Archive for July, 2017

Most cases of pink eye (conjunctivitis) don’t require antibiotics

Mallika Marshall, MD

Contributing Editor

While bacterial conjunctivitis responds to antibiotic treatment, many people with the more common viral type are prescribed antibiotics unnecessarily, which contributes to increased resistance to these medications.

This is your brain on alcohol

Beverly Merz

Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Moderate drinking may have negative long-term effects on the brain’s health, but as yet the research is inconclusive, and must be weighed alongside the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption benefits the heart. If you’re a moderate or light drinker trying to decide whether to cut back for health reasons, you probably want to consider a variety of factors.

How to get people to eat more vegetables: Change how you describe them

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers tested the appeal of vegetables by using different types of labels to describe them in a college cafeteria setting. They found that more evocative and colorful descriptions encouraged greater consumption than ones that highlighted the nutritional aspects.

Taming the pain of sciatica: For most people, time heals and less is more

While not as common as other types of back pain, sciatica can cause intense discomfort, but often the best course of treatment involves controlling the pain and keeping active while the condition subsides.

Think your child has a penicillin allergy? Maybe not.

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Because diagnosis of drug allergies is often done based on symptoms but without testing, many people who believe they are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillin do not in fact have the allergy.

More evidence that exercise helps keep your brain fit

A review of dozens of studies on the benefits of exercise on cognitive health concluded that, for those over 50, just about any form of activity is beneficial if performed regularly.

Stay safe in (and on) the water

Celia Smoak Spell

Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Pools, beaches, and boats are great ways to enjoy leisure time in the summer. Following some simple precautions will make your water activities safer for everyone.

Here’s something completely different for low back pain

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

With recently revised guidelines recommending that people with low back pain not take medication, it’s natural to wonder: what should I do, then? There are many options, among them heat, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Super-agers: This special group of older adults suggests you can keep your brain young and spry

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

While some people seem genetically predisposed to retain mental sharpness in old age, there are things anyone can do that can help maintain cognitive ability, or perhaps improve it.

Hepatitis C and women of childbearing age

In the past 10 years, cases of hepatitis C have doubled in women of reproductive age. While the chances of a mother passing the virus to her baby are low, it is still possible. Current guidelines recommend screening only “at risk pregnant women” for hepatitis C, but some experts have started discussing the routine screening of all pregnant women.