Health

Misophonia: When sounds really do make you “crazy”

James Cartreine, PhD
James Cartreine, PhD, Contributing Editor

The little-studied condition misophonia causes people to experience a strong, unpleasant reaction to ordinary sounds (common trigger sounds include eating and breathing) . Research is beginning to explore what causes it, and has found a connection to a specific part of the brain. There are treatments that show promise for managing this condition.

A strengths-based approach to autism

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Because children on the autism spectrum experience the world differently, some developmental experts advocate an approach to therapy that is based in an individual child’s interests, instead of trying to force a child to conform to established learning patterns.

When a loved one is addicted to opiates

Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

Considering the death toll from opioid overdoses, responding to loved one’s opioid addiction love and empathy might be the safer and more effective method for friends and families to take. At the same time, It is essential to pay attention to the wellbeing of the family members themselves, as having a loved one with a substance use disorder can be profoundly stressful and disruptive, even traumatic.

Binge drinking continues to rise — particularly among women and seniors

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Data from several surveys indicate that the percentage of women who drink has been increasing for decades. The numerous health effects associated with alcohol consumption mean that women should be especially attentive to how much they drink.

Could you have a heart attack and not know it?

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Not everyone who has a heart attack experiences chest pain. Sometimes pain is felt elsewhere, or the person has non-pain symptoms such as dizziness or nausea, or a higher pain tolerance could mean a person is unaware that an attack is happening. Nonclassic symptoms tend to occur slightly more frequently in women and older people.

Don’t take fatigue lying down

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

Everyone gets tired now and then, but when it happens too often, it may be time to take steps to address the problem. Some health conditions can contribute to fatigue, so it’s worth checking in with your doctor. And some simple lifestyle changes can help boost your energy in less serious cases of fatigue.

Physicians and opioids: Part of the solution, but challenges ahead

James S. Gessner, MD
James S. Gessner, MD, President Massachusetts Medical Society, Guest Contributor

As doctors acknowledge the role that they have played in the current opioid crisis, they, along with hospitals, medical schools, and other members of the medical community have worked to address the issue on several fronts, including instituting prescribing guidelines and offering continuing education to prescribers.

The problem with tanning (and the myth of the base tan)

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

The earlier one starts tanning, the longer the lifetime skin damage and the higher the skin cancer risk. As the number of people with skin cancer increases, it has become especially important to convey to teenagers the message that tanning is an unhealthy choice, whether it’s outdoors or in a tanning bed.

6 ways to help keep your baby at a healthy weight

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

While chubby babies are certainly cute, parents should try to follow healthy eating and behavior habits to help their babies maintain a healthy weight throughout childhood and into adulthood. Start early to develop a healthy relationship with food and an active lifestyle.

Cracking the coconut oil craze

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

The health benefits of coconut oil remain unproven and there is no evidence that consuming it lowers the risk for heart disease. Results of studies of populations in parts of India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Polynesia who consume large amounts of coconut must be tempered with the fact that these traditional diets include more healthful fish, fruits, and vegetables than the typical American diet. That said, it’s fine to enjoy foods prepared with coconut oil provided they are occasional treats.