Archive for October, 2019

Is there really a blood test to diagnose concussion?

Eve Valera, PhD


Can a blood test tell whether or not you have a concussion? It’s not quite that simple. There is a test that indicates the presence of substances released into the blood after a brain injury, but for now it is more useful for identifying situations when a CT scan is not necessary.

If you are happy and you know it… you may live longer

Plenty of research associates optimism with a reduced risk of certain diseases and conditions. Now, a study suggests that optimistic people are also more likely to live longer.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A new treatment for knee arthritis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A TV ad for a procedure to treat arthritis of the knee claims that relief lasts for up to a year, but not much research has been done on its effectiveness. Studies are small and show little to support the claim.

Antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections are on the rise

Lisa Bebell, MD


Rising resistance to antibiotics driven by overpresciption and overuse has led to a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating urinary tract infections. If your doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic, be sure to ask if it’s necessary, and what alternatives there might be.

Too old for the pediatrician? Time to switch doctors

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Wondering how a teen or young adult can smoothly smoothly transition from seeing a pediatrician to a medical practice that treats adults? Making plans and taking these steps will help.

Should I participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program?

For people who have had a heart attack or heart surgery, or been diagnosed with angina or a specific kind of heart failure, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program has medically proven benefits to overall health and quality of life.

Gene testing to guide antidepressant treatment: Has its time arrived?

Commercial gene tests claim to offer guidance in choosing appropriate medications to treat depression. As yet, no evidence supports this claim.

Can your CPAP make you sick?

Using a CPAP machine is beneficial for people with obstructive sleep apnea, but if the machine isn’t kept clean it could lead to an illness. There are sanitizing systems available, but cleaning the parts by hand is just as effective.

10 foods that may impact your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

Researchers examining data from a national health survey and other sources found that consuming too much, or too little, of 10 foods was associated with 45% of deaths in 2012 due to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

PrEP prevents HIV — so why aren’t more people taking it?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily medication taken to prevent HIV infection. While multiple studies show PrEP is effective, relatively few of those who might benefit are taking it. Will a 10-year initiative to reduce rates of HIV and a new formulation of PrEP help?