Archive for August, 2017

Is the “full course of antibiotics” full of baloney?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Conventional medical wisdom has held that taking antibiotics for longer periods of time produces better results and lowers the risk for antibiotic resistance. But the evidence for this is slim, and researchers are now questioning this approach.

Your brain on chocolate

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

When research finds a connection between consumption of high-flavanol dark chocolate and improved brain function, it’s tempting to interpret it as permission to eat a lot of chocolate, but the truth isn’t quite so simple.

7 tips to help your child start school for the first time

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

If you have a child about to start preschool or kindergarten, there’s a lot to think about and do to get ready for the big day. Planning ahead will make the transition easier for the whole family.

Mind over matter? How fit you think you are versus actual fitness

A study of over 60,000 people who were followed for as long as two decades found that people’s perceptions about their level of activity have a more significant effect on their longevity than their actual fitness.

Ticks and the changing landscape of tick-borne illnesses

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

Ticks are being found in more places, and they are carrying newly discovered bacteria, meaning it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your family when you are outdoors.

To the point: Here’s what parents should know and do about Netflix’s To the Bone

A Netflix original movie about a young woman’s struggle with anorexia nervosa is raising questions among parents about whether the movie might glamorize the disorder, and how best to talk to children about this topic.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study of endurance athletes who took ibuprofen during marathon running raises questions about the wisdom of ibuprofen during exercise, and in addition that people with kidney disease may want to exercise caution when taking these medications.

Can we zap eye floaters away?

Floaters in the eyes are annoying but generally not harmful. An experimental treatment can remove a certain type of floater with a laser, but without further study it’s too soon to recommend it.

Strong study shows no link between vasectomy and prostate cancer

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Charles Schmidt In the 1980s, reports began to surface of a potential connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer. This worried men considering vasectomies for birth control, but it was also controversial. Some studies detected an association while others didn’t. Harvard Prostate Knowledge last covered the topic in 2015, after the largest study to that point […]

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: A mystery solved

Laura Kiesel


Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a connective tissue disorder most commonly characterized by joints that stretch too far, pain, and greater susceptibility to injury. Awareness of the condition is not high, which can make getting an accurate diagnosis difficult.