t interfere with your passion in the bedroom.

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Sleep helps learning, memory

Sleep may be time off for the body, but it’s part of a day’s work for the brain. During sleep, the brain is hard at work processing the events of the day, sorting and filing, making connections, and even solving problems. New research suggests that dreaming can improve memory, boost performance, and even improve creativity. Naps have been shown to improve recall. Napping won’t make you smart or assure success, but it can help improve your memory and solve problems. Sleeping well at night, and long enough, is associated with good health. The combination is a two-step approach that should give everyone something to sleep on.

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Electronic cigarettes: Help or hazard?

Smokers who want to quit can turn to a nicotine replacement products, prescription medications, and counseling. What about the newest stop-smoking aid, the electronic cigarette? Despite its appeal, we don’t know enough about the safety or effectiveness of electronic cigarettes to give them the green light. Preliminary studies from the FDA, New Zealand, and Greece raise some concerns about the dose of nicotine delivered and potentially harmful chemicals that might be in the vapor. Until good studies have been done on electronic cigarettes, the best way to quit involves using nicotine replacement or a medication along with some sort of counseling or support, either in person, by telephone, or even by text message.

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.