Archive for February, 2020

C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat

The bacteria known as C. diff has become a leading cause of infection among hospitalized patients. The infection is more common following antibiotic therapy, and it is challenging to treat because of a high relapse rate.

Five healthy habits net more healthy years

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Following five healthy lifestyle habits has been shown to extend life expectancy. Better still, a recent study suggests the added years are more likely to be free of illness or disease.

Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder?

One approach to treating bipolar disorders is manipulation of the body’s circadian rhythms. A recent review of research found that such therapies may help, often in combination with medications and psychotherapy.

Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters

Lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event, but can they also help those with diabetes? A recent study found a positive association between healthy lifestyle choices and reduced cardiovascular risk for those with type 2 diabetes.

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation.

African American and white men who receive comparable treatments for prostate cancer have similar survival

Charlie Schmidt

Editor, Harvard Medical School Annual Report on Prostate Diseases

Last year, we reported on two studies showing that African American men respond at least as well as white men to prostate cancer treatments given in clinical trials. Nationally, African Americans with prostate cancer are more than twice as likely to die of the disease as their white counterparts, and that has fueled speculation that […]

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could an ingredient in toothpaste be harmful to your bones? Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been banned from soaps and hand sanitizers by the FDA, and researchers have found that women with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had low bone density measurements.

When is a heavy period too heavy?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Girls and their parents often wonder when bleeding with a period is too heavy. It’s normal for periods to be irregular and occasionally heavy in the first few years after menstruation starts, but some signs of heavy bleeding merit a call to your child’s doctor.

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Researchers looking for ways to help people manage pain without drugs found that the practice of mind-body therapies was associated with reduced pain intensity, and may also assist some people in reducing their use of opioid medications.

Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind

Jennifer Lin, MD


Because skin color affects the presentation of skin conditions, dermatologists must consider skin color in making diagnoses. Because of this, people of color may want to seek out a dermatologist who understands their specific needs and concerns.