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.

Got pain? Get better sleep

Stuart Quan, MD

Contributing Editor

Research has illuminated the intersection between poor sleep and pain, showing that the perception of pain increases after inadequate or poor-quality sleep. This has implications for anyone experiencing pain, and it is also relevant to combatting the opioid crisis.

What’s in your supplements?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Millions of Americans take some kind of supplement, but because supplements are not regulated like prescription drugs are, taking one is not always safe. Researchers have found many instances of hidden ingredients and inaccurate quantities listed on the label.

A positive mindset can help your heart

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Maintaining a positive outlook on life can help protect people from heart disease. Scientists believe that by doing this, such people avoid the damage to the cardiovascular system brought about by stress.

Parents don’t always realize that their teen is suicidal

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The life of a teenager can be filled with drama, real or imagined. But while parents may think their teen overreacts too much, parents themselves might under-react to indications that a teen could be contemplating suicide.

Planet-friendly, plant-based home cooking

The nutrition building blocks of plant-based meals are vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. These are easy to cook and relatively inexpensive, and people who prepare more meals at home tend to have better health profiles.

Integrative approaches to reduce IBS symptoms

Some people with irritable bowel syndrome get relief from medications, but for others they are not a viable or effective option. But there are nondrug treatment options that reduce symptoms for many, including stress reduction techniques, special diets, and certain supplements.

Tackling parent-teacher conferences: The early years

Steve Calechman

Contributor

Getting ready for a parent-teacher conference? Keep in mind time constraints and prepare by thinking about the questions you most want answered.

Managing pain after surgery

Even with all the attention given to the opioid epidemic, it may still be a surprise to some people that prescription pain medication is not always necessary after a surgical procedure. Talking with your doctor about post-surgical pain management will help you understand what to expect.

In defense of French fries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers found that frequent consumers of French fries don’t live as long as those who eat them less often, but as is often the case, the conclusion only tells part of the story. Are French fries really a “death food”? Not necessarily, and probably not.

4 things everyone needs to know about measles

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The number of measles cases in the US in 2018 more than tripled over those in 2017, and early numbers for this year suggest a continued surge. It’s important for everyone, but especially parents, to know about the virus, its potential complications, and the facts about the vaccine.