Health

Behavioral weight loss programs are effective — but where to find them?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Behavioral programs (intensive diet and lifestyle change) work well for weight loss, but they are not common, and many are not covered by insurance. There are other options, such as creating your own program, joining a group, or using a smartphone app.

AFM: The scary polio-like illness

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is an illness with symptoms that are somewhat similar to polio — weakness and loss of muscle tone in the arms and legs — but with an unknown cause. AFM is more common in children and emerges suddenly, but there is no known treatment or cure.

Personal sound amplification products: For some, an affordable alternative to hearing aids

Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are devices that provide some measure of hearing assistance, less than that of a full-fledged hearing aid but at a more reasonable price, that may encourage more people to accept hearing assistance and to do so starting younger.

Medical scribes let the doctor focus on you

The use of medical scribes in doctor’s offices and other healthcare settings is growing in popularity. Using scribes is intended to shift the record-keeping responsibilities from physicians, allowing them to focus on patient care during visits.

Mindfulness apps: How well do they work?

James Cartreine, PhD

Contributing Editor

The goal of mindfulness training is to enhance well-being by increasing your awareness of the world around you through sensory immersion. People who are interested in trying mindfulness meditation may want to consider starting with a smartphone app.

No more counting sheep: Proven behaviors to help you sleep

Millions of people have trouble sleeping, or don’t get enough quality sleep. Changes to your daytime habits and pre-bedtime behavior can consistently help you get better sleep.

Coffee may help your skin stay healthy

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The cause of the skin condition rosacea is unknown, but some believe that immune system function plays a role. A new study found that women who had significant daily coffee consumption were less likely to be diagnosed with rosacea, but there is no proof that the connection is causal.

Helping a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder

If a child has obsessive-compulsive disorder, the condition affects everyone else in the family. Understanding OCD and learning helpful strategies to support the child can ease distress all around.

Where people die

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Most people would prefer not to die in a hospital if possible, though it’s not something people want to think about. While deaths of hospital patients, and those in emergency rooms, have been on the decline, end-of-life care and advance planning are still important considerations.

What parents need to know — and do — about e-cigarettes

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The rising use of e-cigarettes among adolescents is worrisome, because they still contain nicotine and because using them increases the likelihood of later tobacco use. Parents should educate themselves about these devices and the risks they pose.