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.

Want to travel back in time? Use episodic memory

When people refer to “memory,” they often mean episodic memory, a complex brain process that enables recall of details like names and route detours –– as well as long-ago moments.

Sleep driving and other unusual practices during sleep

The FDA has issued its most serious category of warning about three sleep medications due to reports of injuries related to their use. Aside from next-day drowsiness, these medications can cause sleep behaviors that may be dangerous.

How racism harms children

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement regarding the “socially transmitted disease” of racism. Its negative effects harm children in multiple areas, including education, health care, employment, and the justice system.

Your risk of dementia: Do lifestyle and genetics matter?

Clinical trials for drugs to stop or slow the progression of dementia have not been successful. A recent study attempted to determine how much influence, if any, genetic and lifestyle factors may have on the development of dementia.

Psychotherapy leads in treating post-traumatic stress disorder

Expert recommendations for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) differ. New research supports trying certain types of psychotherapy first, followed by medication if needed, or starting off with a combination of both.

Why are diabetes-related complications on the rise?

George King, MD

Contributor

From 1990 to 2010, there was a significant decrease in diabetes-related complications, but since then the trend has reversed and complications are on the rise among young adults. This may be due to the changing profile of those who develop type 2 diabetes, or may be due to other factors.

Save the trees, prevent the sneeze

If it seems like your seasonal allergies are worse than they used to be, you aren’t imagining it, and you aren’t alone. Climate change has caused a longer pollen season, and plants are producing more pollen that is more potent.

Feeling gassy — is it ever a cause for concern?

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Intestinal gas can be embarrassing, but is a normal part of digestion. Only rarely is excess gas cause for concern. Which foods you eat –– and how you digest them –– can make a difference.

Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Because measles is so highly contagious, and because there is a significant delay before symptoms manifest, a person can carry the virus and infect others without knowing it, and many adults may not have received an effective dose of the vaccine. Many outbreaks of measles could probably be prevented if more travelers received MMR vaccine prior to foreign travel.

Leg pain when you walk? Don’t ignore it

Leg pain when walking that eases with rest may be a sign of peripheral artery disease, which raises risk for other cardiovascular problems. Lifestyle changes — keep walking! — and treatment help.