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.

What is palliative care, and who can benefit from it?

Palliative care improves comfort and quality of life for people with serious illness and their families, yet many people who could benefit from these services are not taking advantage of them.

HPV and cancer: The underappreciated connection

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Human papilloma virus (HPV), a common viral infection, has been linked to cancer of the genitals, anus, mouth, and throat, as well as cervical cancer. Yet a survey of US adults found that many people are not aware of this connection.

Stopping the vicious cycle of rebound headaches

Sait Ashina, MD

Contributor

People who get frequent headaches and need to take medication at least 15 days a month may be at risk for medication overuse headaches, or “rebound headaches.” Treatment depends on the medication being taken.

In defense of the salt shaker

Most people know that too much salt is bad for them and they should try to cut back, but many don’t realize it’s also possible to consume too little salt. It’s not a common problem, but it does happen and it can be harmful.

How to foster independence in children

If you’re a parent, part of your role is to prepare your children for adult life by teaching and otherwise encouraging independence. But how does one start to do this?

Bad flu season predicted — did you get your shot?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

This year’s flu season may be severe. Almost everyone should get vaccinated, but which vaccine might be best for you? And how else can you avoid the flu?

Lifestyle changes to lower heart disease risk

Unhealthy lifestyle choices may be responsible for half of all premature deaths, but choosing healthier behaviors, such as working to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and getting more exercise, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vaping: It’s hard to quit, but help is available

As companies developed e-cigarette products, little or no consideration was given to their safety, and research on how to help people who want to quit has lagged. But if you are motivated to quit vaping, there are options and you should talk to a doctor.

Plant-based diets are best… or are they?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers analyzing stroke risk found that vegetarians were slightly more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke, though less likely to have other types of heart disease compared to people who did not follow a plant-based diet.

Which is better for reading to your toddler: Print or ebooks?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

When reading to a young child, does it matter whether the book is a physical book or in some electronic form? One small study did detect a difference.