Brain and cognitive health

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.

Write your anxieties away

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

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

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

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.