Feet and falling

There's been a surge of research connecting falls to foot pain and perhaps also to common foot problems like bunions and clawed toes. But until recently only a handful of studies have investigated a more direct connection between foot pain and falls. The studies that have been done have focused on high-risk groups, not the general "community-dwelling" population of older people. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society identified those with foot pain and those without, and followed them for a year. By a sizable margin, the people who fell were more likely to have been bothered by foot pain than the people who didn't fall. More »

Now being served, better nutrition advice

The Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Health Publications team up to produce a more substantive alternative to the government's MyPlate dietary recommendations. In certain respects, our plate just adds some substance to the government's rather sparse version. Like the government version, it's divided into sections that are meant to suggest relative proportions of different types of food, not strict calorie counts. In other respects, the Healthy Eating Plate is supposed to correct some misconceptions about good nutrition, such as the overemphasis on dairy and a reluctance to acknowledge healthful fats, which the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the MyPlate icon perpetuate. (Locked) More »

Do antidepressants work in the damaged brain?

In contrast to the disappointing results for Alzheimer's disease, antidepressants are showing real promise as medications that might help people recover from strokes — and their positive effects may go beyond depression. Successful treatment of depression may have "downstream" benefits that go beyond mental health. Antidepressants may also positively affect areas and networks in the brain that improve other impaired functions, not just mental outlook and depression. In 2011, French investigators reported that fluoxetine and physical therapy improved people's recovery from stroke-induced paralysis and muscle weakness. And at about the same time, a team of researchers from Japan and the University of Iowa published findings that showed fluoxetine or nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor, other brands), one of the tricyclic antidepressants, helped with overall disability. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Is there a better way to treat morphea?

My wife has morphea spots on many areas of her body. We are currently treating them with Dovonex, which seems to help a little but is expensive. Do you have a better way to treat this disease? We have been told very little is known about how to treat it. (Locked) More »