Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson was the Executive Editor of the Harvard Women's Health Watch from June 2012 to August 2014. Prior to that, she has worked as a writer and editor for several leading consumer health publications, including WebMD, A.D.A.M. (MedlinePlus), BabyCenter, Momentum magazine, and Lupus Now magazine. She also served as executive editor for Focus on Healthy Aging, a publication of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Stephanie has written and edited more than two dozen books, including Understanding Obesity: The Genetics of Obesity and Scientific American Critical Perspectives on Pollution. She is a graduate of Boston University, with a degree in Mass Communications and English. Before embarking on her medical writing career, she was a writer/producer for The Travel Channel and Weather.com.


Posts by Stephanie Watson

Thigh fractures linked to osteoporosis drugs; long-term use questioned

Since bisphosphonates such as alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel), and zoledronic acid (Reclast) were first introduced in the mid-1990s, they’ve become a staple of osteoporosis treatment. Yet an FDA review recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine questions whether there’s any benefit to staying on these drugs long-term—especially considering their potential for side effects. A report released today in the Archives of Internal Medicine highlights one of those side effects, linking bisphosphonate use to a higher risk of unusual fractures in the femur (thighbone). If you’ve been taking bisphosphonates long-term, you may be wondering, “What now?” If you’ve been taking bisphosphonates for less than five years you probably don’t need to change what you’re doing. But if you’ve been on these drugs for more than five years, talk to your doctor about whether it’s worth continuing.

Americans are bringing down their cholesterol levels

Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with high cholesterol has been declining, from 19.1% to 14.3% of women, and 17.2% to 12.2% of men, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Where we’re falling short is in checking our cholesterol. About 70% of women and 66% of men had their cholesterol tested in the past 5 years—slightly under the 80% objective. If your numbers aren’t quite where they should be, there are a number of ways you can help bring them back into a healthy range. Many people turn to a statin or other cholesterol-lowering medication. But it makes sense to try diet and exercise first.