Harvard Health Blog

Join the discussion with experts from Harvard Health Publishing and others like you on a variety of health topics, medical news and views.

Could medications contribute to dementia?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study found that people over 65 who were taking an anticholinergic medication (drugs that block the chemical messenger acetylcholine) were more likely to eventually be diagnosed with dementia, but these results don’t show that this class of drugs definitively causes dementia.

6 reasons children need to play outside

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

From higher-level brain development to socialization, to vitamin D production and fitness, there are many reasons children need to spend time outside.

Choosing life with a VAD (ventricular assist device)

Despite the challenges of needing to use a battery-operated ventricular assist device (VAD) for heart failure, one man came to terms with his situation and found ways to adapt and enjoy his life as much as possible.

PrEP: Protection against HIV in a pill?

Meera Sunder, MBBS, MRCOG

Contributing Editor

While there is still no cure for HIV, it has become much more treatable, and now PrEP offers a way to help prevent it. PrEP involves a medication that combines two antiretroviral drugs that, if taken daily, can prevent HIV infection.

The psychology of Internet rage

Why do so many people express themselves online in ways they would seemingly be unlikely to in a face-to-face setting? The explanation for Internet rage involves anonymity, knowledge of subject matter and personal identification with it, and perception of content versus what it is actually saying.

Fermented foods for better gut health

Naturally fermented foods have been getting the attention of health experts lately because they may help strengthen your gut biome—the bacteria and microorganisms in your digestive tract. These foods contain beneficial probiotics, live cultures found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and some pickles.

4 things to know about ticks and Lyme

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It’s smart to be concerned about Lyme disease, but awareness of symptoms and taking some simple precautions when you or your family members spend time outdoors can help you avoid being bitten by ticks.

Knuckle cracking: Annoying and harmful, or just annoying?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some people do it regularly, while others can’t stand the idea or sound of it, but either way, there is no evidence that knuckle cracking is harmful to your joints, or increases your chances of arthritis.

The bacterial horror of hot-air hand dryers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Researchers testing the dispersal of bacteria in public restrooms found that the hand dryers were picking up bacterial deposits, likely from aerosolized microbes caused by the flushing of uncovered toilets.

Memories: Learning, remembering, (not) forgetting

Who we are and how we define our lives is built on the accumulation of personal experiences. As we age, these memories start to fade. People with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are especially vulnerable.