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.

LDL cholesterol: How low can you (safely) go?

Lowering LDL cholesterol has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have suggested that more aggressive goals for LDL levels in people who already have CVD can decrease risk even further.

Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Researchers examining dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women found that women who ate foods with a higher glycemic index, and foods with more added sugars, were more likely to have insomnia.

Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

Leo Kim, MD, PhD


Over seven million people have diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of vision loss in working-age adults with diabetes. It’s recommended that people with diabetes should work to keep blood pressure in the normal range and their A1c level below 7% to avoid complications such as diabetic retinopathy.

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation.

What to do when your child swears

Steve Calechman


Even young children can surprise a parent with salty language. Regardless of where they first heard it, use the occasion to help your child learn appropriate behavior in and outside the home.

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach.

Vaccines for women: Before conception, during pregnancy, and after a birth

Thinking about becoming pregnant? Already pregnant? It helps to be aware of which vaccines to consider getting, and the timing for these. Some vaccinations for women also help protect newborns.

What are ultra-processed foods and are they bad for our health?

Health advice tells us to eat less processed food, but what does that mean? Researchers compared diets with most of the calories from unprocessed foods and from ultra-processed foods, to see how the subjects were affected.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one.

What parents need to know about a vegan diet

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

If your family follows a vegan diet––or your child expresses the desire to do so on their own––it’s important for parents to be aware of the nutritional challenges of vegan eating, and how to meet them.