Harvard Health Publications

This week from HHP: Health apps, office noise, and hemorrhoid cream for the eyes?

Posted By Anthony Komaroff, M.D. On November 16, 2010

As usual, Harvard Health Publications’ writers and editors have been busy covering a range of health topics. Here is a small sampling. To read more, visit us at www.health.harvard.edu.

Health apps. Smart phones like the iPhone and Android aren’t just phones. They are also pocket-sized computers capable of running sophisticated applications, or apps. Hundreds of health apps have been developed to help people eat better, exercise more, monitor blood pressure, reduce stress, and even perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In the November issue of the Harvard Health Letter, editor Peter Wehrwein takes a look at the rapidly evolving world of health apps, and points you to some top-rated ones.

We’ve got your back. Over the life span, most Americans must deal with back pain. Treating this common condition has substantially changed in the last decade or so. Exercise now plays a central role in treating—and preventing—back problems. Our newly updated Special Health Report, Low Back Pain: Healing your aching back, can help you understand your back and what can go wrong with it, learn self-care steps you can take to mend your back, know which conditions require surgery, and even choose the best mattress for your back.

Office noise. As engineers learn how to make buildings and office equipment quieter, the human voice is becoming one of the main sources of office noise, especially around cubicles. Office noise can disrupt concentration, decrease productivity, and increase stress. In the latest installment of Your Health at Work, a partnership between Harvard Health Publications and the Harvard Business Review, editor Patrick J. Skerrett takes a look at office noise and how to cope with it.

Hemorrhoid cream for puffy eyes? This is news to me. Intrepid medical detective Dr. Robert Shmerling explores whether the use of hemorrhoid cream may help reduce puffiness or bags under the eyes. Although there isn’t convincing or high-quality medical research into this “alternative” approach, it might actually work: hemorrhoid creams and ointments shrink hemorrhoids with medications that constrict blood vessels; that same action could reduce the puffiness and darkness under the eyes. For better options, read Dr. Shmerling’s latest installment of the Quirky Body on the MSN Health and Fitness Web site.

From Harvard, I wish you good health.

Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D.
Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Publications

Related Information: Low Back Pain: Healing your aching back

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