Archive for May, 2019

Beer before wine? Wine before beer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Ever wonder whether order matters if you switch between drinking wine and beer? Well, researchers asked this question. The answer may surprise you (or not).

Measles: The forgotten killer

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Measles has serious, even fatal complications. A worrisome multistate outbreak underscores why preventing measles is so important. Here’s how to protect yourself, your circle, and your community –– and why you should.

Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions

The drug ketamine is a promising treatment for some people with major depression. It can be given as an IV infusion or a nasal spray. Because it works quickly, it could be an important tool in helping people who are suicidal.

Public policies to stop kids from drinking sugary drinks

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Concern about the amount of sugar in kids’ diets has led the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association to encourage the consideration of steps to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks among children and teens.

Herpes infection of the cornea

Emma Davies, MD


Different forms of the herpes virus can cause infection of the cornea that can result in pain, redness, and blurred vision. If not treated, permanent vision loss may result.

What causes kidney stones (and what to do)

You’re more likely to get kidney stones, or have them recur, if you don’t drink enough fluid each day. Proper hydration, medication, and attention to diet are the most common treatments.

Treating constipation with biofeedback for the pelvic floor

Judy Nee, MD


People with constipation caused by pelvic floor dysfunction may benefit from a course of physical therapy that uses biofeedback to detect the movements of various muscles, and provides guidance on how to retrain the pelvic floor muscles.

Microbiome: The first 1,000 days

Allan Walker, MD


From the time of conception until the second year of life, appropriate bacteria colonization of the digestive tract affects long-term health and plays a role in whether a person will be healthy or will develop a chronic disease.

Young children are swallowing objects twice as often as before

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers found that the incidence of children swallowing nonfood items had increased dramatically between the mid-1990s and the mid-2010s. Practicing good safety habits and taking certain other precautions is the best way to prevent such incidents.

Big problems for big toe joints

Shoes with a tight toe box or too-high heels can contribute to big toe joint problems like bunions and osteoarthritis. Surgery may be needed, or simple steps could help ease pain and keep you moving.