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.

Heart failure and salt: The great debate

While doctors typically recommend restricting sodium for heart failure patients, a recent review of studies found limited and inconclusive evidence that a low-salt diet makes a difference. But good judgment tells us that avoiding excess salt is good advice for everyone, not just those with heart failure.

Seasons of grief

Bill Williams

Guest Contributor

The loss of a family member to death related to a substance use disorder inevitably continues to affect the survivors, altering their relationships with each other and causing celebratory days or events to become new reminders of what has been lost.

The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you?

Lauren Elson, MD


What do the new government guidelines for exercise and physical activity mean for you? It depends on your age and ability, but overall, move more, sit less.

Intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury: An “invisible” public health epidemic

Eve Valera, PhD


While post-concussive symptoms are common in women who have experienced intimate partner violence, many women hide their symptoms and little research has been done, meaning the long-term health risks of millions of women are unknown.

Smell disorders: When your sense of smell goes astray

A person’s sense of smell can be affected by numerous causes and to varying degrees, and loss can be complete or partial. Whether or not treatment is successful depends on its cause and severity, and improvement can take a year or more.

Holiday toys for kids: “Back to basics” is best

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As you are shopping for the children on your gift list this year, it may be tempting to choose the latest shiny gadget, but consider choosing toys for them that encourage learning and development, creativity, imagination, language skills, and physical activity.

Calm for the holidays

Francesca Coltrera

Senior Content Writer, Harvard Health Publishing

If the frenzied holiday season is stressing you out, try these tips to ease stress and boost calm. Even if you’re pressed for time, you’ll feel better.

Gut feelings: How food affects your mood

Uma Naidoo, MD


Besides causing inflammation and disease, more heavily processed foods can contribute to depression and anxiety through the connection between the gut and the brain. A healthier diet that favors whole foods over processed foods may offer protection against depression.

Creating recovery-friendly workplaces

Nearly three-quarters of employers say they have been affected by prescription drug misuse among their employees, resulting in lost productivity. Ideas like bringing treatment, counseling, and peer support groups to worksites can help employees feel more valued and invested in their own recovery efforts.

Coping with infertility during the holidays: Darkness and light

Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW

Guest Contributor

Coping with infertility during the holidays can be hard. Here are some ideas that may help ease the emotional challenges of the season.