Archive for June, 2020

How to help your young child cope with the pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It’s easy to think that the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed life much for younger children, but it has, and they certainly notice their parents’ or caregivers’ behavior. There are no easy solutions, but there are definitely things parents can do to help their children understand what’s happening, and cope.

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

An analysis of multiple studies looking at the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive health –– abilities like thinking, memory, and attention –– found that older people who lower high blood pressure are slightly less likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia.

Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit

The brain’s neuroplasticity — its ability to adapt and change — makes it possible for us to learn new skills and solve complex problems, but it also makes some people more vulnerable to the consequences of substance use disorders. This same ability also makes it possible for a person to make cognitive modifications in order to change an addictive behavior.

How risky is a hug right now?

Steve Calechman

Contributor

Even as we are moving toward re-establishing some normal activities, and as much as we might want to, it still feels risky to hug another person. Is there a way to do this safely? Is it worth the risk?

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body generates an immune response against itself. Some people with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, develop an autoimmune lung disease. Marked by lung inflammation and possible scarring, it’s easier to treat if detected early.

Daily decisions about risk: What to do when there’s no right answer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

With COVID-19 cases still rising in many places, all of us must make daily decisions involving personal risk. But often, there’s no single right answer that applies to everyone. Here’s how to make sensible decisions around many different activities.

4 parenting tips to break the negativity loop

Children and teens may get stuck in a cycle of focusing on negative emotions or aspects of daily events. Try these four tips to help break the negativity loop.

Probiotics — even inactive ones — may relieve IBS symptoms

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may take probiotics to try to restore the balance of bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract. A recent study found that an inactive form of a probiotic (which has some advantages over active versions) helped improve symptoms and quality of life in test subjects.

The plight of nursing home residents in a pandemic

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Many nursing homes have had high rates of illness and deaths from COVID-19 and efforts to keep residents safer have caused widespread isolation. As states loosen restrictions, what does the path forward look like?

Olive oil or coconut oil: Which is worthy of kitchen-staple status?

Coconut oil has been championed as having many benefits to health, but evidence to support these assertions remains sparse. However, there is far more evidence to support the benefits of olive oil, even in the context of typical American diets.