Brain and cognitive health

Looking under the hood: How brain science informs addiction treatment

Elena H. Chartoff, PhD
Elena H. Chartoff, PhD, Contributor

Treatment of substance use disorders starts with the clinicians who see patients directly, but the ongoing search for more effective treatment options that will help the widest range of people begins with brain science.

Researchers may have discovered a cause of multiple sclerosis

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Looking for possible causes of multiple sclerosis, researchers found that people who had a concussion prior to age 20 had a greater risk of developing MS, suggesting head injuries are a risk factor.

5 things parents and teachers need to know about ADHD

Ellen Braaten, PhD
Ellen Braaten, PhD, Contributor

As many as 10% of children in the US have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, creating challenges for them as well as teachers, classmates, and family members. Understanding the condition is crucial to treating it successfully.

Write your anxieties away

Srini Pillay, MD
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor

Research into people who struggle with anxiety suggests that free-form writing specifically about their concerns may help the brain use its resources to better focus on challenging tasks.

Why you can’t get a song out of your head and what to do about it

Srini Pillay, MD
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor

The experience of having an “earworm”—a song that’s stuck in your head—is extremely common. But why do they happen? And how do you get rid of one?

Can getting quality sleep help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Sleep gives the brain the opportunity to rid itself of proteins believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and now research is showing an association between poor sleep and the accumulation of those proteins.

Yoga could complement traditional treatment for depression

Marlynn Wei, MD, JD
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, Contributing Editor

New research suggests that yoga may help with depression when used alongside traditional treatment. Evidence does not recommend any specific styles of yoga, so you can see which style fits best with you and your preferences. Yoga has also been shown to help those with mild depression, but more research is needed to be certain.

For people with MS, can exercise change the brain?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers are investigating the possibility that exercise can benefit people with multiple sclerosis. MRI tests on study participants show brain changes that suggest exercise may slow the progression of the disease.

Right brain/left brain, right?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The long-held belief that people fall into right-brain and left-brain classifications is based in behaviors or personality traits, but medical evidence does not necessarily support this concept.

Your brain on chocolate

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

When research finds a connection between consumption of high-flavanol dark chocolate and improved brain function, it’s tempting to interpret it as permission to eat a lot of chocolate, but the truth isn’t quite so simple.