Archive for December, 2020

Grandparents as scribes of the pandemic

Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW

Guest Contributor

Since children’s memories of the pandemic are likely to fade, or be forgotten entirely, grandparents have the opportunity to offer them a legacy of sorts by making the effort to record their own personal thoughts about their experiences during this time.

Why are mRNA vaccines so exciting?

Anthony Komaroff, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that could soon be available to treat COVID-19 are mRNA vaccines, which have never before been approved to treat any disease. How do these differ from other types of vaccines, and how were they developed?

Will eating more chilis help you live longer?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A new report suggests eating chili peppers regularly could lower the risk of dying of cancer or cardiovascular disease. One theory attributes such health benefits to capsaicin, an antioxidant that brings the heat. But just how strong are these findings?

Do thunderstorms worsen asthma and COPD symptoms?

Weather affects respiratory function, but many of its effects remain unclear. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims to determine whether storms led to an increase in emergency room visits related to asthma and COPD.

Stiff and achy in the mornings? How to fix that

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Often, feeling stiff and a little achy when you wake or during the day is related to periods of inactivity, perhaps while sleeping or parked in front of a computer. To counteract this, plan frequent movement breaks and try these stretches focusing on stiff or achy areas.

How to give yourself — and others — a break

Steve Calechman


Being kind to ourselves and to other people is a simple way to make life smoother, but it’s often difficult to do this consistently. The added stress of the pandemic has made navigating the stresses of life even more of a challenge, but making effort to practice self-compassion can help control anxiety.

21 spices for healthy holiday foods

The holiday season is probably the hardest time of year to resist rich, indulgent foods, but too many salty, fatty, sugary choices can harm your health. Instead, try adding natural flavor to holiday foods with herbs and spices, many of which contain substances that have a beneficial effect on health.

Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters

Gender fluidity refers to changes over time in gender identity and gender expression. For many people, gender identity and expression develop early and stay the same; for others, one or both may change. Understanding and supporting young people exploring gender is important to their emotional and physical well-being.

Aggressive hypertension treatment does not lead to dangerous drops in blood pressure

There has been concern that treating high blood pressure too aggressively could result in blood pressure dropping too much, to a level that could be dangerous. An analysis of studies found that this did not occur, and in fact intensive hypertension treatment actually reduced the risk of such a drop in blood pressure.

Treating neuropathy: Which medication is best?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Millions of people suffer from the burning, tingling, and numbness of a form of neuropathy called idiopathic sensory polyneuropathy. A recent study directly comparing four medications produced disappointing results, but is a step in the right direction.