Archive for December, 2016

The 3 kinds of toys that really help your child

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

During the holiday season, advertisers push numerous toys on consumers that do not necessarily have the positive impact on a child’s life that are promised. There are other options during this holiday season, gifts as simple as blank paper for drawing, that can stimulate children both mentally and physically.

Keeping the human connection in medicine

John Sanford Limouze, MD

As the practice of medicine evolves, electronic medical records can simplify care and help make it more thorough, but the tools that help make doctors more efficient, have real consequences for how doctors interact with their patients, and one another. Doctors must work harder to maintain good communication and relationships with their patients and colleagues.

Understanding suicide in children and early adolescents may lead to more effective prevention

Ellen Braaten, Ph.D.
Ellen Braaten, Ph.D., Contributor

Though suicide in children and young adolescents is rare, it is still a far-too-frequent occurrence. It is also one that is increasing, particularly in black youth. There are differences in the characteristics and circumstances of children and adolescents who commit suicide. A better understanding of these could lead to more effective prevention programs.

Cervical cancer screening update: Not your mother’s Pap smear

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Recent research supports the theory the human papilloma virus (HPV) plays a critical role in the development of abnormal cervical cells and cervical cancers. Based on this knowledge, experts believe that many women are being over-screened and treated for abnormal cells that are unlikely to ever become cancerous. Testing for strains of HPV associated with cervical cancer, along with the Pap smear, may do a better job preventing cervical cancer than the Pap smear alone. Guidelines are evolving and that yearly Pap smear may be unnecessary for many women.

Spice up your holidays with brain-healthy seasonings

Uma Naidoo, MD
Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor

Spices and herbs have a long history as a safe component of human diets and traditional health practices. Aromatic ingredients that flavor our holiday meals also deliver antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and other bioactive compounds that benefit the brain.

The 3 biggest feeding mistakes you can make with your preschooler

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Instilling good eating habits in children is not easy, especially when they are young. It’s important for parents to set rules and limits around meals and snacks, and just as important to stick to them, which is the difficult part. It can take a many tries before a child figures out that healthy foods like kale, strawberries, or brown rice taste great.

Colon cancer screening: Is there an easier, effective way?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

The preparations necessary for a colonoscopy can be as unpleasant as the test itself, if not more so. A new test can be completed at home and requires no special prep, but the test is more likely to return a false positive, requiring further testing. In addition, some of the research supporting this test was done by the company or co-inventors, so more research is needed.

Why you should keep tabs on your drinking

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

During the holiday season it’s not difficult to overindulge and too much alcohol. There’s a well-established connection between binge drinking and atrial fibrillation or afib, an irregular heart rhythm that can increase the risk of a stroke. It’s known as holiday heart syndrome. A recent study suggests that even more moderate alcohol consumption may increase the risk.

Sinus headache or sign-us up for a migraine consultation

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

Because many of the symptoms are similar, many people who experience migraines mistakenly believe they have sinus headaches. An incorrect diagnosis can result in a person taking medications that may not help, as well as contributing to an inaccurate family history.