Food for thought

The pillars of the Mediterranean diet—lean protein (especially fish), leafy green vegetables, whole grains and legumes, nuts, antioxidant-rich fruit, monounsaturated oils such as olive oil, and moderate alcohol consumption. This nutritional lineup has long been heralded as the gold standard for heart-healthy eating. Evidence is mounting that it's good for your brain as well. (Locked) More »

Does colonoscopy save lives?

The wisdom of colonoscopy screening seems obvious. The test enables a physician to examine the lining of the entire colon and to remove small, potentially precancerous growths called polyps during the exam. As a result, it has the potential not only to detect colon cancer early, but also to prevent new cases by removing polyps. It is generally assumed that colonoscopy saves lives because the procedure is good at detecting early disease. A report from the National Polyp Study in the Feb. 23, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine supports this assumption.  (Locked) More »

Blue light has a dark side

Light at night is bad for your health, and exposure to blue light emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs may be especially so. At night, light throws the body's biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown. More »

Changes to the statin label: What they really mean

The FDA has made changes to the safety label for statins in hopes of reducing the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. When the changes were announced in February 2012, it reignited a smoldering debate about the benefits and risks of statins. If you want our bottom line, here it is: the vast majority of people taking statins should continue to take them, but some additional attention to blood sugar levels is warranted. And, as with any medication, if you're taking a statin and experience side effects, you shouldn't hesitate to contact your doctor. (Locked) More »

More show, less tell

  Dr. Angelo Volandes, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, is producing videos to educate patients and help them make informed medical decisions.   (Locked) More »

Raising your conscientiousness

  Of the five main personality types—agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness—conscientiousness is the one that correlates most consistently with good health. Conscientious people are less likely than others to engage in harmful behaviors and more likely to adhere to healthful ones. In addition, conscientiousness may shape career choices, friendship, the stability of marriage, and many other aspects of life that affect health and, ultimately, longevity.   (Locked) More »