Archive for 2018

Prescription monitoring programs: Helpful or harmful?

Prescription monitoring programs are databases that keep track of prescriptions issued to individuals. While their intent is to identify drug misuse, a PMP may incorrectly flag certain people as misusing medications that they legitimately need.

Music and heart health

Almost everyone enjoys listening to music, but researchers are finding a connection between music and heart health. This isn’t limited to music therapy ans benefits may come from engaging with music in a variety of ways.

Genealogy testing: Prepare for the emotional reaction

The availability of relatively affordable personal DNA genealogy testing has led to an increase in people exploring their family histories. If you are considering this type of testing, you should spend some time preparing yourself for what you may learn, and what you may want to do with that knowledge.

Secondhand marijuana smoke and kids

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Marijuana smoking around children under 18 has increased and is likely to continue going up. As legal marijuana use becomes more common, parents need to be aware of the risks to children from secondhand marijuana smoke.

When your child ends up in the emergency room

Steve Calechman


Visiting an emergency room with a sick or injured child is a universally stressful experience. Knowing what to tell the doctor, and what questions to ask, can help you keep your head and make the situation easier to handle.

Anxiety: What it is, what to do

Francesca Coltrera

Senior Content Writer, Harvard Health Publishing

Some anxiety in your life is normal and may be beneficial, but a response to anxiety that is out of proportion to the cause or source can be an indicator of an anxiety disorder. There are a variety of treatments for anxiety, and often the most effective approach is a combination of different methods.

Fertility and diet: Is there a connection?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Research continues to explore the connection between fertility and diet. There is some evidence that what you eat can help increase your chances of getting pregnant, but right now the specific advice is simple. If you’re trying to conceive, eat a basic healthy diet, take prenatal vitamins, and talk with your doctor for preconception advice.

Obesity is complicated — and so is treating it

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Along with the growing realization that obesity is a complex disease comes greater understanding that treatments need to be highly individualized and address the physical and emotional factors that contribute to it.

Teething-pain remedy dangers

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

There are a number of remedies available to treat teething pain that contain benzocaine, but products containing this ingredient can cause a reaction in the blood that can result in less oxygen being distributed in the body, which can be dangerous for babies.

Ticked off: America’s quiet epidemic of tickborne diseases

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

The number of annual cases of Lyme disease in the United States nearly doubled from 2004 to 2016 (and those are just the reported cases), but several other serious illnesses can be spread by ticks and mosquitoes.