Archive for April, 2011

Exercise and erectile dysfunction (ED)

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

Emerging scientific evidence suggests that engaging in a few hours of exercise a week — including strength training, stretching, and balance exercises — may reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Exercise and chronic prostatitis

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

Physical activity could be a valid treatment option for men with chronic prostatitis who have not found relief through medication or other measures.

Exercise and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

Researchers have found an inverse relationship between physical activity and BPH syptoms: simply put, men who are more physically active are less likely to suffer from symptoms of an enlarged prostate such as frequent urination, urgency, and a weak urinary stream.

Is fructose bad for you?


Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health

High-fructose corn syrup has been blamed for causing the paired epidemics of obesity and diabetes that have swept the U.S. and many other parts of the world. The real problem may be fructose, warned Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, in a talk at Harvard School of Public Health. Fructose, sometimes called fruit sugar, is just as abundant in refined sugar as it is in high-fructose corn syrup. When the liver metabolizes fructose, it makes triglycerides (a form of fat) and can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes. Although researchers haven’t completely connected all the dots between high intake of fructose from sugared soft drinks, juices, and sugar-sweetened foods and the onset of diseases like diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the findings so far offer another reason to limit sugary beverages and foods.

Try exercise to ease arthritis pain, stiffness

If you have arthritis, exercise can help keep your joints mobile and your muscles strong. Swimming and other water-based exercise are especially good because they’re easy on the joints. Harvard Health editor Julie Corliss discusses ways in which exercise can help you cope with—and even improve the symptoms of—arthritis.

Good planning is a recipe for home-cooking success

Kay Cahill Allison

Former Editor, Harvard Health

It’s so easy to pick up fast food or take out food that no one really needs to cook anymore. That’s great if you’re short on time, but not so great if your goal is healthy eating. The Harvard Medical School 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating offers tips for planning and preparing healthy food at home.

Belly fat is the shape of cardiovascular risk

Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

Editor, Harvard Health

Extra fat that accumulates around the abdomen goes by many names: beer belly, spare tire, love handles, apple shape, middle-age spread, and the more technical “abdominal obesity.” No matter what the name, it is the shape of risk.

How Boston Marathon runners can avoid hitting the wall

Peter Wehrwein

Contributor, Harvard Health

Perhaps up to 40% of runners in tomorrow’s Boston Marathon will end up “hitting the wall,” notes Harvard Health Letter editor Peter Wehrwein. This means that their bodies have run out of the carbohydrates needed to sustain intense physical activities like long-distance running. But one Harvard/MIT student and marathon runner has developed an online tool that allows runners to calculate just how many extra calories they should get from high-carbohydrate food or drink before a marathon to avoid hitting the wall.

Statin use is up, cholesterol levels are down: Are Americans’ hearts benefiting?

Peter Wehrwein

Contributor, Harvard Health

The latest annual snapshot of health in America, a report called Health, United States, 2010 offers hours of browsing and food for thought for anyone interested in health trends. Harvard Health Letter editor Peter Wehrwein connects the dots between use of cholesterol-lowering statins and fewer deaths from heart disease.

Procrastination

Michael Craig Miller, M.D.

Senior Editor, Mental Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publishing

One way I procrastinate is to read articles on procrastination. There is quite a good, short, helpful one in this week’s issue of Nature. The authors, who consult to academics in Adelaide, Australia, point out that motivation rarely leads to action. Paradoxically, action leads to motivation. Their concise article is “Waiting for the motivation fairy.” […]