Health

How to get people to eat more vegetables: Change how you describe them

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

Researchers tested the appeal of vegetables by using different types of labels to describe them in a college cafeteria setting. They found that more evocative and colorful descriptions encouraged greater consumption than ones that highlighted the nutritional aspects.

Taming the pain of sciatica: For most people, time heals and less is more

Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH

While not as common as other types of back pain, sciatica can cause intense discomfort, but often the best course of treatment involves controlling the pain and keeping active while the condition subsides.

Think your child has a penicillin allergy? Maybe not.

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

Because diagnosis of drug allergies is often done based on symptoms but without testing, many people who believe they are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillin do not in fact have the allergy.

More evidence that exercise helps keep your brain fit

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

A review of dozens of studies on the benefits of exercise on cognitive health concluded that, for those over 50, just about any form of activity is beneficial if performed regularly.

Stay safe in (and on) the water

Celia Smoak Spell
Celia Smoak Spell, Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Pools, beaches, and boats are great ways to enjoy leisure time in the summer. Following some simple precautions will make your water activities safer for everyone.

Here’s something completely different for low back pain

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

With recently revised guidelines recommending that people with low back pain not take medication, it’s natural to wonder: what should I do, then? There are many options, among them heat, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Super-agers: This special group of older adults suggests you can keep your brain young and spry

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

While some people seem genetically predisposed to retain mental sharpness in old age, there are things anyone can do that can help maintain cognitive ability, or perhaps improve it.

Hepatitis C and women of childbearing age

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

In the past 10 years, cases of hepatitis C have doubled in women of reproductive age. While the chances of a mother passing the virus to her baby are low, it is still possible. Current guidelines recommend screening only “at risk pregnant women” for hepatitis C, but some experts have started discussing the routine screening of all pregnant women.

Working on addiction in the workplace

John F. Kelly, PhD
John F. Kelly, PhD, Contributor

Addiction among employees costs American businesses billions each year, so it’s in employers’ interest to promote a healthy, drug-free workplace and facilitate treatment for those employees who seek it.

Yes, I’ve tried that too: When well-intentioned advice hurts

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

If you know someone dealing with chronic pain it’s tempting to offer advice, but whatever the suggestion might be, that person has almost certainly tried it already. Simply taking time to listen and empathize may be more helpful.