Brain and cognitive health

Could medications contribute to dementia?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study found that people over 65 who were taking an anticholinergic medication (drugs that block the chemical messenger acetylcholine) were more likely to eventually be diagnosed with dementia, but these results don’t show that this class of drugs definitively causes dementia.

Memories: Learning, remembering, (not) forgetting

Who we are and how we define our lives is built on the accumulation of personal experiences. As we age, these memories start to fade. People with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are especially vulnerable.

Do we need to take tackling out of youth football?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Ongoing research on the effects of repeated head injury on the brains of football players raises the question of whether preteen football players should be prohibited from tackling.

What kinds of exercise are good for brain health?

While the physical benefits of exercise have long been understood, exactly which exercises boost brain health is less clear, but the more diverse your exercise routine, the more likely your brain and cognitive health will benefit along with your body.

Can you rewire your brain to get out of a rut? (Yes you can…)

Srini Pillay, MD

Contributor

We’ve all had times when we feel like we are in a rut. This can happen because of the brain’s built-in tendency to follow established patterns. But now researchers have shown that it’s possible to undo established ways of thinking, opening a pathway to increased creativity.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): Hope for stubborn depression

For some people suffering from depression, medications and therapy don’t bring adequate relief. A newer treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applies powerful magnetic fields to areas of the brain known to be involved in depression. It is well-tolerated and shows promise in helping patients with hard-to-treat depression.

The crucial brain foods all children need

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Proper nutrition is crucial for mothers-to-be and their babies, as brain development depends on many nutrients and vitamins, but it’s not always easy or affordable for people to get the healthy foods they need.

Looking under the hood: How brain science informs addiction treatment

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

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

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.